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UNESCO organized first international conference on Broadcast Media and Climate Change

UNESCO, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and regional broadcasting unions, held an international conference on ‘Broadcast Media and Climate Change: A Public Service Remit’ on 4 to 5 September 2009 at its headquarters in Paris.

More than 180 national broadcasters, key international broadcasting associations and scientific organizations met to discuss the public service remit of electronic media in raising awareness on climate change. At a time when “the deathly silence around this crisis is [becoming] a major impediment for international action” (Kofi Annan), the conference seeked to increase the capacities of national broadcasters to report on climate change and foster cooperation among them.

Participants explored current coverage of climate change issues in different regions of the world and the challenges being faced by broadcasters, particularly those from the developing countries. These challenges include access to essential content and material needed to report effectively on climate change and promote mitigation strategies at local and international levels.

The event was also expected to help improve the quality of information and programmes on climate change. In this view, UNESCO had partnered with a number of organizations - including the BBC, France Télévisions, the Global Humanitarian Forum, TVE, the Algerian Ministry of the Environment, and the production companies Dansk AV Produktion and Ki-Productions - in order to provide a range of quality audiovisual material and resources rights-free to national broadcasters from developing countries.

Finally, the meeting looked at the mechanisms and frameworks necessary for a global broadcast media partnership on climate change.

Coming just three months ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Copenhagen, Denmark, the outcomes of this international conference on broadcast media and climate change  was expected to contribute to the high level discussions in December.