UN awards Al Jazeera for Samoa climate change reporting

Series by correspondent Andrew Thomas on how island nations are coping with climate change acknowledged.

A series of Al Jazeera reports on climate change and its effects on island nations has won a United Nations Award, highlighting what the Doha-based channel said is its commitment to covering the environment.

Al Jazeera’s Andrew Thomas received the Prince Albert II of Monaco and UNCA Global Prize for his coverage in Samoa. He received it during the United Nations Correspondents Association Awards event in New York on Monday.

The award was for four television reports Thomas produced focusing on the small Pacific island nation of Samoa. 

In one report, Thomas covered recent events such as the 2012 cyclone and a tsunami that killed 33 people in one coastal village, and forced communities to adjust their way of living – including the resettlement of villages to a higher elevation, and the creation of barrier coastal woodlands.

In another story, he reported on the success of Samoa’s coconut oil industry and the creation of environmentally sustainable businesses on the tiny island, about 4,300km east of mainland Australia.  

Thomas worked on the stories with his cameraman, Ray Jones. 

“I’m delighted and honoured to have received such a prestigious award,” said Thomas, “It reflects Al Jazeera’s deep commitment to covering environmental issues, and its investment in stories from the most vulnerable parts of the world.”

Samoa turns to weeds to produce biogas

The series of stories ran in September 2014, as Samoa was hosting the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) conference organised by the UN. It included countries such as Mauritius, Seychelles, Barbados and Fiji. 

Thomas said that those interviewed by Al Jazeera for the various pieces “were grateful their challenges were making international news, and positive about the way their country and people were being shown.”

Small and low-lying islands have taken the lead in pressuring industrial states in supporting the recently concluded climate change deal in Paris.  

Thomas said that while the deal would make the low-lying islands “less worse”, the outlook “is still mostly depressing”.

Managing Director Giles Trendle said he was “delighted” about the award.

“At Al Jazeera English we recognise the importance and urgency of covering environmental and climate change issues, and we are thrilled that Andrew’s outstanding reports have received such recognition.”

Source : Al Jazeera


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