PRESS RELEASE – NOT much is being reported on the silent catastrophe of 4.2 million people dying prematurely each year from ambient pollution, mostly related to the use of fossil fuels — the impact of climate change. But it is real. Then there are the impacts of severe hurricanes this year alone, from Miami and Puerto Rico to Cuba and Dominica, as well as record floods across Bangladesh, India and Nepal and severe droughts in parts of Africa.
These have all taken place mere weeks before the 23rd Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change. As such, the Saint Lucian media is being called to action at sensitizing the populace about not just the meeting but the all-important issue of climate change which directly and indirectly affects all of us.
COP 23 will be taking place in Bonn, Germany from November 6-17, 2017 and is a follow-up to the Paris Agreement aimed at mitigating carbon emissions, to which Saint Lucia is a signatory.
On Wednesday, Director of Information Services at the Government Information Service (GIS), Clement Wulf-Soulage, convened a meeting with media stakeholders to discuss ways in which the private media and the GIS could effectively highlight the event and give more prominence to issues relating to climate change and global warming.
“Climate change is an issue of absolute importance to the region. Needless to say that Saint Lucia has been spared the brunt of three disastrous hurricanes so far,” Soulage stated.
The DIS said that while the Saint Lucian contingent will be making a case for small island states at COP 23, the media should also join in the sensitization process by placing the issues on the front burner.
“We as media practitioners should also play our role especially since the media is a very important means of communicating environmental concerns to the general public,” Soulage added.
According to Soulage, the media should hold a more committal position in educating the public on ecological and environmental matters even beyond climate change.
“We should be concerned with actually the environment a lot more, more public announcements and even discussion programmes on NTN, GIS and in the private media.
Wednesday’s meeting sought to strategize ways in which the local media could report on how the island is responding to what is described as the “escalating crisis” of climate change.
During COP 23, GIS will be facilitating the dissemination of information to the wider media. Ahead of this, however, GIS will be producing a number of PSAs and short features, which the private broadcast media have all agreed to air on their various stations. A series of newspaper articles prepared by GIS will also be appearing in The VOICE newspaper.
Saint Luca’s delegation to COP 23 will be headed by Dr. Gale Rigobert, Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development.