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REPORT: 2013 Climate Knowledge Brokers Workshop Report

This report summarises the discussions and conclusions from the third Climate Knowledge Brokers workshop, held from 7-9 June 2013. The workshop was jointly organised by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). It took place at the GIZ offices in Bonn, Germany.

What is the CKB Group?

The Climate Knowledge Brokers (CKB) Group is an emerging alliance of over 40 of the leading global, regional and national 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, and covers the full breadth of climate related themes. The focus is on primarily online initiatives, and those that play an explicit knowledge brokerage role, rather than being simply institutional websites.


The CKB Group was formed in 2011 at a workshop held in Eschborn, Germany, to explore the scope for closer collaboration between online knowledge brokers working in the climate and development sectors. Convened by CDKN, GIZ and PIK-Potsdam, it brought together 21 leading web initiatives. The workshop proved highly successful, demonstrating a keen appetite for closer collaboration and generating a range of ideas on how to make this happen in practice. A second meeting was held in Bonn in May 2012 to take this agenda forward, and a follow-up workshop was held in Washington, in November 2012, hosted by the World Bank.

The 2013 Workshop

The third annual CKB workshop convened on 7-9 June 2013, once again during the middle weekend of the UNFCCC meetings in Bonn. A total of 35 participants from 17 organisations took part, including representatives from 8 initiatives that are new to the CKB Group. As usual the format was highly participative, with James Smith (REEEP) taking on the role of overall facilitator. Amiera Sawas (CDKN) acted as rapporteur and took the lead in drafting this report.

Workshop Objectives

As in previous years, the overall purpose of the workshop was to forge closer collaborative links between knowledge brokers working in the climate and development area. Specific objectives were to:

  • Report back on the collaborative work that has been undertaken over the previous year, and demonstrate how the new shared tools can be adopted by other CKBs.
  • Provide a space to engage with peers to discuss challenges, share ideas and capture lessons learned.
  • Explore options for raising our ambitions and profile as a group, and agree an action plan for the coming year.

Key Outcomes

  • The workshop provided a strong endorsement of the value of the CKB Group, and the benefits from meeting face-to-face at least once a year.
  • The progress update on the seven CKB collaborative projects now coming to fruition provided impressive evidence of what is being achieved and the innovation that has been unlocked through closer joint working.
  • Sharing insights on ‘What are we Learning?’ generated a rich array of responses, including some frank revelations on what has gone wrong as well as what’s gone well.
  • The marketing session provided useful tips on search engine optimisation and online marketing (especially google adwords campaigns), and helped to sharpen thinking on targeting by creating some imagined user personas.
  • The demonstrations of the reegle tagging API and Knowledge Navigator widget on Day 2 were well received and the show of hands afterwards confirmed that many in the room are keen to look seriously at incorporating them into their sites. If these tools are widely adopted across the CKB community, this will be big step forward in putting knowledge brokers on the map and making their content much easier to find.
  • The Knowledge Clinic was once again a resounding success. The four ‘patients’ survived the experience and reported how useful it was getting such a concentrated dose of focused advice from peers. For the ‘doctors’ taking part, it was rewarding, too, providing an inside view of the challenges peers are facing.
  • In the final session we discussed future options for the CKB Group. These ranged from Status Quo-Minus (minus to reflect that, with current project funding coming to an end, activity levels are likely to decline), to a big programme with substantial funding.
  • This showed a strong appetite to be ambitious, but also recognition that we will need to be realistic. Until specific funding to develop the Group is secured, we will need to continue to rely on contributions and in-kind resources of members.
  • As regards priorities for the future, there was a clear desire to do more to capture learning and good practice and provide capacity building support for other CKBs, especially in developing countries.

Next steps

  • Clarifying goals and objectives: the Steering Group was tasked with developing a clearer articulation of what the CKB Group is, as a first step is raising the profile of the Group and developing specific fundraising plans.
  • Fundraising/profile raising: the Steering Group will also follow up on a number of specific leads identified at the workshop where the CKB Group might link up with other initiatives getting underway.
  • Steering Group: three new members agreed to join the Steering Group that coordinates the CKB Group, bringing its membership to 14. This provides a strong core group to share this leadership role.
  • Future meetings: we agreed to continue meeting as a group at least once a year. There were also suggestions to hold regional workshops to reach out to knowledge brokers in developing countries, and to hold a side event at COP 19 in Warsaw. The Steering Group will follow up on these ideas.

Read Geoff Barnard’s advice on how to add value to existing sources of data – Portal Proliferation Syndrome responding to treatment.

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