Engagement and communication key to address climate challenges

Exploring ways to communicate complex issues across different stakeholder groups was a common theme of the speakers in the concluding session.

Here, Ishmael Sunga (SACAU), Chris Addison (Euforic) and Oumy Ndiaye (CTA) shared their conclusions from the 4th Brussels Development Briefing. They touched on the lack of participation of local farmers, the importance of information, knowledge and communication strategies and the need for adaptation at the local level.

Mr. Sunga criticized the way that farmer opinions are not taken on board in policy discussions. Information has to be re-packaged to transport it from policy to local farmer level. “How to break down the abstract discussion into something easy to digest?”, he asked. As a result of the lack of understanding, knowledge and appreciation on the current developments, farmers do not have the chance to properly participate in the discussions and decisions. Biofuels and climate change are two examples of crucial decision-making processes where the farmers arrived too late to the discussions.

Mr. Addison emphasized the importance of information, knowledge and communication approaches to tackle climate change. The conclusions from the Brussels Development Briefings are also brought to a broader audience with websites, videos, newsfeeds, and presentations. The high number of views of the various stories show that the availability of such information is an excellent way to get to people and to actively involve them in the discussions.

For Mrs. Ndiaye [play video interview], the main messages were the following: First, adaptation is still possible, and it is possible at low cost. Second, adaptation must be reached at the local level, which is why awareness has to be raised among local policy makers. To reach these local policy makers, the information has to be brief and relevant. Moreover, communication tools, such as video or radio at the local level are needed to get the message across.

See more from the 13 February briefing.

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