Climate Change MediaExpo 2012 -Kigali Rwanda A Stunning Success

Islam Mbaraka Secretary General NECJOGHA (R) shares a few moments with Patrick Luganda Chair NECJOGHA at the exhibition. Photo Hailu Wudneh

Climate Change Media Expo 2012 A Stunning Success in Kigali Rwanda
By Hailuh Wudneh in Kigali
A three day international climate media exhibition has ended at the Serena Hotel Kigali, Rwanda with a call to journalists in Africa to play the leading role of disseminating climate information early enough to enable action by decision makers to prevent disasters.

Speaking at the closing of the ‘Climate Change Media Expo 2012-Kigali,’ held at the 30th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum, Leslie Malone of the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva said that the media was an important player in taking the science to the people.

“It is very interesting to see the work NECJOGHA is doing. The role of the media in communicating technical information is extremely powerful,” said Malone

Several exhibits of newspaper reports, cartoons and photographs were displayed from the 11 countries of the Greater Horn of Africa, which include the new state of South Sudan. The exhibition organized by the Network of Climate Journalists in the Greater Horn of Africa (NECJOGHA) will be a regular feature to rotate in the Greater Horn of Africa countries in order to educate and raise public awareness on climate issues including climate change.

The NECJOGHA Secretary for Education and Outreach Judith Akolo said that exhibitions are part of the media capacity building strategy to educate the public.

“Media exhibitions have helped to give the background information on how the media was able to interpret the climate forecasts and effectively applied to the situation,” said Akolo.

Emphasizing the need for a continued leadership role in effective communication of climate information to end users Akolo said, “The exhibition has helped to show that the media is in the forefront of informing and interpreting early warning information for the public good.”

Professor Laban Ogallo, Director of IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) said that the media has been an important partner in getting the climate information out to the public particularly for planning at various levels.

“This innovation by NECJOGHA needs to be maintained to make a difference in dissemination. The media have started a good job. Let us how we can continue to do together with the scientific community,” said Ogallo.

Osman Saad, the Djibouti Chief of Meteorological Division and Permanent Representative of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on the visit to the Expo accompanied by his delegation said ‘this is a very wonderful job. You know Djibouti has had a severe drought this year. We will need more media coverage in our country and we promise to participate fully in next exhibition.”

The event was visited by about 200 hundred Scientists, media houses, national and regional organization from Africa and abroad.

The Secretary General of NECJOGHA Islam Mbaraka said that there was serious consideration in holding two exhibitions per year to coincide with the Climate Outlook Forums in the Greater Horn of Africa.

In future there are plans to extend the Climate Change Media exhibitions to the rest of Africa as the Chairman of NECJOGHA Patrick Luganda explains: “Our major objective is to show the role of the media in addressing the issue of Climate and we shall involve more players and region in Africa.”

In the coming expos Luganda added that video clips, competitions as well as plays and drama. The organization website will also be used to complement the exhibitions.