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FEATURE: How to help people find the right climate information – at the right time

Tim Woods of Green Ink reports on a gathering of the Climate Knowledge Brokers Group to road-test the forthcoming ‘Manifesto’ on climate knowledge. Read the highlights of the event and get a preview of the themes of the Manifesto – which will be launched on 17 September.

The Climate Knowledge Brokers Group (CKB) is a network of organisations and professionals focused on improving the quality and use of climate-related knowledge in decision-making. By design, CKB cuts across different sub-sectors within the climate sphere: adaptation, mitigation, climate finance, energy, agriculture and broader climate compatible development issues. The aim is to encourage productive links between these different fields of activity.

As its main objective, CKB and all its members aim to enable decision-makers and individuals faced with the challenges of climate change to take decisions based on high-quality, comprehensive data, information and knowledge. This requires a clear understanding of users’ needs as well as a strong, complete and usable information base to support decisions.

Users are often overwhelmed by ‘portal proliferation syndrome’; it is easy to find a lot of information but not necessarily the right information that the user needs for a specific task or decision. The Group explores how to develop an ‘Climate Knowledge Grid’ by which different online knowledge initiatives will be joined up and provide a smooth user experience.

On 23-24 June, the CKB held their annual workshop, jointly organised by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), which is running the CKB Coordination Hub, and the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN). It was hosted by the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The 2015 workshop had one clear objective: to road-test the new CKB Manifesto, which will be used to explain to various audiences – donors, users of climate information and knowledge brokers who are not yet part of CKB – why the climate knowledge brokering role is so important and what CKB is.

The Coordination Hub organised several sessions for participants to explore various aspects of the Manifesto, covering: what users need; how we can play the knowledge broker role better; and the draft principles underpinning the Manifesto. Through group discussions and plenaries, the participants provided constructive feedback on these core elements. The Coordination Hub has used all this feedback to finalise the Manifesto (see below).

The knowledge broker clinics, a regular feature of CKB workshops since they began, continued in earnest. Due to demand from ‘patients’, 13 clinic ‘consultations’ were held, proving invaluable feedback for different knowledge brokers to take back to their offices (for more information on what a clinic is, see the full CKB Workshop 2015 report). In total, 58 people took part, making this the largest workshop yet held. And a livestreamed panel discussion beforehand also increased awareness of CKB and its activities.

Key outcomes

The most important outcome of the workshop was the wealth of feedback received on the draft Manifesto. This ranged from high-level strategic advice on how the Manifesto could and should be used, to suggestions about using more active language and even the suitability of the name itself. This will now be synthesised and used to refine the Manifesto before it is launched.

Another significant, if less tangible, outcome was the ongoing support felt by CKB members. Many of the new participants commented that they enjoyed the format of the workshop, which is based upon peer support and collaboration rather than promoting their individual websites. The workshop also marked a significant milestone, as CKB reached its fifth year of activity, and a shift to the future as plans began for regional workshops, a more diverse membership and what will happen once the Manifesto has been launched.

Download the full report: CKB Workshop 2015

Join the Manifesto launch

The Climate Knowledge Brokers’ Manifesto will be launched on 17 September at the offices of Overseas Development Institute in London, UK. You can attend in person to enjoy the panel discussion and network with others, or you can follow the panel session by livestream. There will be a chance for remote participants to pose questions and comments to the panelists in writing.

Register here for the event: Knowledge for climate action – a manifesto for change

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