Friday, 13 November 2015

EJN’s mentoring program explores the human dimensions of climate change in Nigeria By Michael Simire

In addition to building the capacity of journalists and developing a series of environmentally-focused local content, the purpose of EJN’s mentorship program is to increase the knowledge of journalists in Nigeria on the challenges of covering climate change. This mentoring program will provide a comprehensive overview into the science behind climate change-related issues, link budding reporters to scientists and other experts in the field, and produce journalists with a long-term commitment to climate change reporting.

The journalists selected for the mentoring program are:

Innocent Onoh: A radio journalist, Onoh is the head of the Environment & Science Desk at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in Lagos.

Augustina Ogbonna-Armstrong: Ogbonna-Armstrong is a freelance multimedia journalist who focuses on environmental, sustainable development and community development reporting.

Kayode Aboyeji: A print journalist, Aboyeji is the head of the Environment Desk at the Daily Newswatch Newspaper in Lagos. He is very passionate about climate change, environmental and sustainable development reporting

After several weeks of communicating with the mentees over the Internet, I  had the first face-to-face meeting with them on June 18, 2015 in Lagos.

I introduced the goals of the project and outlined both what is expected of them and how they can benefit from participation. We discussed and agreed on other avenues of communications and outreach, including a Twitter hashtag, Facebook page and a WhatsApp discussion group.

The mentees were elated over being selected for the program. While commending EJN for backing the initiative, they expressed the desire to learn and engage with each other over the course of the 10-month project.

We discussed climate change-related story ideas and several mentees took the opportunity to pitch stories, which I evaluated and gave suggestions for coverage. At this point, all three mentees have begun to submit original reports and ten stories have been published on EnviroNews Nigeria and Teenaijanews Blpgspot, while radio reports broadcasted on Radio One Lagos and Radio Nigeria Network were uploaded to AudioBoom.

The materials produced thus far have focused on the human dimensions of climate change, telling the stories of ordinary, vulnerable people that are hugely affected by shifting weather patterns. In some cases, stories have also highlighted the adaptation strategies of these communities.

Stories like: “Ocean surge: We’ve no place to go, laments Okun-Alfa residents” and “Too much rain threatening our yield, vegetable farmers lament” (written by Kayode Aboyeji) both capture the scale and dimensions of these climate change impacts.

The mentees are also being encouraged to apply for grants and opportunities to fund further reporting on climate issues. All three applied for a Climate Change Media Partnership program to attend COP21 in Paris this year. Innocent Onoh got through to the semi-final stage.

They also applied for Oak Foundation-funded story grants on climate vulnerabilities. Two applications were submitted – an individual effort by Kayode Aboyeji and a joint entry by Innocent Onoh and Augustina Armstrong-Ogbonna. The latter application was successful and Onoh and Armstrong are embarking on a trip to several states in the northern part of the country to investigate how climate change has impacted the region, and issues related to the Green Wall Project, among others.

Onoh remarked on the program: “I never knew some things I took for granted matter a lot. This mentorship (program) is really worth it..”

Michael Simire is the editor of EnviroNews Nigeria and member of EJN Council of Partners.


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

New deadline for media accreditation for COP 21 is 9 November

To all media seeking accreditation for COP 21:
The UNFCCC secretariat has been open for media accreditation for the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris since the beginning of August and has been processing an increasing volume of applications and is nearing the 3,000 mark—which is the ceiling for media at COP 21 when taking into account other delegates and the physical, safety and security considerations of the venue.
Today we wish to announce that the deadline and cut of date for receiving applications will now be 17:00 (CET) on Monday, 9 November.  All applications submitted up to that date will be processed.
Please see: for more details on accreditation.

Vulnerable Countries Meet in Philippines ahead of Paris Climate Summit


The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) meets in Manila for a three-day global conference gathering vulnerable countries across regions ahead of the major UN Climate Change Conference at Paris (COP21), commencing on 30 November 2015.

The CVF is chaired by the Philippines and Undersecretary and Climate Change Commissioner Emmanuel de Guzman commented:

“International collaboration on climate change is largely based on considerations other than the changing climate, such as regional links, or through countries sharing similar development levels or geographical commonalities. Our forum unites developing countries from around the world because of their specific interests on climate change, now a serious global threat to us. Our nations all have the most to lose if the international community fails in this challenge. We also have the most to gain from a successful conclusion of a Paris agreement on climate change this year.”


The global Manila meeting of the Climate Vulnerable Forum is jointly hosted by the Philippine Climate Change Commission and Department of Foreign Affairs and serves to set the agenda and key messages of vulnerable countries for the UN Climate Change Conference at Paris (COP21). It also agrees the full program of activities of the CVF through to 2018, which includes cooperative action at intergovernmental level, awareness promotion and the exchange of best practices in climate change adaptation and mitigation.


As the third full global meeting of the CVF, the Manila conference will develop new contributions to shaping critical climate policy decisions, promoting the safeguard of most vulnerable groups.

The event includes presentation of the highlights of the forum to HE President Benigno S. Aquino III, and working sessions with delegates representing wide-ranging vulnerable countries involved in the CVF.

The global CVF event at Manila in November 2015 is the culmination of a series of regional consultations carried out by the CVF during 2014-15 in Africa, Asia, Latin America/Caribbean, the Middle East and the Pacific involving 50 countries. The Manila conference has been prepared through a series of activities involving negotiators and diplomatic representatives in Bonn, Geneva and New York.


The Manila activity also marks the second occasion in the history of CVF that other countries will be considered for confirmation to join the international cooperation group, potentially expanding its membership. Beyond the existing 20 member countries of the CVF, a large number of observer developing countries are taking part in the Manila meeting. International and civil society organizations and international experts are also being involved in the Manila CVF conference ahead of COP21.


In October 2015 at the UN climate talks in Bonn, the CVF, together with CARE International, launched an online campaign (#1o5C to garner support for strengthening the 2 degrees C goal to 1.5 degrees, a central priority for over 100 states and many more civil society groups. At the Lima 2015 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and IMF on 8 October, the CVF’s finance ministers formed the Vulnerable Twenty Group (V20: to accelerate progress on international, regional and domestic economic and financial responses to climate change.


SaleemulHuq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), commented:

"The momentum of this forum of the vulnerable countries reflects just how expansive the frontline of climate change has become. Almost every year there are more nations being put at high risk. By meeting together to prepare for the COP21 in Paris and the years ahead, these countries are not only sharing their experiences with each other. Surprisingly, this group of low and middle income developing countries are also at the forefront of action on climate change and I am sure their enthusiasm will continue to catch on."