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REPORT: Turning information into knowledge and action for climate change

Sigmund Kluckner and Maria van Veldhuizen of REEEP highlight the activities of the Climate Knowledge Brokers Group – with contributions by Mairi Dupar of CDKN.

Since 2011, the Climate Knowledge Brokers (CKB) Group has grown and flourished as the go-to place for professionals to find peer support on managing climate information. A new report launched today celebrates the achievements of this pioneering Group: Turning information into knowledge and action for climate change (download, right).

The CKB Group started as a gathering of 21 climate change web managers six years ago. They identified a big problem and an equally important opportunity: As the warming of the earth accelerates, the window of opportunity to take action and avoid catastrophic climate change is shrinking. Quick, decisive action on climate change has never been more urgently needed. This action should be based on sound understanding of the causes and impacts of climate change, as well as the options available for mitigation and adaptation.

People need trusted information about climate change in order to make sound decisions. They also need information that is highly relevant to their situation, and they need to be able to filter out that trusted, relevant knowledge from the ‘sea’ of information that is now available.

The CKB Group recognised that intermediary people and organisations who filter, tailor and synthesise climate information – while preserving its scientific accuracy – play a critical role in supporting decision-makers. Although they work in many different contexts, these ‘climate knowledge brokers’ are united by a shared vision: a vision of a world in which people make climate-sensitive decisions fully informed by the best available climate knowledge.

The CKB Group is now a network of around 400 climate knowledge brokers in 60 countries, working for over 200 different organisations, including governments, international organisations, universities, small NGOs and the media.

The CKB Group offers climate knowledge brokers support in doing their job well, through a multitude of channels and in different formats, both on- and offline. Examples include the popular peer-exchange ‘climate knowledge sharing clinics’, held during workshops, and publications like introductory videos and books, which were developed by the CKB and are hosted on its website: www.climateknowledgebrokers.net

Since its establishment, CKB has connected climate knowledge brokers, supported their initiatives, and led the discussion about how to do this work better. Collaboration is at the core of everything CKB does – and it will continue to engage with users of climate knowledge, with current and future supporters of climate knowledge activities, and brokers worldwide.

“The Climate Knowledge Brokers group was the first opportunity for me to meet with people working in the same space doing similar work,” said Claire Mathieson, Knowledge Networks Manager, Africa, CDKN. “The platform provided an excellent learning opportunity for me on a professional level, and provided leverage for my projects thanks to seeing what similar initiatives were out there. The group has helped me make connections allowing for collaborative work efforts, reducing potential costs and time.”

In 2014, the CKB Coordination Hub was established at the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) in Vienna, Austria. The Hub provides a central contact point for the group, and has organised events, joint projects and other activities with and for climate knowledge brokers all over the world.

Over the last three years, CKB Coordination Hub has organised 12 events to enable face-to-face networking and peer learning among over 450 participants. During the same period, more than 600 people joined webinars and other online capacity building and discussion events offered by CKB.

Florian Bauer, COO and Director of Open Knowledge, REEEP, said: “When we first met in 2011, it immediately became clear that a group like the Climate Knowledge Brokers would have enormous potential to improve the way people and organisations deal with the ever growing body of climate knowledge that is out there. Collaboration, innovation and personal exchange play a crucial part in driving this change. Working with such an engaged group of professionals has been highly rewarding, seeing the network evolve and tech-nologies like the Climate Tagger taken up and extended throughout the community. It has been an honour to host the coordination hub, and we are proud to have played such an important role in bringing this community closer together.”

The Climate Knowledge Brokers Manifesto, published in 2015, outlines the roles of climate knowledge brokers and the challenges they face, sets out CKB’s mission and vision and calls for joint action to meet the enormous and still rapidly growing demand for relevant climate knowedge. The Manifesto was developed as a collaborative project within the CKB network, and following its publication received overwhelming support, with numerous news outlets covering its launch.

Geoff Barnard, Senior Strategic Advisor to CDKN and one of the CKB Group’s co-founders, reflected: “The Group has matured and ‘come of age’ – it’s no longer a hypothesis, it’s a movement! [CKB] has put climate knowledge brokering on the map – especially since the publication of the Manifesto. This has been important personally and professionally for the people involved, who had previously felt quite isolated in their roles, as well as substantively – in giving CKB work a definition and a name and bringing credibility to this field of work. “