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2023 OCRI Highlights: Facilitating Real World Actions!

2023 has been a rollercoaster year for the Open Climate Reporting Initiative (OCRI) at the CIJ! We built on a successful Year One (April 2022 – March 2023) and moved into 3 new regions for Year Two that runs till March 2024. Our big bet on the implementation strategy for the regions, Brazil and Lusophone Africa, South Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), is proving to be a valid one with more than 300 directly trained from 16 countries and 1000+ reached indirectly. By the end of Year Two, OCRI would have reached journalists, researchers, academics, activists/environmentalists, state and civil society actors in 53 countries! That is a BIG DEAL and we are proud of how far we have come.

Just to mention a few success in 2023, OCRI facilitated our most diverse #CIJ Summer Conference to date with speakers from Nigeria, Nepal, Cameroon, Spain, Lesotho etc. and increasing from 4 to 6, the sessions focusing on environmental and climate change at the Conference; created a climate club to bridge the information gap for journalists working to cover climate change and environmental issues in Egypt; raised a cohort of climate coaches in India towards demystifying climate change reporting; interrogated the nexus with armed conflict in Sudan; formed a unit of highly skilled journalists examining different themes (e.g climate justice) across Brazil through the use of data and digital tools; and created a database of renewable energy projects in Mozambique. OCRI is going beyond the ‘what’ to the ‘why’ and the ‘what next’ of the climate crisis.

The multi-layered impact of OCRI is what makes it a unique intervention. One of such is seeing the improvements due to the training and skill-sharing nearly instantly within investigative projects numbering more than 80 so far. These projects have been able to go deeper into the subjects covered and achieved wider impact by incorporating innovations such as data analysis, open-source intelligence and satellite imagery into their methodologies.

Beyond receiving an award in South Africa, worthy of mention are the national impacts recorded from the published projects like winning greater data transparency from the Nigerian Meteorological Agency; taking steps to remove illegally constructed structures near river banks by a local authority and relocation of schools affected by floods and landslides in Nepal; reforming laws to curb illegal charcoal trade and better regulate sand mining in Uganda; forcing authorities to implement mitigation programmes around coastal erosion in Senegal; empowering civil society to push for better mechanisms to protect Cameroonian mangrove ecosystems and regulating mining contracts in Burkina Faso, the OCRI project and its partners are influencing a wealth of real-world actions. Not to forget contributing to international action impact such as establishing a loss and damage facility at COP27 and compelling a World Bank intervention to assist climate change affected communities in Burundi, the endless possibilities are clear.

We are not done just yet! We will take things a notch higher and zoom in on critical matters of climate financing and climate data to mention just a few in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Published: 18 Dec 2023