Oxfam in Pakistan in collaboration with Youth Parliament Pakistan organized a media dialogue to address the issue of climate change and the its effects on urban and rural populations in Pakistan. The dialogue was an opportunity to promote journalists as leaders to raise awareness around climate change, empower people and educate the public on climate change towards shaping public policy. Over 35 renowned climate journalists, editors, anchors and reporters, gathered to discuss, plan and develop a strong partnership to address the issue as Pakistan is the 7th most vulnerable country to climate change according to the Global Climate Risk Index.
In his welcome address, Oxfam in Pakistan’s Country Director, Mohammed Qazilbash said, “Climate change is already forcing millions of people from their land and homes, and putting many more at risk of displacement in the future.
Though Climate Change is a global phenomenon, we need to raise awareness at every level and media plays a significant role in its ability to decode, communicate and highlight the challenges this environmental issue. The aim of our dialogue is to work hand-in-hand with the media, the government and all stakeholders towards an inclusive, sustainable and resilient Pakistan.” He explained how Oxfam in Pakistan works with local groups, media, academia, private sector, think tanks and the government, to improve livelihoods, build resilience, provide humanitarian aid, create safer communities and promote economic and gender justice.
Senator (R) Mr. Javed Jabbar stressed the importance of all sectors of the government, civil society and NGOs working together to combat the negative impacts of climate change. He stated, “Constructive cooperation between media channels is needed. One channel should focus on pollution, while another covers deforestation, so that there is no duplication of efforts and all environmental issues are addressed. There is a direct impact of population on the environment and media should highlight this topic. If the media focuses on two areas water and waste, then the impacts of climate change will be addressed.”
The need to integrate the efforts of the government, media and civil society organizations at the district, provincial and national level was raised during the dialogue. Participants stressed the need to establish mechanisms, lifestyle changes and mindsets that guarantee that the issue of climate change is not only emphasized but mitigation measures are executed as well.
The Chairman of the Youth Parliament Rizwan Jaffar emphasized the role of youth in many events, projects & television shows on climate change. He announced the launch of the second annual Conference of Youth on Climate Change – COY2 Pakistan from 18th March to 22nd March in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Muzaffarabad and Hyderabad. Mr. Jaffar said “Over 200 youth from all over the county will join together with leading government authorities, environment experts, Oxfam and intellectuals to create awareness on Climate Change in Pakistan and work together for a better future.”
The event culminated with the formation of a media on climate change. Journalists have the unique ability to help accelerate climate action through advocacy and education, but their potential to help achieve the global climate goals remains largely untapped. A number of important organizations have recognized the need to educate and empower a broad range of journalists to be more effective at communicating about the complexities of climate science and about the societal and economic impacts of a warming climate.
Oxfam believes in the reportage of key development issues and enhancing the capacity of media to talk about these issues. Practical strategies, insightful tips and professional resource networking remained the key elements of the dialogue which included reporting, engaging in active field work, fact checking, creating human interest stories around climate change and social issues, sustaining discussions on identified challenges, and pushing for policy change and its implementation through investigative reporting for more meaningful and enduring impact.