Sifting through a mountain of government technical documents can be daunting to a journalist, but those who participated in “Mekong Matters: Reporting on Development Projects Using Environmental Impact Assessments” now think differently. The USAID-supported Mekong Partnership for the Environment project held the workshop in Chiang Mai from September 15 to 19 to train Mekong-region journalists in using Environmental Impact Assessments for reports on regional infrastructure projects.

Trainers and speakers from civil society and a government agency demonstrated how environmental impact assessment processes and data can be useful for reporting on the impacts of large-scale development projects. Participants also took study trips to a national park and a village to assess vulnerability to floods. They got a first-hand understanding of the potential impacts of construction projects and the different perspectives of stakeholders. As part of the workshop, civil society organizations from around the Mekong region also learned about media messaging and how to effectively present their stories to journalists.

The Mekong Matters event strengthened connections between development journalists and civil society organizations to increase access to information about the costs and benefits of regional development projects.

Source: USAID/RDMA Regional Environment Office Weekly Update