FEATURE: Tide of support for climate knowledge manifesto
Sigmund Kluckner, the Coordinator of the Climate Knowledge Brokers Group, provides a round-up of the astonishing response received by the Group’s ‘Manifesto’ since it was launched some eight months ago. Could delivering the Manifesto be just what’s needed to hasten action on the Paris climate agreement?
A little over eight months ago, the Climate Knowledge Brokers Group (CKB) launched its Manifesto. It has since been distributed worldwide and has sparked interest, with more than 60 signatories including organisations such as the CCCCC, CSE India, the Institute for Development Studies, IUCN, the Rocky Mountain Institute, and UNDP. Dozens more high-level individuals have also signed in a private capacity, acknowledging the importance of climate knowledge brokers, and showing support for the principles it espouses.
The Manifesto is the result of a collaborative effort involving many individuals from organisations connected with CKB. It contains the ‘principles of climate knowledge brokering’, which were reviewed at the CKB Annual Workshop hosted by CTCN in Copenhagen in June 2015. Seven key principles were agreed on how climate knowledge brokers can have greater impact through collaboration and the use of open data. It also defines the knowledge broker’s role as integrating, sorting, translating and interpreting the wealth of climate information, and tailoring it for the needs of different audiences – from government decision-makers and business leaders, urban planners and farmers, to everyday consumers and voters.
Feedback was overwhelming. The media featured articles right after the launch (for example the Daily Mail, trust.org; and also in Spanish and German), and my inbox swelled dramatically with correspondence about it. “I spent some time this weekend reading through the CKB manifesto, and let me tell you— I couldn’t put it down! Having worked in environmental/climate communications for 5 years now, everything I read resonated at a very deep level, as much of the duplication and lack of access to knowledge has also frustrated me to no end!” said one excited climate knowledge broker. Another praised the Manifesto as “Incredibly relevant to what we do at [my organization] and what many are struggling with around the adaptation community right now.”
Commentators also set forth two challenges for the future. The first was that while the document is relevant for a worldwide audience, not everybody can read the book in its English version. As a result the Manifesto will be published in Spanish this summer, hopefully with other languages to follow.
The second challenge mentioned concerns how people can become better climate knowledge brokers. Responding to this, the CKB Coordination Hub and CDKN have teamed up to create a concrete capacity building programme for climate knowledge brokers, to be implemented in the coming year.
CKB was created in recognition that many more people will need to take the changing climate into account in their professional and personal lives in future. “Knowledge and research is critical to creating a new low carbon future, but for busy decision makers this is not enough to bring about real change,” said Jane Clark, Head of Learning on climate change issues at the UK Department for International Development, at the time of the Manifesto launch. “Knowledge needs to be translated, brokered and tailored to ensure we can all make better-informed choices as we plan for and manage the risks, trade-offs and opportunities of climate change. Enabling active learning is critical to changing the way we do things.” This is even more important following the Paris Agreement, in light of the tremendous efforts required from many people if it is to be meaningful and successful in the long-term.
You can still sign the Manifesto at http://climateknowledgebrokers.net/sign.
Image: Ghanaian journalist, courtesy BBC.