National media workshop on climate and cryosphere changes

Dr. Pema Gyamtso, DG, ICIMOD

Kathmandu :  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in collaboration with and Nepal Forum of Science Journalists (NFSJ) organized a national media workshop on November 30 at the ICIMOD headquarters in Khumaltar, Lalitpur.

The participants include;  journalists from across the Nepal, government officials, environment scientists and representatives of associated organizations.

Introducing the linkages between climate change, the cryosphere and local communities, Dr. Sunita Chaudhary, Ecosystem Services Specialist at ICIMOD, kicked off the event. “The cryosphere is an important component of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, and changes to it, which are a direct effect of climate change, are being witnessed at a rate that is much higher than any other climate-induced change across the world,” said Chaudhary. Likewise, Michael Croft, Country representative of UNESCO, said, “What happens in Nepal is important not just for the country but for the whole world. And, it is important to communicate to the world the practical impacts of climate change, of how people are living with the reality of climate change.”

Dr. Pema Gyamtsho, Director General of ICIMOD, said, “Climate change is here. Its impacts are not going to be faced by the public in 100 years; they are being felt now. And, the media plays a huge role in communicating these changes to the public. It serves not only as a communicator but also as a partner in furthering science and climate communication.”

Stressing the role journalism plays in reducing the gap that exists between the media and the scientific community in Nepal, Rajan Pokhrel, President of Nepal Forum of Science Journalists, said, “Climate change is a cross-cutting issue and it cannot be ignored. But, when we talk about climate change, we need to interlink it with science.”

Similarly, Dr. Pramila Devi Bajracharya, Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, said, “Any changes in the cryosphere can have disastrous effects on the settlements downstream. We all remember last year’s Melamchi flood disaster. In order to reduce the disaster impact on the Nepali public, on behalf of the ministry, I urge all parties to work on intervention measures to safeguard our future.”

The workshop included a number of presentations that explored the nexus between the cryosphere and climate change. Some of them are, Sudeep Thakuri, the dean of Mid-Western University, on ‘Cryosphere change and its diverse impacts’, and Ramesh Bhusal, senior environmental journalist and Nepal editor for Internews’ Earth Journalism Network Nepal editor, on reporting about the environment and climate change.

The final presentation was delivered by Srijana Shrestha, Under Secretary at the Ministry of Forest and Environment, who spoke about what the federal government is doing at the policy level to address climate change — from the institutional level to community level.