Friday, December 05, 2008

UNESCO Supports Environmental Journalism in Central Asia


Journalists from across Central Asia learned the basics of covering environmental issues on the web at a workshop in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in late November.

The Digital Informational Network on Environment and Sustainable Development in Central Asia and Russia (CARNet) organized the regional training of trainers workshop, launched within the framework of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) project Training in Central Asia in Reporting Environmental News Online. Fifteen journalists from five Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan), participated to acquire the skills necessary to practice environmental journalism on the web – and spread the knowledge to more journalists in their countries.

The workshop drew widespread praise in Central Asia. The environmental ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan signed a letter supporting the goal of advancing trainers on education for sustainable development within the framework of UNESCO activities. The Interstate Commission on Sustainable Development for Central Asia (ICSD) formally backed the course as well, noting that the organization of such events will greatly enhance implementation of the Aarhus Convention, increase public awareness and improve the quality and timeliness of reporting on environmental issues.

The Chairman of the Tajik Government Committee on the Environment, Mr. Khursandkul Zikirov, voiced his support for the effort as well: “In my country, we are constantly looking for ways to improve interaction amongst journalists. For example, we organize press conferences for journalists twice a month in Tajikistan. But unfortunately the use of Internet technologies is not yet sufficiently widespread. I very much hope that with the support of UNESCO and through this initiative to improve the skills of journalists, we will address this issue and facilitate the rapid dissemination of information.”

UNESCO’s IPDC supported participants from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Trainers from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan participated with co-financing from the Regional Environment Centre for Central Asia.

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