Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Could radio help mitigate climate change in the Congo Basin?

Babatope Akinwande of CIFOR in Thomson Reuters Foundation: Climate change is hitting the Congo Basin region hard and while communities there and in other parts of Africa struggle to adapt to rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns, scientists are trying to help — using radio to spread the word.

For those living in urban areas, getting information is easy. But for forest dwellers, who are the most likely to be affected, it is more difficult because they are isolated by poor road infrastructure and a lack of such basic amenities as electricity, telephones and Internet access, said Anne-Marie Tiani, a senior scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research and coordinator of the COBAM project (Climate Change and Forests in the Congo Basin: Synergies between adaptation and mitigation).

“Radio remains the most dominant, affordable and accessible mass medium in Africa,” added her colleague, Denis Sonwa, explaining why the team decided it needed to find new ways to share research findings, rather than relying on text. “We wanted as wide an audience as possible,” he said. “And in the Congo Basin region, radio is still the most effective way to reach local communities.”

The radio program builds on CIFOR’s previous research activities on livelihoods and governance. The COBAM project covers Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Congo, aiming to provide policymakers and local communities with information to help implement policies and projects for adaptation to climate change and reduction of carbon emissions in the forests.

It covers livelihood activities, local institutions and trends in forest degradation and deforestation. It also analyzes with local communities the impacts of potential REDD activities on livelihoods and associated risks, opportunities and needed institutional changes....

NASA image of the Congo Basin

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