The National Council of Environmental Journalists—NCEJ conducted this field training in northern Pakistan for seven journalists of Gilgit-Baltistan region, where most of the Pakistani glaciers are located.

This was the fourth of the series of training, which NCEJ started across Pakistan under the recently launched initiative, “Reporting impacts of climate change on communities: Building Network and media capacity” in collaboration with Earth Journalism Network (EJN).

For the training, the NCEJ selected seven budding and mid-career journalists from Gilgit city.

Gilgit is in the north of Pakistan, where most of Pakistani glaciers and high peaks of the country are located. According to official data, over 5,000 glaciers and 500 lakes are located in Northern Pakistan, majority of which are found in Gilgit-Baltistan.
The NCEJ selected this region to conduct classroom and field training as climate experts have declared 52 lakes and glaciers of the region more prone to climate change. Gilgit-Baltistan is one of the regions, which are most vulnerable to negative impacts of climate change.

After classroom training, the NCEJ took its newly selected members to Bagrot valley, around 40 kilometers from Gilgit city. The valley is surrounded by Karakoram mountains with three important glaciers, i.e. Gargo, Gudomi and Hirunchi, among countless others. A 6,000 metre high mountain is also located in the valley near the Rakaposhi area.

During their visit, NCEJ members were accompanied by Syed Zahid Hussain, field manager of Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF), a joint project of the Government of Pakistan, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Adaptation Fund.

Bagrot is suffering from glacial lake outburst floods, which have become more frequent in recent years. These sudden floods, which occur because of the bursting of lakes that form due to the glacier melting, destroy human settlements, bridges, road infrastructure, as well as forests.

The NCEJ members trekked for hours to reach to the different villages, where they met villagers and conducted their interviews to understand how the dwellers were suffering from changing climate, glacial melting and floods.

During the field training, renowned environmental journalist and trainer, who is also the NCEJ president, Amar Guriro explained the participating journalists how to cover the human aspect of climate change; its impacts on local communities.

Syed Zahid Hussain of GLOF project delivered a detailed presentation explaining glacial lake outburst floods and how the communities of Bagrot valley were suffering from the frequent floods.

He also explained what the GLOF project did for the awareness of the communities, and established shelters, where communities could stay during flash floods.

During the training, the newly-inducted members produced interesting stories which were published by our media partner, The Nature News, Pakistan’s first ever newspaper covering environment, climate change and science. Most of the stories were in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, but The Nature News ensured their translation for publication in its English section.