A Ugandan radio journalist has won a prestigious new journalism award from the United Nations Enviornment Programme (UNEP), outclassing entries from over 100 correspondents from across the African continent. Patricia Okoed-Bukumunhe won the UNEP Young Environmental Journalist Award for her report 'Climate Change and Uganda', broadcast on Radio France International. Jury members described the entry as 'original, cutting edge environmental reporting'.
Ms. Okoed-Bukumunhe was presented with her specially-commissioned trophy by UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and members of the jury. The ceremony was held on the opening day of the UNEP Governing Council / Global Ministerial Environment Forum where environment ministers from across the world, senior government officials and civil society are meeting from 21 - 24 February.
Ms. Okoed-Bukumunhe's winning radio entry described the far-reaching effects of climate change on Uganda's environment and economy. Her piece covered the impact of increasingly erratic weather patterns on the coffee industry - Uganda's largest export - and how the melting of snow on the peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains could damage the country's tourism industry. The report also showed how climate change is putting increasing pressure on water supplies to Uganda's homes and agriculture and even leading to a potential border dispute.
'As a journalist, I feel it is essential that issues to do with climate change and our changing environment continue to be communicated to readers, listeners and viewers in Africa', said Ms. Okoed-Bukumunhe.
'It is important to show that climate change and its effects are not just a Western phenomenon but are a reality in Africa, with increasingly severe consequences for us all. I'm honoured to win the first UNEP Young Environmental Journalist Award and to be recognised not only for my job, which is my passion, but for something I hope can contribute to the movement to protect our planet', she added.
A broadcast journalist with 13 years experience in local and international media, Ms. Okoed-Bukumunha works as a News Editor and anchor at Capital Radio - a private FM radio station in Uganda. She is also a freelance journalist with Paris-based Radio France International and has worked with ORF radio in Austria as a freelance producer handling features and magazine shows. She lists her main fields of interest as the environment, health and women's issues.