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INSIDE STORY: Lessons from mainstreaming climate change in Namibia

This inside story recounts the lessons learned by the University of Namibia (UNAM) and Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) over seven years of producing knowledge and robust evidence on climate impacts to influence decision-making and implementation of climate action (from 2014-2021).

CDKN understands this process of facilitating knowledge-into-action as knowledge brokering. Knowledge brokers act as the link between producers and users of knowledge, to facilitate the dissemination, exchange, coproduction and use of relevant information for changes in policy and practice.

Key messages include:

  • Alignment with stakeholders’ institutional mandates and priority issues opens the door for obtaining their collaboration and support, and for influencing policy and government action.
  • Being responsive to needs, and looking for and seizing windows of opportunity for influencing policy and practice, is fundamental to impact. However, this requires flexible funders and funds, capacity to analyse the governance landscape, and openness to learn and change course.
  • Knowledge products are just one ingredient for evidence to inform decisions and practices. These materials need to be accompanied by continuous awareness-raising to gain sufficient traction at multiple governance levels, as well as a range of effective, regular activities to engage target actors and assist them to pave the way for action.
  • Those who share and ‘broker’ knowledge need to be dedicated, persistent and savvy; have a vast network of strong relationships; and have good convening power to bring together diverse stakeholders across local, regional and national spheres. Their success may, however, unintentionally also lead to them being overwhelmed and burnt out.
  • Continuous engagement by knowledge brokers with actors in the governance system, and being able to build on previous projects’ achievements, relationships and outputs, is key for longterm impact.

This inside story forms part of the CDKN Knowledge for Change series, which reflects on the common challenges, lessons and successes CDKN and its partners have encountered in facilitating evidence-based decision-making to accelerate climate action. The aim of this work is to better understand how knowledge and evidence on climate change can inform and translate into policy and implementation. This reflection process has investigated different tools and approaches for enhancing the use of knowledge in decision-making, the barriers encountered in facilitating change, and lessons useful for others who navigate similar challenges.

Download the inside story here.

Photo: Women from the Oshana region of Namibia harvesting marula fruit. Courtesy of UNAM and CDKN.

For more information or for help using the one of our toolkits, please contact cdkn@southsouthnorth.org