MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a technical assistance grant to raise awareness through the media on the serious threat that climate change poses to hundreds of millions of people in the region.

A grant of US$450,000 from ADB's Climate Change Fund, together with $271,000 provided by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), will go towards providing technical training and improving knowledge of broadcast journalists reporting on climate-related issues for national broadcasters in Asia and the Pacific.

Four workshops will be held in India, People's Republic of China (PRC), Philippines and Thailand, and it is expected that participants will generate more than 100 short television news features for national broadcast on issues such as climate proofing, disaster risk management and clean energy. The best of the news features will be promoted and distributed to regional and international television networks.

"The media play a pivotal role in informing and educating policymakers and the public about climate-related risks, and measures that can be adopted to more effectively deal with this growing threat," says Ann Quon, Senior Director in ADB's Department of External Relations.

As part of the project, ADB and ABU will organize live television coverage and satellite feeds of stories and interviews from the High Level Dialogue on Climate Change in June 2009, and the subsequent Clean Energy Forum at ADB hheadquarters in Manila. They will also hold a workshop for radio journalists in a bid to reach communities without access to television, and will offer grants for documentaries and longer productions that provide in-depth coverage on the subject.

The adverse effects of climate change linked to a sharp increase in greenhouse gases are already being felt in Asia and the Pacific. Even if carbon emissions are capped at current levels the region faces a 10% reduction in crop yields by 2020, and rising sea levels that could displace millions of people living in coastal areas in Bangladesh, India, the Maldives and the Pacific Islands. In addition, about 1.2 billion people could face freshwater shortages by 2020, and up to 34% of the region's coral reefs are likely to be lost by 2050.