Somali journalists on Thursday launched the country’s first environmental network to help increase reporting on ecological challenges and opportunities in the Horn of Africa nation.
Yahya Mohamed, newly elected chair of the UN-backed Somali Environmental Journalists Network (SEJN), said the association, which is the first of its kind in the country, will allow them to unite as media professionals to increase the coverage of environmental issues such as land degradation, deforestation, pollution and climate change.
“We have agreed to take the lead in helping to find a solution to the environmental challenges. We feel that media has a key role to play in changing the situation in our country,” Mohamed said in Mogadishu on the sidelines of the dialogue on the charcoal reduction and alternative livelihood organized by the UN Environment.
Mohamed said that the network will work in collaboration with stakeholders including government, UN agencies, communities, private sector and donors to report in a coherent and inclusive manner on the solutions to tackle environmental issues that are facing the country and its sustainable development.
He added that membership to the network will be open to all Somali journalists covering environment and sustainable development issues.
Zeynab Adan, a female journalist, said that most people in Somalia do not know the extent of destruction caused by charcoal trade and other environmental degradation.
“This media dialogue has opened our eyes on the role we can play to help in reversing the environmental degradation in our country,” she added.
Mohamed Atani, head of communication and outreach unit for Africa at UN Environment, challenged journalists to dedicate their reporting to help finding lasting stability to the environmental degradation in the country.
“You must give your best professionally to the improvement of environmental situation through informative media reports,” he added.