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FEATURE: CDKN Action Lab – videos of innovative prototypes now online


The CDKN Action Lab, a cutting-edge four-day event that took place in Oxford at the beginning of April, developed a series of innovative prototype ideas for dealing with climate compatible development .

You can now watch a summary of the Action Lab here, and a consolidated video of the prototypes here.

Each prototype description below contains a link to the Action Lab Online community, hosted on the CDKN 2degrees site – you’ll need to request access if you’re not already a member. You can see a summary of the projects on 2degrees here, and browse pictures of the prototype ideas here.

Locally focused projects

Smart cities: intelligent engagement with local leaders and planners

Summary: Developing climate-smart local leaders and urban planners to build smart cities. The prototype suggests a pilot test of an eco-leadership model based on a two-way network between city departments, knowledge institutions, leaders, climate champions, a collaborative committee and a community support design group.

See details on Action Lab online here.

See a video presenting the prototype here.

Climate change financing for local communities

Summary: Ensuring equitable, rapid access to climate finance for communities; establishing national financing entities and principals for governance; and formalising civil society’s role in brining transparent, inclusive, accountable and effective decision-making. The scheme would analyse the experiences of setting up ‘national entities’ for climate funding in South Asian countries – including Nepal and Pakistan – to extract best practices.

See details on Action Lab online here.

A prototype summary can be found here.

See a video presenting the prototype here.

Climate values: creating new language and bridges for action

Summary: Developing languages that speak directly to the “amigdala” (heart and brain) for triggering awareness of climate responsibility. This prototype sets out to learn what works and what doesn’t for building cross-cultural meta languages. The prototype aims to engage with the arts and traditional knowledge to build new bridges for climate action in three Latin American sites.

See details on Action Lab online here.

See a video presenting the prototype here.

Internationally focused projects

Climate city multi-interaction approach

Summary: Cities are the key actors for climate change, and will become more important in the future.  This prototype aims to empower cities to push further the international political agenda for climate change and development.

See details on Action Lab online here.

See a video presenting the prototype here.

The economics of ecosystems and biodiversity

Summary: The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) is an initiative to highlight the global economic benefits of biodiversity, and the cost of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem degradation. Through increased recognition and demonstration of these costs and benefits, appropriate corrective actions can be identified.

See details on Action Lab online here.

See a video presenting the prototype here. 

One trillion trees

Summary: To develop a publicly-available robust methodology for submission to the Gold Standard (a voluntary carbon market standard). This will include an integrated assessment of carbon life-cycle emissions and reductions. This prototype aims to provide a nursery in each village, and would allow people to plant what they want.

See details on Action Lab online here.

The prototype summary can be found here.

Duniani network: financing for scalable eco-agroforestry businesses.

Summary: To create a professional services group to organise a thriving eco-agroforestry business culture. The prototype would develop an inventory of eco-agroforestry business best practices by collecting case studies and systematising business models. It would also organise a network of existing successful agro-forestry and conservation projects and institutions in developing countries. These projects would serve as intermediaries between financial investors, development banks and eco-agroforestry businesses that are members of the Duniani Network.

See details on Action Lab online here.

The prototype summary can be found here.

See a video presenting the prototype here. 

Finance facility: tackling vulnerability by addressing (suppressed) energy demand in housing

Summary: While millions of houses are currently being built (3 million in South Africa alone in the past 15 years), financial constraints have led to thermal and energy-inefficient housing.  This increases urban vulnerability, wasted energy and a disproportionate financial burden for the poor, perpetuating the poverty cycle and increasing carbon emissions. Financing clean, low-carbon energy services would help to alleviate poverty in low-income households while lowering carbon emissions.

See details on Action Lab online here.

The prototype summary can be found here.

See a video presenting the prototype here.

Biochar for climate compatible development

Summary: Developing a robust methodology for submission to the Gold Standard (a voluntary carbon market standard) to measure the carbon sequestration potential and social, economic and environmental impacts of biochar. Biochar is similar to charcoal and is synthesised through the pyrolisis of biomass. The technology represents a method for atmospheric carbon capture and storage, but currently projects in this area are small-scale. Without receipt of income from the carbon market, scale-up of biochar projects will be slow.

See details on Action Lab online here.

The summary document can be found here.

See a video presenting the prototype here.

Education- and training-focused projects

Education for global leadership in South America with a focus on sustainability. (Original name: Rio+20 and education for sustainable leadership)

Summary: Creating a methodology to develop global leadership in South America with a focus on sustainability. This methodology will be implemented by a mobile team and will be multisectoral, multicultural and multidisciplinary.

See details on Action Lab online here.

The summary document can be found here.

See a video presenting the prototype here.

Empowering youth through social entrepreneurial skills for climate-resilient communities

Summary: Promoting youth-led climate change social ventures through development in schools and campuses. The scheme aims to provide funding and training to young ‘changemakers’ to foster entrepreneurial ventures for climate resilience.

See details on Action Lab online here.

The prototype summary can be found here.

See a video presenting the prototype here.

Climate change education and curricula innovation

Summary: University students and emerging professionals lack access to rigorous education opportunities to prepare them for a transition to a low-carbon world.  This gap is especially serious in developing countries, and is limiting the development and implementation of climate-related policies. This prototype aims to develop internationally recognised core curricula that focus on future workforce and expertise needs.

See details on Action Lab online here.

A summary of the prototype can be found here.

Adaptive capacity: learning about social learning

Summary: To catalyse the use of social learning in support of local adaptive capacity. The prototype will bring together examples of social learning to understand when and why it is successful, including local facilitation, the components of an enabling environment, and how communities feed into learning policy processes.

See details on Action Lab online here.

The prototype summary can be found here.

See a video presenting the prototype here.

The Green Guide

Summary: A quick, practical decision support tool to assist decision- and policy-makers in developing countries with making decisions about climate compatible development. It will take two forms: a small, brief booklet and a web-based decision support tool. These tools will provide a list of key questions and considerations to give an overarching mind map about the green economy and poverty reduction, and provide hyperlinks to more detailed sources of information.

See details on Action Lab online here.

The prototype summary can be found here.

See a video presenting the prototype here.

Communication and metasystem-focused projects

Networking map of CDKN social system

Summary: CDKN is a dynamic, complex system, which requires networks and learning to transform futures. CDKN and Action Lab intend to generate new knowledge and networks, and use these to influence climate compatible development. This prototype aims to construct a network map to facilitate the emergence of connections and diffusion of ideas.

See details on Action Lab online here.

See a video presenting the prototype here.

The consulting entrepreneurship code

Summary: This prototype aims to establish a code of standards for ‘consulting entrepreneurs’ to provide a mark of trust for practitioners. Inclusion of practitioners will be by invitation after a peer-review process; this will allow subscribers to distinguish themselves from the larger consultant community. The aim is to unlock the potential of these consultants to deliver high-impact solutions and enterprises to better address the biggest issues in climate change and development.

See details on Action Lab online here.

See a video presenting the prototype here.

Shubh Kal (a better future): from information to knowledge to action

Summary: This prototype aims to use radio stations to facilitate dialogue on climate change issues. By strengthening journalists’ capacity to understand these issues, climate compatible development (CCD) discussions in the public forum will also be strengthened. This will build better understanding of CCD issues among communities and communicators, and lead to appropriate action on CCD.

See details on Action Lab online here.

See a video presenting the prototype here.

Tweet-source new language

Summary: Emerging language on CCD development isn’t galvanising collective action. There is a lack of feedback on how CCD language is used in communications. This prototype aims to gather feedback and statistics on language used in this area to establish the best language to promote collective action on CCD.

See details on Action Lab online here.

See a video presenting the prototype here.

Impact wheel

Summary: Developing a multi-dimensional impact measurement and communication tool, which will focus on the key themes of development, adaptation, mitigation and biodiversity. This tool could be used by multi-stakeholders such as CSR departments of corporate funding organisations, developers and governments to assess both the expected impacts and resulting outputs of projects, as well as effective and efficient allocation of resources.

See details on Action Lab online here.

The prototype summary can be found here.

See a video presenting the prototype here.

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