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FEATURE: From teachers to energy executives – IPCC toolkit captures imaginations

In 2014-15, CDKN brought the findings of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) to developing countries, to encourage policy-makers to consider the latest climate science in their decisions. Along with outreach events across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, CDKN produced a ‘communications toolkit’ to help people share the IPCC’s findings. Here, Anna Hickman reviews how communicators and educators used the toolkit in the past year.

In 2014, we reported that by engaging with our audience on a personal level, CDKN gained insights into how people are trying to survive and thrive in the changing climate. We discovered that CDKN’s AR5 reports and ‘toolkits’ were being used everywhere from schools and youth groups to events for embassies.

Now, in 2015, analysis of who is using the reports and toolkits shows that the materials are still largely being used in teaching and research, and to share the implications of climate change with both governments and local communities. This time, the analysis also shows that private organisations are engaging with the resources to inform their own learning, indicating that a wide audience is considering the implications of climate change for their actions – including their business interests.

This month, I looked into self-reports from 160 users who have downloaded materials from CDKN’s AR5 toolkit in 2015 and told us how they’re using it (thousands more people are accessing our publications without leaving feedback). As shown from the statistics and anecdotes below, interest remains high in the reports and media toolkits. The toolkit offers free-to-use images for journalists, infographics and slideshows as well as our trademark regional guides to the IPCC’s AR5.

Academic use (teaching) Internal capacity building External capacity building (incl. education of public and policy-makers) Use in publications Journalism
Developing country users (60% of users) 35% 18% 30% 12% 5%
Developed country users (40% of users) 36% 15% 11% 27% 11%



Last year, we reported that the number of those engaging with CDKN’s work for educational purposes was high; this year, the percentage is even higher, with the largest proportion of users accessing the resources for this reason. Universities include Morocco’s Rabat University, Ethiopia’s Ambo University, Australia’s Sydney University, Cornell of the USA, ICU of Zambia, Columbia of the USA, Pakistan’s Multan University and the Federal University of Rio Grande du Sol. Lecturers used the resources in presentations and seminars, while many students accessed them to inform their own learning and development.


The resources are also informing research and publications; a lecturer at the Australian National University used the resources to inform their research in the provision and use of weather, climate and geo-hazard information in the Pacific. A research institution in India used the reports and images for research on climate smart agriculture in tea, focusing on water-food-livelihood nexus. An agriculture research organisation used them in the development of research proposals on agriculture and climate change, and in capacity development activities for actors in select food crop value chains.


The second most common use amongst developing country users in 2015 was for external outreach and capacity building. One case study from a South African conservation organisation explains they used the resources to make presentations to conduct training on adaptation options for community stakeholders applying for community adaptation grants. Another community-based organisation used them for educating local bodies for ‘positive action on the ground’. An organisation working in Pakistan to improve the independence of women used the resources to raise awareness among drought prone communities in Cholistan. A user from Caribbean ministry used them to prepare a brief on the impact of climate change and disaster risk deduction in Small Island Developing States.

Unexpected results

One of the key aims of the media toolkit has been to encourage responsible journalism on the Fifth Assessment Report and the images have been used to accompany a number of blogs and magazines.

Perhaps a more unexpected result was the engagement from private sector organisations using the materials for self-education and internal capacity building. A user from an engineering consultancy in Nepal used them to create internal educational materials on climate change. A user from one of South Africa’s largest electricity companies also used the resources for self-education. They explained, ‘the subject of “What’s in it for Africa” is one often an interesting debate, especially in conducting and motivating a business case for renewable energy projects. I’m hoping that by increasing my knowledge on the non-quantifiable benefits and often long term benefits will help to provide much needed case for to invest in renewable projects.’

 Image: from CDKN toolkit courtesy Fotosearch

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