Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Unicef youth ambassador Nele Kalolo’s part of a pacific presence at COP 28 that’s getting widespread media attention around the region.
When young Samoan Nele Kalolo found out she was going to the COP 28 climate change conference in Dubai, she was over the moon.
“I think for me, I’m still processing it. I’m very much a person of like, it’s not until I’m actually there that I will be fully aware of, like, oh we’ve made it!”
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is hosting the “Conference of the Parties” known as COP28, it’s where world leaders and negotiators take stock of efforts to keep global temperatures down.
Nele is heading there with other young people who are all Unicef Youth ambassadors from Aotearoa. She says young people can play an important role in keeping those in power mindful of the threat climate change poses.
“We know that it’s internationally agreed upon that global warming needs to stay within 1.5 degrees celsius or else we’re going to start seeing significantly adverse impacts of climate change that could possibly be irreversible” she says.
“So… how do we mobilise our communities? Because in the end of the day, it’s our communities that hold the power. People who sit in positions of power only hold that power because our communities are aware of what we can do and how much we can push.”
Many of the discussions at a COP gathering are scrutinised closely by delegates from the Pacific Islands who so often are impacted by the decisions made there. Nele says making sure the Pacific has a voice at the COP meeting is one of the issues dear to her.
“I think my first reason is always, Pacific peoples are the most affected by climate change but contribute the least to it. And this is something that is across all pacific climate action,” she says.
“And so serving our communities who are the most vulnerable to climate change and the impacts of climate change is really important to achieving climate justice. you can’t achieve climate justice without serving your most vulnerable first.”
And helping to spread the message of cop 28 around the Pacific is a team of reporters from around the region who are supported by the New Zealand-based Pacific Cooperation Broadcasting Ltd (PCBL) who are better known in the region as Pasifika TV.
In Dubai, PCBL are supporting a team of reporters and technicians from around the Pacific to create and disseminate stories back to their island communities.
“We’re really impressed and extremely proud of our team in Dubai reporting on COP 28,” says CEO Natasha Meleisea.
“They’ve definitely stepped it up and out of their comfort zones and they produce more than five to six stories a day that we’ve been able to share, not only here in New Zealand but across the Pacific and also across Asia.”
PCBL has been working with Pacific Islands broadcasters for several years to train and upskill media workers to better inform their own communities. It’s part of their desire to have Pacific people tell their own stories to their own people.
“We want to provide a platform where we can share our stories using our own Pacific alliances to not only our sister countries across the Pacific, but also to the rest of the world. What we want to do is also provide a bit of a glimpse about what is happening in our beautiful blue continent.”
Moving forward, PCBL is keen to continue working with regional broadcasters and growing capacity. COP28 is the first time Pacific broadcasters have worked together in this way and on this scale, something Meleisea says they need to do more of.
“Projects like those have provided an opportunity for our participants to experience coming together with other journalists from across the region to build a team quite quickly, but more so, even the experience of working with over 500 media who are also covering COP 28.”