After holding a classroom and field training in Sindh’s Thar Desert, the National Council of Environmental Journalists (NCEJ) moved towards the north and conducted a classroom session in Gilgit city of Gilgit-Baltistan region. This was the third session of NCEJ’s newly launched initiative “Reporting impacts of climate change on communities: Building network and media capacity” in collaboration with Earth Journalism Network (EJN).

The Gilgit-Baltistan region is in the north of Pakistan, an area which borders China and has most of the country’s glaciers.

Due to global warming as a result of climate change, these glaciers are melting rapidly. In recent years, glacial lake outburst flood or GLOF have become a common phenomenon. GLOF is a situation in which a glacier turns into a lake, which later bursts, thus causing flash floods in the valleys and washing away the region’s human settlements.

For the training in Gilgit, the NCEJ selected 7 members for training on climate change, its impacts on communities and issues related to glacial melt.

The NCEJ is a network of Pakistani environmental journalists, striving to train local journalists on issues related to environment and climate change.

For this purpose, the NCEJ often conducts training for its member journalists across Pakistan to raise awareness of environmental issues and climate change, and enhance coverage of such issues in mainstream media.

Under the initiative, the NCEJ has planned to expand its network by selecting 32 new members, who will add to the existing number of 10 senior journalists, bringing the total number of trained journalists to 42.

In total, the NCEJ will hold 8 training sessions: four classroom and four field training at four different locations, where communities are suffering due to climate change, across Pakistan.

These locations include Thatta in Sindh, the last district on River Indus where Indus meets the Arabian Sea and has Indus delta; Mithi in the Thar Desert of Sindh, where droughts have become common for the past few years; Gilgit, where glacial melting has become a routine; while the last session will be organised in Pakistan’s commercial hub, Karachi, where a recent heat wave had killed over 2,000 people.

For classroom and field training in Gilgit-Baltistan region, renowned environmental journalist and president NCEJ, Amar Guriro travelled from Karachi to Gilgit city. Conducting the classroom session, Amar explained the participating journalists what climate change is, and how it is affecting local communities. He also explained the reasons behind melting glaciers and its impact on local communities.

Amar said that in countries like Pakistan, crime and political stories dominated the coverage of mainstream media, and advised the young journalists on how to report and publish their work on environment and climate change.
Environmentalist and deputy director, Gilgit Environmental Protection Agency, government of Gilgit-Baltistan, Khadim Hussain, also joined the training session, and explained the general environmental issues that Gilgit-Baltistan region is facing.

He elaborated the participants on how Gilgit wis suffering with issues such as water contamination, poor sanitation, as well as why the region is on the risk of being hit by a number of disasters.
At the end of the day-long classroom training, the participants were given certificates. The newly-selected members expressed joy and happiness on becoming members of the NCEJ, and vowed to play their role for the betterment of the environment.