14 December 2013, Bangkok – The Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) and IUCN collaborated to raise public awareness on climate change through the Climate Change Animation competition. After months of campaigning and university tours nationwide, 92 teams of university students submitted four-minute animations to the competition.
The story portrays a family of five characters: father, mother, brother, sister and an orange bird (Thai PBS logo). Each team was asked to develop their story, as they saw fit, around climate change issues. The selection criteria included creativity, meaningful content, animation techniques and story telling techniques.
The judging panel selected the ten best teams to join an intensive workshop and study trip to the Building Coastal Resilience (BCR) project site, which is administered by the Sustainable Development Foundation. The students gained first hand experience and knowledge about how climate change impacts coastal communities in Thailand and learned how the locals are adapting themselves to live in this changing climate. Based upon this experience and feedback comments from the judging panel, all ten teams further developed their animated story before submitting the work in the final round.
The winner of the final round for 2013 is the Tiam Kan Maa team from Christian University, and the first and second runners up are the Kang Lang Pud and White Wind teams respectively, both from Sri Pathum University. The popular vote award was awarded to The Beater team, also from Sri Pathum University. The winners received trophies and cash to support their education from Thai PBS, while IUCN will sponsor a further study trip for the winners to visit the BCR project sites in Cambodia.
The winning animations will broadcasted via the Thai PBS channel, as well as IUCN communications channels. Currently this broadcast is only available in Thai, however an English version will be developed for the use in other countries.
IUCN and Thai PBS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during the IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2013. The MOU supports cooperation to raise public awareness on environmental issues, especially climate change, building media capacity for environmental reporting, sharing information and joint production of a TV programme. Since signing the MOU various activities have been implemented together, including:
- Thai PBS participated in the IUCN world Conservation Congress in 2012 in South Korea and produced reports for Thai audiences.
- Media workshops on climate change were organized by IUCN for Thai PBS reporters, producers, media trainers and media researchers. The workshops were held in Thailand and Cambodia in 2013.
- Creative writing workshops were conducted in Cambodia and Viet Nam in 2013 – Thai PBS provided media trainers to train IUCN staff in these countries on creative writing and story telling.
- The Mekong Media Arts Competition 2013 was held nationwide and led by Thai PBS, with support from IUCN and other partner organisations. Aims of the competition included raising public awareness of Mekong river conservation issues.
- Thai PBS participated in, shared experiences of, and reported on the BCR Coastal Forum in 2012 and 2013.
- Thai PBS broadcasted the MEKONG film produced by Douglas Varchol with support from IUCN, CPWF and SIDA.
In 2014, the two agencies will implement more joint activities in order to underline the importance of nature conservation and strengthen environmental communications in Thailand and Southeast Asian countries.
By Dararat Weerapong