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NEWS: Introducing the Climate Knowledge Brokers Group

The Climate Knowledge Challenge

As the world wakes up to the implications of climate change, and the imperative to take action, the need for reliable information has never been greater. More and more information is being published to meet this need, with much of it now freely available online. Already, there are many excellent websites, portals and knowledge platforms providing insights of all aspects of climate change, with new initiatives being launched almost every week.

This creates a paradox, however. As the flow of information increases, the harder it can be to find what you are looking for. The range of sources to choose from can be overwhelming. Where do you begin? How do you know what to trust? And how do you make sense of it all?

For knowledge providers, and those that fund them, this proliferation creates a different set of challenges. How can you avoid duplication of effort? How can you learn from others so you can avoid reinventing the wheel? And how can you ensure your investment in creating online resources will be of greatest value to your intended users?

The Role of the Climate Knowledge Brokers Group

The Climate Knowledge Brokers Group Group was set up to address these challenges. Its goal is to improve access to climate information by coordinating and orchestrating the efforts of climate knowledge brokers. It works by:

  • Developing common tools: so climate data can be searched and shared efficiently, and users can identify quickly which websites and content is most relevant for them.
  • Initiating joint projects: to connect up different websites, test out innovations and generate new thinking on how to best meet user needs.
  • Supporting peer learning: providing opportunities for knowledge brokers to meet each other face-to-face, share the challenges they are facing, and compare experience of which approaches work best.
  • Building capacity: offering hands-on advice to new initiatives being set up, so they can benefit from the wealth of experience within the group.
  • Providing leadership: creating a focal point and a voice for the community as a whole, so the vital role of climate knowledge brokers is understood and championed.

Who’s involved

Set up in 2011, the Climate Knowledge Brokers Group is emerging alliance of around 50 of the leading global and regional websites specialising in climate and development information. It brings together a diverse set of information players, from international organisations to research institutes, NGOs and good practice networks. By design, it cuts across different sub-sectors within the climate sphere. It includes initiatives focusing on adaptation, mitigation, climate finance, energy, and broader development issues – the aim being to break down disciplinary silos and encourage productive linkages across these different fields of activity.

The focus is on online initiatives that play an explicit knowledge brokerage role, bringing together material from multiple sources rather than being simply institutional websites.

The Climate Knowledge Brokers Group is coordinated by a Steering Group chaired by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN). Logos of some of the initiatives involved are shown below.

CKB Logos

Find out more

To learn more about the Climate Knowledge Brokers Group, its work, and achievements to date, see the links below:

  • The CKB Group website provides highlights of the group’s activities, including reports on recent workshops.
  • Joint projects: there have been seven collaborative projects to date, including development of:
    • A Knowledge Navigator tool that guides users to the most suitable climate website for them. It has over 100 initiatives included in its database and is available to install free of charge as a widget on other websites.
    • A smart Tagging Tool that analyses documents and provides suggestions on tags and related sources based on a specially-developed thesaurus of climate terms. This makes documents easier to search and share. The tool is already in use on several leading websites, and is available to deploy on others.
    • A study of user needs of climate information platforms to understand ‘what do users actually want, and what are they willing to share?’.
  • The group communicates via a LinkedIn group. This is run as a closed group at present; you can apply to join by pressing the join button.

Get involved

If you are interested in joining the CKB Group and benefiting from its know-how, or simply seek further information, please contact:

Geoff Barnard, Climate and Development Knowledge Network, T:+44 1903 813232 M:+44 7510 314397

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