Bringing Local Journalists to Lima to Cover Climate Change Negotiations

December 10, 2014

Thousands of climate negotiators, activists and journalists are gathered in Lima, the capital of Peru, from December 1-12 to discuss the challenges for a new global agreement to halt global warming. The 20th UN Conference of the Parties (COP20) to the Convention on Climate Change is considered key moment to build trust and draft text on the way to Paris 2015, when the goal is to achieve a universal agreement on climate.

For the seventh year through its Climate Change Media Partnership (CCMP), Internews' Earth Journalism Network (EJN) has awarded fellowships to journalists from developing countries to attend the meeting. This year six Latin American journalists were chosen (see list below), in addition to journalist partners from China, India and Nepal. Besides access to the main conference venue, they have participated in a one-day briefing about the hot issues of the climate negotiations and in a special media clinic giving them – and dozens of other accredited journalists at the COP -- direct contact with key government negotiators.

Watch a video from COP20: Media Training Workshop: Negotiator Media Briefing

"To be in Lima is key for me, as a journalist, because this is the summit where the blocks for a future climate agreement are being built," said Katiana Murillo, from El Financiero in Costa Rica. "I believe the support for bringing reporters to cover the negotiations guarantees that the media will continue to hold governments accountable and helps society maintain pressure for an effective accord in Paris."

Murillo is particularly interested in the issue of adaptation, the measures countries take to protected themselves from the effects of climate change. This issue is one of the key topics in the negotiations on the road to Paris.

Besides holding an orientation training session for the Fellows, along with daily morning briefings, the CCMP also organized its annual Negotiators Media Clinic, in which key negotiators from leading delegations are invited to sit down together and respond to journalist questions on the record. It was a relatively rare, even unique, opportunity for the 70 or so journalists who attended the session.

The CCMP started in 2007 as a partnership between EJN, Panos and the International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED). Over the years, the program has participated in all of the climate conferences up through the Doha COP in 2012. More than 180 journalists have been fellows, most of them from emerging economies and vulnerable countries. In Lima, EJN expects to start paving the road to more training activities during 2015 and helping reporters to cover the next summit in Paris.

EJN is also gathering in Lima some of its regional leaders (see list below) from its Council of Partners, who are serving as mentors for the fellows. You can read their stories here, however several of the reporters are planning to produce TV shows or long form magazine pieces after they return home, and are only blogging during the COP.

CCMP Participants at COP 20

  • Martin De Ambrosio, Argentina – reporter for Científicos Industria Argentina at TV Pública, and freelancer for La Nacion newspaper and SciDev.Net.
  • Bernardo Esteves, Brazil – reporter for piauí, a Rio de Janeiro based long-form narrative journalism magazine.
  • Liu Hongqiao, China – freelance journalist with the Earth Journalism Network.
  • Katiana Murillo, Costa Rica – journalist working in sustainability issues for more than 20 years, contributing to El Financiero.
  • Carlos Garcia Granthon, Peru – Award-winning environmental photographer.
  • Veronica Barreto, Colombia – a journalist with Catorce6, the country’s leading environmental magazine.
  • Ramesh Bhushal is the Project Manager for the Third Pole project in Nepal, and an environment journalist based in Kathmandu.
  • Joydeep Gupta is the director of the Third Pole, run jointly by China Dialogue and Internews' Earth Journalism Network.
  • Fermin Koop is a journalist and one of the founders of Claves21, a network for professional journalists and journalism students of Argentina who are interested on environmental journalism.
  • James Fahn is the executive director of Internews' Earth Journalism Network and a lecturer at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism
  • Gustavo Faleiros is the manager of the Earth Journalism Network and the founder of InfoAmazonia
  • Carolyn Yi is the program associate for the Earth Journalism Network

See also: An article by James Fahn in the New York Times - At Climate Talks in Lima, Only the Arguing Remains the Same