GANGTOK: A two-day webinar on environment and wildlife reporting in the Indian Himalayan region including Sikkim is being conducted virtually by CMS Vatavaran, India’s premiere environment and wildlife film festival and forum on October 13 and 14.
The webinar by SECURE Himalaya project and CMS Vatavaran is part of their efforts to conserve and protect the Himalayan ecosystem. The Government of India and UNDP are implementing SECURE Himalaya project to ensure conservation of locally and globally significant biodiversity, land and forest resources in the high Himalayan ecosystem, while enhancing the lives and livelihoods of local communities.
With the aim to engage and orient media professionals on local environmental concerns and improving the quality and quantity of reportage on conservation issues in the Indian Himalayan region, the first day of the webinar focused on lectures by eminent experts covering major aspects of environment and wildlife issues in Sikkim.
“Environmental journalists are expected to inform people about the state of the environment and wildlife. By using the power of the news media, they highlight issues of conservation and environmental concerns. However, competing priorities of media and journalists today have left very little space for environmental and wildlife issues. Also, the science and complexity of current environment challenges are often quite difficult to comprehend and relate to. The Covid-19 pandemic is a classic example of a complex environmental concern that is now not just a health issue but also an economic and political concern,” said CMS director generalDr. P.N. Vasanti.
“This webinar is an effort to orient journalists and bring them closer to scientists and experts working on environmental issues, especially in the Indian Himalaya region. It will also engage media professionals on the relevant science, research and policy issues for better understanding of the fragile Himalayan eco-system, trigger interest in climate change, desertification and disasters, and other environmental problems that beset the ecologically fragile Himalayas, their impacts on sustainability, livelihood issues and adaptation stories among journalists, editors and media houses in the region and thereby increase awareness among the masses,” added Vasanti.
Focusing on local issues and concerns of Sikkim, the resource persons for the day were SECURE Himalaya Sikkim State project officer RajarshiChakraborty, Secure Himalaya Sikkim project associate Paridhi Jain, Forest Environment and Wildlife Management ministry conservator of forest Dr. D. Manjunathan and State RDDadditional secretary Sarika Pradhan.
The topic of discussion were the SECUREHimalaya project, the unique biodiversity of Sikkim and its threat, wildlife management of Sikkim and challenges and local impact of climate change on mountain ecosystem and livelihoods.
The webinar was attended by students, film enthusiasts, policy makers and journalists.
The second day will focus on a panel discussion by eminent scientists and journalists, who will cover the local issues and the role of environmental journalists.
Following the 10thCompetitive Film Festival and Forum in November 2019 in Delhi, CMS with the support of SECURE Himalaya Project of UNDP India will conduct the 9th Travelling edition in four cities in the Indian Himalayan region- Leh, Shimla, Dehradun and Gangtok.
In these identified cites, travelling festivals will be organised in the calendar year 2020. In each travelling festival, a range of programs will be organised to engage wide range of audiences, including screening of nominated and awarded CMS VATAVARAN films, film making workshops, seminars, drawing and painting competitions and biodiversity quiz, etc.
The Travelling festival in each city will be organized across two days with a range of activities and events for diverse audiences such as school and college students, film enthusiasts, policy makers, journalists and general public.