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NEWS: New ideas stream from CDKN Action Lab

CDKN’s Action Lab, an action-orientated programme of exchange and innovation on climate change and development, closed on a high-energy note today in Oxford. The Lab’s 150 participants created a colourful ideas marketplace, where they pitched the new project ideas that emerged over the five days.

Participants identified some common challenges that hamper a step-change in how societies integrate climate adaptation, mitigation and  development:

The right people aren’t connecting: the Action Lab has been a unique place to make the right connections, but cities that are learning lessons in adaptation and low carbon growth are not yet connecting; communities more broadly are not connecting.

We’re not necessarily measuring the right things: for instance, we’re not adequately measuring the social benefits of carbon project and impact of carbon finance on communities.

We’re not exploiting the full potential of markets: the benefits of climate compatible development – properly measured and monitored – could be captured and marketed.

We’re not communicating in the right form of language: there’s a common failure to communicate climate change in a way that’s accessible and relevant to people’s lives, or in a way that ‘sticks’.

We have far more technological capacity at our fingertips than we’re harnessing: we’re not yet capturing the full potential of science and technology to reduce risk from disasters and build resilience to climate change.

Decision makers have a poor sense of trade-offs: decision-makers need a better sense of how decisions will affect longer term resilience to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions – and they need a better evidence base on how others have experienced trade-offs.

The next generation are not sufficiently educated to manage the necessary transition to a low-carbon economy – including recent graduates.

The programme was geared to developing practical, game-changing proposals for projects to transform thinking and action on climate compatible development. Groups formed to develop these ‘prototypes’ and will work intensively to market these to raise finance for these in the weeks ahead.

Ideasdeveloped by Action Lab participants include proposals to:

  • Empower cities as climate change actors at an international level, gearing up leaders to debate climate change effectively at the World Mayors Summit on Climate (WMSC) II in November 2011
  • Consolidate a climate and development agenda for African leaders to articulate at UNFCCC CoP17 in Durban
  • Educate and empower the current generation of South American leaders to generate fresh thinking from the region for the Rio +20 Summit in 2012
  • Harness the power of storytelling in African communities to mine knowledge about building resilience and share it more broadly
  • Build a global system for anticipating disasters that will help limit the massive humanitarian impacts of disasters, including climate change-related ones
  • Train citizen journalists to capture community concerns around food, water and energy security and connect these to climate change in community radio broadcasts
  • Replicate the Action Lab model in other regions and settings, including key regions for climate mitigation such as the Amazon basin
  • Support existing eco-agroforestry initiatives to market their benefits internationally and catalyse new ones

These are just some of the many ideas that bubbled up during the programme.

CDKN Chief Executive Sam Bickersteth said:

“The production of so many concrete project concepts at the Action Lab demonstrates the value of new ways of using the knowledge, experience and commitment of those working on climate and development. The Action Lab was neither workshop nor conference, but has provided a basis for actions by CDKN and partners to address the challenges ahead.”

We look forward to posting video clips outlining the project prototypes from the Lab during the next week. Watch this space.

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