Thursday, February 21, 2019
Free Press Unlimited and the Stanley Foundation brought regional and local journalists from ten countries together to participate in the Planetary Security Conference. In a four-day programme, the journalists engaged with policymakers and others to report on climate and security topics. They also share their own perspectives as local journalists experiencing climate impacts first-hand.

Failed harvests, large-scale floods, migration and war: climate change is linked to all of these threats. In many places, journalists encounter these themes in their work. They talk with people who live and work in rural areas that are most affected by the destabilising impacts of climate change. They also see how these impacts intersect with other regional or local tensions. This gives them a rare perspective that can help policymakers come up with possible solutions to climate and security challenges.

Exchange of perspectives

Free Press Unlimited and the Stanley Foundation have partnered to bring 15 journalists to the 2019 Planetary Security Conference in The Hague on 19 and 20 February 2019. At the conference, politicians, diplomats, researchers and environmental advocates from around the world exchanged knowledge and explored solutions to the interconnected challenges of climate change, water management and conflict.

Journalists invited are from countries including Mali, Iraq, Egypt, Nigeria, Cameroon, Pakistan, Jamaica and Haiti - where the effects of climate change are already being felt. They work for local media and cover a wide range of issues, including climate change, development, water, conflict, human rights, migration, gender and politics.

The fellows report on the conference itself. They are also a source of information and expertise on their own regions to others attending the conference. A media hub allowed for dialogue between fellows, other members of the press and conference attendees.

Reporting with impact

As part of the media fellowship, in the days before and after the conference, Free Press Unlimited and the Stanley Foundation organised a training programme for the 15 journalists. Led by seasoned journalists, Ricci Shryock and Khaled Suleiman, the fellows learned how to report with more impact on climate change and conflict in their communities.

During the conference, Free Press Unlimited and the Stanley Foundation als hosted a session on reporting climate and security. The session dealt with the role of local journalists in communicating the climate and security story: What are innovative storytelling approaches that resonate with local audiences? How can journalists link the local situation to global developments? How can they contribute to positive social change and hold power to account?

As media partners of the Planetary Security Conference, Free Press Unlimited and the Stanley Foundation want to promote better collaboration between the media, civil society and policymakers. This exchange of perspectives is a step in the direction of limiting the negative impacts of climate change and promoting peace and security.