By Lyne Oyugi

After a rigorous process of judging entries in the seventh African Climate Change and Environment Reporting Awards (ACCER) 2022, a panel of jurists has announced the finalists.

According to the ACCER Award judges, Charles Ayitey (Ghana), Calvin Rock, Cece Siago, Raquel Muigai and Agnes Oloo (Kenya), Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman (Ghana), Robinson Wanosike, Baguiri Chamsou Dine Koto, and Adjimehossou Fulbert (Benin), Temwa Mhone (Malawi), Marko Taibot (Uganda) and Michel Nkurunziza (Rwanda) were judged as having presented entries which met criteria as set by the call for entries and were within the thematic areas that the ACCER Planning Committee had set.

Prof.  Kioko Ireri, who chaired the panel, says that journalists from all corners of the continent sent their entries and the team of jurists had to diligently decide the finalists.

“It was an exercise that needed patience, back and forth engagement and making hard decisions,” Prof. Ireri said while announcing the winners in a Machakos hotel, Kenya.

According to Charles Mwangi, the Acting Executive Director of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, the intention of ACCER award is to help reshape the African narrative as espoused in Climate Change and Environment debates and also to build a new culture of and consciousness on how we utilize biological resources in our environment and reduce our carbon footprint.

He says that the decision to launch ACCER awards was informed by the realization that Civil Society Organization (CSOs) and governments were limited in raising the needed level of awareness on climate change.

Mwangi notes that the award was influenced by the 4th Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCC) which projected Africa as the region set to suffer the most by the climate change phenomenon.

He adds that ACCER is purposed at enlivening Climate Change and environment education by way of rewarding exemplary reporting on Climate Change and Environment in the continent.

According to the official, effective and sufficient reporting on Climate Change and Environment will have the overall effect of guiding the development of strategies, policies, action plans and measures on Climate Change adequately galvanizing the grassroots communities, National, Continental and International levels.

This year’s awards hold at a time when Africa is preparing to host the 27th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Sham El Sheik, Egypt later in the year.

Winners will receive their awards and prizes at an Award Gala Night before the international audience in Kigali, Rwanda in the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on June 23.

Initiated in 2013 by PACJA, ACCER Awards is to recognize African journalists who excel in environmental journalism. 

During the exercise, judges received a total of 165 entries with 83 from online, 35 from the print media, 22 from television 15 from radio and five from vernacular media categories respectively.

There were entries in French, Portuguese, English, and vernacular entries drawn from all the four corners of Africa.

It is expected that this kind of initiative will encourage constructive environmental focus in the African media, both at policy and policy implementation level and at the level of public awareness and participation in environmental protection and protection.