|Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean (left), is pictured in conversation with Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Christiana Figueres, while Permanent Secretary int he MInistry, Charles Burnett, looks on. (A. Miller/BGIS)|
Members of the media are being encouraged to inform and educate the public about issues and concerns related to climate change.
This challenge was thrown out by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, during a press briefing after the opening ceremony of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Expert Meeting at Hilton Barbados yesterday.
"I challenge the media to inform and educate the public as to what is climate change, on how it impacts every citizen, whether it is at the social level or whether we are talking about economic survival. I think it is clear that the average citizen does not necessarily identify with the issue; the average citizen does not necessarily understand the issues.
"Government and its multilateral partners can do a whole range of things, but it is for the media to share the information and consider it important enough to inform the public," the Senator stated.
She further suggested that the media pay attention to educating the public about the process through which Barbados engaged discussion, as the country had a voice at the international level that involved diplomacy.
"The task really is to say to Barbadians this is important to you, this is how you can play a part, this is how the Government is engaging its neighbours in the context of CARICOM, in the context of the hemisphere; and these are the issues with which we are engaging, and these are the things that will redound to your benefit, and ultimately what must you do as an individual citizen to maintain those benefits," Ms. McClean said.
She added that her challenge to the media was to let Barbadians understand the complexity of the situation, what was achieved so far, and what opportunities were available.
The three-day expert meeting, which concludes tomorrow, is focusing on the issue of Loss and Damage Associated with the Adverse Effects of Climate Change.