By Rodrigo Pérez
A group of major international organisations has issued a call for strong and coordinated communications initiatives to support action on climate change.
The UN-backed Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Programme (REEEP) and Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) together with the Overseas Development Institute, Climate and Development Knowledge Network and dozens more are backing the launch of the ‘Climate Knowledge Brokers’ Manifesto’, which lists the key principles for communicating climate change effectively and so precipitating a step change in society’s response to the climate crisis.
Based on the belief that “knowledge is power”, the Group urges redoubled efforts from the grassroots to the global level to make “high quality climate relevant information available and accessible to all who need it”.
The Manifesto is the brainchild of the Climate Knowledge Brokers’ Group , founded in 2011 and now numbering more than 100 international agencies and programmes.
The Group was created in recognition that climate change has growing impacts on every aspect of people’s daily lives. Climate change will transform local environments the world over and has implications for countless decisions, especially major policy and investment decisions.
“Yet, the science of climate change is a fast-evolving science and our understanding of humankind’s relationship with the changing climate is rapidly progressing. People need help and guidance to make sense of the trends and connections,” CDKN says on its website.
“Only now are we really grasping the full extent to which our lives, our jobs and our environment are being altered by a changing climate”, said Florian Bauer, COO and Open Knowledge Director at the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) and one of the editors of the Manifesto.
“To improve our resilience in the face of these changes, we need more effective decision-making in practically all sectors and at all levels. And the people charged with making decisions need the best available information and knowledge to do their jobs well,” he added.
The Climate Knowledge Brokers Group says it is the job of its more than 100 members and other organisations like them – many funded by taxpayer monies or donor subscriptions – to make sense of this ocean of information so that people are well informed to act on climate-related risks.
The Group defines the knowledge broker’s role as interpreting, sorting, translating, and integrating this wealth of information and tailoring it for the needs of different audiences – from government decision-makers and industry chiefs to everyday consumers and voters.
Consuelo Espinosa, CDKN’s Director for Latin America, said: “Never has there been a greater need to integrate climate-related information in investment decisions, to ensure that policies, plans and investments made today do not lock in high greenhouse gas emissions for the future and to ensure that they integrate the climate variables in their design.”
He added: “Rather, they need to take advantage of low carbon technologies and approaches, and be resilient to future climate change. Knowledge brokers play a vital role in getting the right climate information to the right people at the right time. They can also be a great source of further support on the generation of information so authorities can make responsible decisions. They can help people share their experiences in climate-compatible development, which helps everyone in meeting our global climate challenge together.”
The Manifesto sets out seven key principles for how climate knowledge brokers can have greater impact through collaboration and the use of open data. In the Manifesto, the Climate Knowledge Brokers Group also invites more organisations to join them.
“Climate knowledge brokers need to work together to avoid overlap and make sure they are identifying and meeting people’s information needs effectively,” said Geoff Barnard, Senior Advisor on Knowledge Management at CDKN and a founder of the Group. “Only then will climate knowledge brokers meet their full potential for turning knowledge into action.”
The Climate Knowledge Brokers Manifesto was developed in a collaborative process by the CKB Group (CKB), involving interviews with 80 climate knowledge brokers and users of climate-related knowledge, and an editorial conference among the 17-strong author team.
The full version of the Manifesto includes an analysis of user needs, characteristics of the climate knowledge broker role in responding to those user needs, and how the CKB Group improves the effectiveness of climate knowledge brokering through collaboration. It concludes with an invitation for users of climate knowledge, funders of climate information services and climate knowledge brokers to engage with us.
The Climate Knowledge Brokers’ Manifesto webpage also provides access to transcripts of some of the interviews conducted by the Group and examples of successful climate knowledge brokering initiatives.