The 2016 African Climate Change and Environmental Reporting (ACCER) Awards were feted in an Awards Ceremony held on the sidelines of the ongoing sixth conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 18th– 20th October, 2016. The Award ceremony which was graced by key representatives from UN bodies, African group of Negotiators, IUCN, Media fraternity, government and civil society saw thirteen journalists from across Africa awarded as a result of their outstanding reporting on climate change and environmental issues in Africa.
In his opening remarks James Murombedzi, Officer in Charge, African Climate Policy Centre said that “While many journalists and Editors may be interested in covering climate change issues, competition for space with other topical issues such as politics combined with unwillingness of the commercial-oriented media owners makes up a huge obstacle. Therefore,the ACCER Awards is a great initiative aimed at improving the African Narrative on Climate Change which is key in ensuring that Climate Change is given the human face with regard to vulnerabilities faced by the African people”.
Mithika Mwenda, the Secretary General of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance stressed on the PACJA’s efforts in telling the African narrative on climate change by saying that “PACJA will continue to play a catalytic role in nurturing innovative ideas necessary for the transformative society as we desire to effectively confront the main challenges of 21stcentury. These complex challenges, such as climate change, will require collaboration from various stakeholders to defeat. And that is the spirit the ACCER Awards exemplifies”.
In his Keynote address Dr. Justus Kabyemera of the African Development Bank (AfDB) made emphasis on improving journalists reporting on climate change issues and noted that, “It is important to devise strategies to bring journalists and media practitioners to the forefront, not as reporters, but as key partners and players in the ensuing engagements”. He further said that “We appreciate Pan African Climate Justice Alliance for initiating a very innovative award scheme, ACCER Awards, which will indeed improve the African Narrative on Climate Change”.
Other speakers who spoke during the Awards Ceremony include; Ms. Catherine Mungai, of the Climate Change and Food Security Program, Ms. Jennifer Mohamed – Katerere, the IUCN Africa Counsellorand Dr. EstherineLisinge –Fotabong, of the NEPAD who also stressed the need to simplify climate change information to enhance awareness among communities and help develop concrete interventions in addressing climate change in Africa.
In the Print Media English category, Andrew Mambondiyani (Zimbabwe) was announced the winner with Mugerwa (Uganda) as the first runners up and Atayi Babs Opaluwah (Nigeria).In the Print Media French category, AddehMidadji Daniel (Togo) was announced the winner and Madafime Didier Hubert (Benin) as the 1st runners up.
In the Electronic Media English, TV English category,Mercy Adundo (Kenya) was announced the winner and Aaron YanchoKaah (Cameroon) as the first runners up. In the Electronic Media, Radio English category, Diana Wanyonyi was announced the winner and Ngala Killian Chimtom (Cameroon) as the first runners up.
In the Electronic Media French, TV French, ZainaKereKere (Democratic Republic of Congo) was announced the winner. In theElectronic Media, Radio French category,SuyKahofi (Ivory Coast)was announced the winner and Fousseni SAIBOU (Togo) as the second runners up.
The Judges noted that, few entries were received in the Photojournalism and therefore stressed the need for journalists to improve their reporting in this category.NicodemusKiokoKivandi (Kenya) was announced the only winner under this category.
Andrew Mambondiyani (Zimbabwe) was celebrated as the Overall winner with a story dubbed; summer, a season of suffering in Mozambique’s Beira. As part of the award package, he wasawarded USD 1000 and will be supported to participate in the upcoming 22nd Conference of Parties of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change scheduled to take place on 7th – 18th November, 2016 in Marrakesh, Morocco.
All the winners, 1st runners up and Second Runners in the various categories up will be trained for a six months period under The ACCER Awards Finalists Academy (TAAFA) as part of the enhancing their capacity on climate change and environmental issues to facilitate their reporting.