Climate Change Media Partnership 2021 Reporting Fellowships to COP26 Opens

James Fahn
arth Journalism Network Executive Director

The 2021 Climate Change Media Partnership (CCMP) Reporting Fellowship Programme for journalists interested in covering the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) has been declared open for applications.

The 2021 CCMP Reporting Fellowship aims to bring up to 20 journalists from developing countries, including 12 journalists from the Asia-Pacific region, to report in-person at COP26, if circumstances allow.

COP26 which was postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will now take place in the city of Glasgow from October 31 to November 12, 2021.

The CCMP which will be led this year by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) in partnership with the Stanley Center for Peace and Security is hosted by the United Kingdom, in partnership with Italy.

Launched in 2007, the CCMP has brought more than 350 journalists from developing countries to attend and report on the annual UN climate talks. This has enabled journalists from around the world to cover the climate negotiations for their home audiences, while benefiting from working alongside knowledgeable climate journalists and gaining a multifaceted understanding of the actions countries are taking—or not taking—to address climate change’s global impact.

Despite the uncertainty around the practical details of this year’s conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CCMP organizers believe that it is critical for journalists representing diverse countries—and especially those from the Global South—to have the opportunity to attend and cover COP26, if possible.

In the event that safety measures related to COVID-19 or other barriers prevent all or some CCMP Fellows from traveling to Glasgow to report from COP26 on-site, the CCMP organizers may offer opportunities for journalists to participate in CCMP activities virtually. Applicants will be asked to indicate if they are interested in participating in virtual activities if in-person participation is not possible.

As currently envisioned (and subject to change), CCMP Fellows would travel to Glasgow to attend the second week of the UN climate negotiations, with arrival on November 4 and departure on November 14.

The CCMP will cover non-refundable economy-class airfare, accommodation, meals, travel insurance, and transportation costs to participate in the Fellowship.

Organizers will also reimburse for meals and other transport expenses acquired in transit, including COVID testing; facilitate the press accreditation process; and provide logistical support relating to the trip.

However, the process of obtaining any necessary visas is the Fellow’s individual responsibility, though the organizers  may reimburse visa costs.

Prior to the start of COP26, Fellows will receive resources and technical support to help prepare for reporting at the conference. Once in Glasgow, Fellows will participate in a series of specially designed activities, including an orientation session with climate experts on the key issues at this COP, daily briefings, and interviews with high-level officials. They will also be guided by EJN trainers, who are senior journalists with experience in covering UN climate summits.

To be eligible for the Fellowship, the applicant must:

  • Be a professional journalist from or representing an established media house and reporting from a developing country.
  • Have a good command of the English language.
  • Have previous experience reporting on climate change issues and clearly indicate the kinds of stories they might pursue while attending the conference.
  • Be available and willing to travel to the UK to attend COP26 in person, arriving on November 4 and departing on November 14, and understanding that barriers beyond the control of the organizers may ultimately prevent in-person participation.
  • Commit to participate in all Fellowship activities.
  • Provide a letter of support from an editor, producer or supervisor who can confirm that applicant’s news reports will be published or broadcast in an established media outlet. Freelancers are welcome to apply, but must provide a letter of support from a media outlet for which they intend to report.

Criteria for evaluating applicants include the prospective Fellow’s demonstrated experience covering climate change and other environmental topics, clear reporting plans for the COP, the audience reach of the proposed media outlet, and geographical distribution across the Fellows.

Applicants will be asked to submit samples of their work, which they will be expected to upload as documents or web links. Stories can be in any language as long as they are accompanied by a short English synopsis. However, a good command of English is a prerequisite for participation in Fellowship activities.

Fellows are free to report as they see fit, taking editorial independence into cognisance. They are also expected to include a strapline in their stories acknowledging the CCMP Fellowship and agree to allow EJN to cross-post all stories produced as part of the CCMP Fellowship on the Earth Journalism Network’s website and its local and regional partner sites (the Fellow’s home media outlet can first publish the story).

Fellows are responsible for ensuring that they meet any requirements for travel to the United Kingdom considering the fact that many countries are still coping with the spread of COVID-19 with the attendant added risks and operational challenges involved with international travel.

Applicants may also be asked to indicate that they understand that participation in the Fellowship in-person in Glasgow requires compliance with government and venue requirements, which may include proof of vaccine status, mask mandates, quarantine protocols, and/or testing for COVID-19 before and during the conference.

Applicants may be required to sign risk acknowledgment documentation indicating that  they understand and accept the risks associated with travel and partaking in in-person meetings during a COVID-19 pandemic.

Internews and the Stanley Center will be continuously assessing COVID-related travel and health risks and will communicate those with Fellows ahead of the conference. All travel to participate in this Fellowship will be voluntary.

To apply for the fellowship, interested journalists need to first register an account to Join the Network and thereafter, login with the registration details.

Deadline for submission of applications is July 30, 2021, 11:59 PM, (UTC -11).