Monday, July 1, 2013

Abidjan hosts IUCN, GWP-WA training for West African journalists


Participants in a group picture
About 30 selected journalists from 11 countries of the West Africa sub-region as well as Mauritania have gathered in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, to receive training on water financing and its protection in the region.

Countries participating are Ghana, Togo, The Gambia, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Mauritania.

The 5-day capacity building, which commences today, Monday, July 1, 2013, is being jointly organised by the Central and West Africa programme of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN-PACO) and the Global Water Partnership for West Africa (GWP-WA), under the theme: “Water financing and protection of the resource in West Africa”.

According to the organisers, the theme for the seventh in a series of annual workshops, is informed by the fact that there is continuous population pressure on water resources in the sub-region in spite of recent efforts to deal with the challenge, while there are still regional deficiencies in coordination, governance, legislation and financing of the water sector.

They maintain that risks related to water, such as floods, droughts, conflicts, water-borne diseases and the like are not controlled, whereas the potential of water in the West Africa region for hydropower, irrigation and ecotourism among others, is still under exploited.

“In addition, many countries in West Africa suffer from high rainfall variability and their infrastructures and management capabilities are insufficient to mitigate. This problem hampers their development and their efforts to fight against poverty,” IUCN-PACO and GWP-WA say.

The two organisations are of the view that there is the need to create a multi-stakeholder response to the financial needs of different activities in the water sector, so that water resources are used and managed in a fair and sustainable way to reduce poverty, promote socio-economic development, regional integration and environmental protection.

Acknowledging the media as a major stakeholder, IUCN-PACO and GWP-WA say it is because it has the potential of information and awareness-raising, and also the ability to educate and if necessary mobilise public opinion at local, national and international level, that a workshop is being organised for the West Africa media.

“The organisation of the present workshop aims to empower the professionals of the sector so that they can have the key knowledge to produce and broadcast articles and quality reports, capable of contributing to the necessary and desired mobilisation of the stakeholders,” a concept note prepared by the organisers said.

One of the goals of the training is to provide support for the production of quality information that will lead to greater mobilisation of stakeholders around the financial needs of different activities in the water sector.

Expected outcomes of the training include a strengthened relationship between the media, technicians and decision makers, through networking and the production of articles by the journalists attending the training for various media platforms, a brochure of press cuttings as well as a dissemination and awareness-raising magazine for the attention of actors on the theme of the workshop.

The workshop is being organised in three parts – two days of immersion in the general concerns, marked by communication and exchanges between the journalists, environmental specialists, finance and industry stakeholders; a day’s field trip with two days dedicated to writing articles and producing radio and television magazines.

A regular annual feature for the past six years , the last regional capacity building workshop for the media was held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from October 5, 2012 on the theme: “Mining and Protection of Environment and Natural Resources in West Africa.”

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