Expert Voices: Mike Shanahan, International Institute for Environment and Development

In our continued efforts to highlight the expert voices and leading initiatives on climate change through the C40 blog, we invited Mike Shanahan to tell us about the Climate Change Media Partnership. This innovative project is building a new cadre of climate change journalists -- fostering awareness and understanding of the issues at stake through sound and locally relevant reporting.

Tens of millions of people in cities as far apart as Bogota and Beijing, Jakarta and Johannesburg, Lagos and Chicago will get a much-needed flow of information about climate change in the coming weeks thanks to an innovative project called the Climate Change Media Partnership (CCMP).

The CCMP is a joint project of Internews’ Earth Journalism Network, Panos and the International Institute for Environment and Development. Since 2007 it has provided more than 170 fellowships for journalists to report on the annual UN climate-change negotiations.

Next week, the latest group – 19 journalists from 15 countries – will gather in Durban, South Africa for the UCFCCC COP 17 climate negotiations alongside thousands of government representatives, business leaders, activists and scientists from nearly 200 countries. They will have an opportunity to meet C40 Executive Director Simon Reddy to learn about the role of large cities in providing climate solutions.

From 29 November to 9 December, Durban will host the 17th conference of parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The talks will focus on how to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases, how to ensure vulnerable countries and communities can adapt to a changing climate and how to fund all of these actions.

Without the CCMP, many countries would have zero media representation at the UN negotiations. Now, millions of people worldwide will get locally relevant media reports about what is going on at the conference, as negotiators make decisions that could affect our lives for many years.

Unlike typical media support programmes that provide training without practice, or travel funds without training, the CCMP provides journalists with two weeks of training, editorial support and special briefings as they report daily on the intergovernmental negotiations and myriad side events, including “Climate Action in Megacities” hosted by Mpho Parks Tau, Mayor of Johannesburg, in collaboration with C40 and ARUP.

As well as reporting for their home media outlets, the journalists will publish stories on the Climate Change Media Partnership website, which provides a platform for their reporting and useful resources of other journalists.

The two week programme has lasting effects. Former CCMP fellows have gone on to become leading climate change journalists in their home cities and countries and part of a growing global family that is committed to quality reporting on this issue.

The 2011 fellows and their media outlets are: Maria Gabriela Ensinck (El Cronista Comercial, Argentina); Flavia Moraes (O Eco, Brazil); Li Jing (China Daily, China); Lorenzo Morales (Semana, Colombia); Stella Paul (Planet Earth, India); Isyana Artharini (Yahoo! Indonesia, Indonesia); Carol Francis (TVJ, Jamaica); Tiwonge Ng’ona (The Guardian Newspaper, Malawi); Chrisjan Appollus (Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, Namibia); Ramesh Bhushal (The Himalayan Times, Nepal); Armsfree Ajanaku (The Guardian Newspapers Ltd, Nigeria); Faisal Raza Khan (DAWN News, Pakistan); Dave Durbach (Daily Sun, South Africa); Sean Christie (Mail and Guardian newspaper, South Africa); Fidelis Zvomuya (Agriconnect Communication Media, South Africa); Hasina Mjingo (Tanzania Standard Newspaper Limited); Deodatus Mfugale (Journalists Environmental Association of Tanzania); Heather King (Greenbiz.com, United States) and Jeff Kelly Lowenstein (Hoy, United States).

Funding for the 2011 CCMP programme comes from: The Kendeda Fund, the Smart Family Foundation, the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, Tanzania Natural Resource Forum, The Center for International Forestry Research, Hewlett Packard and – through in-kind contributions – Internews, Panos London and the International Institute for Environment and Development.