According to a press release, “This seminar will feature several facilitators including Dr. Maria Protz who has over 20 years of experience working in rural communications – for the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other organisations. In 2008 she provided Communication Strategy training services to the Integrated Watersheds and Coastal Areas Management (IWCAM) Project, and the OECS’ Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods Project (OPAAL).”
The seminar will feature open discussions by the media on coverage challenges, the introduction of a media tool kit on biodiversity and a media tour to the Central Forest Reserve National Park (CFRNP).
Approximately 12 representatives attached to the local media are expected to attend and they will receive resources including a directory of experts, a photo database, and a bank of sound bites.
Media representatives across the independent OECS states of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, will also receive similar opportunities as sessions are being held during January and February.
A press release from the OECS Secretariat notes that: “the seminars will not only help to strengthen and increase much needed media coverage on protected areas and biodiversity conservation in the region, but will also help to create a cadre of journalists in the OECS, who are equipped with sound knowledge for evidence based coverage of this sensitive, yet significant area.”
The release further noted that: “a key component of the seminar will be a tour of a protected area in each country where journalists and media persons will have a first hand look at a working protected area, and will have the opportunity to ask questions of field experts in order to develop a feature story on the visited area.”
Seminars were scheduled to take place in Saint Lucia – January 10 and 11, Dominica – January 13 and 14, and Antigua and Barbuda – January 17 and 18. Following the seminar in St. Kitts and Nevis January 20 and 21, they will continue February 7 and 8 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and February 10 and 11 in Grenada.
The seminar is part of the OECS Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods (OPAAL) Project executed by the OECS Secretariat through its Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU), in partnership with the World Bank as an implementing agency for the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the Fond Francais de l’Environment Mondial (FFEM) of the Government of France.