PACJA invests US$7,000 in Climate Change and Environment Reporting Awards 2014

Journalists across Africa have a chance to win thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes following the launch of the 2014 African Climate Change and Reporting Awards, popularly known as “ACCER Awards”.

Launching the three-month process at Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi Kenya, the Secretary General of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), Mithika Mwenda invited journalists across Africa to submit journalistic entries demonstrating how their work may have practically enhanced access to information and changed the society in a better way to respond to climate change.

“May the best journalist win the best prize,” he said amid applause from around 60 guests who witnessed the launch of the event.” He added “PACJA is proud to be a pioneer of this prestigious scheme and would like to welcome partners from all backgrounds to join us in the effort that will no doubt enable our media fraternity to contribute to the African narrative on climate change”.

Ms. Monica Morara, a representative of the UNEP regional Office for Africa, said that Communication is at the core of UNEP’s mandate, and the Agency has developed a strategic partnership with journalists, which materializes in ongoing provision of capacity building as well as information and knowledge sharing.

“We are involved in similar initiatives that place a premium on compelling stories occurring in Africa that report problems and solutions related to environmental issues,” she said, adding, “UNEP would like to reiterate its support to this landmark initiative that -we hope- will continue to gather more interests and go a long way.”

Among other guests who spoke during the event decried the loss of diversity due to global warming, warning that if not addressed, this could turn catastrophic to human-kind.

The second edition of ACCER Awards, which targets journalistic entries within the period July 1 2013 to May 15, 2014, has a broader category of prizes to be won, increasing two-fold from the 2013 scheme which had three categories.

Three journalists will take home overall prizes worth US$7,000, including US$1000 in cash as well as all-expense paid sponsorship to attend the 20th session of the UN Summit on Climate Change in December 2014, which will take place in Lima, Peru.

A Cameroonian Veteran Journalists Elias Ntungwe Ngalame scooped the 2013 Print Journalist Award, while Pius Sawa of Uganda became the winner of the Broadcast journalist category. Dianne Nininahazwe, a female radio reporter based in Burundi won the only French category and was among the journalists who were sponsored by PACJA to attend and cover the two-week Warsaw Climate Change Conference which took place in Poland last in 2013.

Twenty-one finalists will be announced at a media event in Nairobi, Kenya during the World Environment Day on 5th June 2014. All the 21 finalists will attend the Award Gala Night to be held at the eve of the inaugural UNEP Environmental Assembly, which will be held at UNEP Headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi on 23–27 June 2014.

This will be preceded by a 2-day networking and training retreat for the 21 journalists as part of PACJA and UNEP regional office for Africa’s effort to enable journalists attain the highest standards of excellence in Environmental reporting on Climate change issues in Africa.

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