13.01.2016

Climate change journalism awards

Person photographing two children

Field trip to the south of the country which suffers from drought. Photo: Judith Wolf / GIZ

In Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, journalism prizes for climate change reporting have been awarded for the first time. The award competition was initiated in the larger context of a project supported by EUR 4.5 million in funding from the German Environment Ministry's International Climate Initiative (IKI); the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is commissioned to carry out the project. The competition was held over a period of one year together with the National Council for Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism (CNCCMDL) and the Dominican College of Journalists (CDP). The categories open for participation were print, digital media, television and radio. Each prize-winner received up to EUR 3,000 to cover the costs of participating in an international course or conference related to climate change and journalism.

The IKI project is supporting the Dominican Republic in implementing its national climate-compatible development plan (DECCC) in the waste and cement sectors. The goal is to introduce alternative sources of energy in the cement industry through co-processing. This involves utilising wastes to substitute fossil fuels in energy-intensive industrial processes. The approach reduces both greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuel imports. Moreover, the introduction of an appropriate waste management system can mitigate environmental pollution and generate new income-earning opportunities for local waste collectors. Working in close cooperation with its partners, the project is formulating nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs), carrying out pilot activities in selected fields and setting up a system for monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation actions and project outcomes (monitoring, reporting and verification, MRV).

Cooperation with the Dominican College of Journalists began in 2014 as part of the project's communication strategy. The aim was to improve reporting on climate change and on the project, which tended to be poor in quality and prone to error. Local journalists were to be motivated to work more intensively on the topic and thus to better inform the public about climate change and the project itself.

The competition was accompanied by a campaign involving, among other things, visits to the media and a press conference. Two one-day excursions gave more than 20 participating journalists insights into the impacts of climate change in their country. General initiatives for climate change mitigation and adaptation were presented, as were the project's own initiatives.

The awards went to: an in-depth report in Listín Diario, a daily newspaper, on 'Climate change impacts on agriculture'; an appeal in digital media on Noticias Entre Amigos, a news and commentary portal, on 'The Dominican Republic is in a state of ecological emergency'; and a 4-part television report broadcast by Antena Latina AN7 on 'Climate change - the main threat to our environment'. The winners received a letter of congratulation from the President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina Sánchez.