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EJN Announces Second Cohort of Biodiversity Travel Grantees

Panama led proposals on carcharhinid and hammerhead sharks at CITES COP19.

Earlier this year, as part of our Biodiversity Media Initiative, Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN) selected four journalists for travel grants to cover international conferences related to biodiversity in 2023.  

These spaces of multilateral negotiation, knowledge-sharing and networking shape international policymaking and determine shifts in national conservation priorities and budgets. 

However, many environmental journalists face hurdles attending such events. The Biodiversity Media Initiative aims to bridge this gap by providing travel grants to journalists from low- and middle-income backgrounds to attend such conferences and inform their home audiences in an engaging and meaningful way.  

With the generous support of The Arcadia Fund, these journalists have been selected to attend the international conference of their choosing. The travel grants cover airfare, accommodation, meals, travel insurance, visa costs, COVID-19 testing and transportation. 

  • Shamsheer Yousaf will be attending the EcoSummit 2023 in June in Gold Coast, Australia. 
  • Duda Menegassi and James Kahonge Gitau will be covering the International Congress for Conservation Biology in July in Kigali, Rwanda. 
  • Yao Hua Law will be traveling to Tamil Nadu, India to attend the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation in July. 
  • Shadrack Kavilu and Christophe Assogba from our first cohort of travel grantees will also be attending the International Congress for Conservation Biology in July in Kigali, Rwanda this year. 

“Sourcing the funds needed to attend and report from environmental conferences can be a barrier for many journalists,” said Charlie Debenham, EJN’s senior program officer. “These scholarship recipients will ensure that outcomes from global discussions on biodiversity are captured and shared with their audiences.” 

Look out for their stories on the EJN website in the coming months. In the meantime, check out the stories produced by our first set of travel scholars:  

  • Mexican journalist Emilio Godoy attended the CITES COP19 in Panama City, Panama, and delved into the potential economic benefits of protecting endangered species
  • Koryna Herrera from Ecuador also attended the CITES COP19 and examined one of the most extensive proposals in event history around shark protection
  • From India, Flavia Lopes attended the fourth meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework in Nairobi, Kenya, and highlighted how low- and middle-income countries have very limited ownership rights over genetic data.  
  • Also from India, Sharadha Balasubramanian attended the International Whaling Commission in Slovenia and reported on the intentional absence of certain country representatives during a proposal to open a whale sanctuary. 
  • From Brazil, Sofia Moutinho attended the World Biodiversity Forum Switzerland and documented the correlation between the erasure of Indigenous languages and biodiversity loss. 

As part of this project, EJN has also selected six story grantees who are currently underway reporting on biodiversity topics. Their stories will be published on our website in the upcoming months. 

Banner image: Panama led proposals on carcharhinid and hammerhead sharks at CITES COP19 / Credit: Koryna Herrera.