New training institute for environmental journalists from developing countries

A new international training institute for environmental journalists from developing countries is to be established in South Asia, it has been announced by the Asia Pacific Forum of Environment Journalists (APFEJ).

The new institute was announced at the Asia-Pacific Environment Journalists Media Symposium on “The Role of the Media in Achieving Sustainable Development”, in Kitakyushu City in Japan, and will come into operation from 2001. It will be open to journalists from all developing countries around the world. “We will take over one hundred journalists for training yearly,” announced Dharman Wickremaratne, AFEJ Chairman.

A declaration issued at the symposium called on governments in the Asia Pacific Region to recognise national forums of environmental journalists as partners in the sustainable development process. Environmental journalists have a “watchdog role in establishing an accountable, corruption free, transparent and good environment governance,” said the Declaration.

Governments have been urged “to make budgetary allocations to the existing media network such as Asia Pacific Forum of Environment including its national forums” and to “provide help with training facilities such as installation of information technology accessories, computers and libraries” to upgrade their professional skills and capacities to promote sustainable development.

The Institute will be established in Sri Lanka, and negotiations for funding are already taking place with a number of organisations, in particular with the UN, Wickremaratne told edie.

According to the declaration, “any development activity carried out by the governments, NGO’s, bilateral or multilateral organisations” would have no impact unless the people are aware of it”. “It is here that the media plays its important role,” states the declaration.

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