The KE4CAP Synthesis Report: Bringing together learning from across KE4CAP's activities

Submitted by Julia Barrott | published 23rd Aug 2021 | last updated 27th Jan 2022
KE4CAP Synthesis Report

Introduction

The final KE4CAP Synthesis Report brings together a wealth of knowledge contributed by a global network of CAPs convened under the KE4CAP project.

This includes knowledge shared via a series of topic-focused events, several challenge-focused events (led by national partners in Australia, Canada, and Japan) and a final Synthesis Workshop (co-delivered with Climate-ADAPT). 

The KE4CAP Synthesis Report is available to download to the right.

 

 

Executive Summary

Global recognition of the need to enhance climate change adaptation is growing. The increasingly evident ramifications of climate change – severe floods, prolonged droughts, and the spread of wildfires, for example – have made the need for effective adaptation evident to policymakers and the general public.

In the face of this, climate adaptation platforms (CAPs) have a vital role to play. Such platforms provide access to relevant, high-quality information that is essential for policymakers and practitioners to identify and implement actions to adapt to changes that are here and those changes that are on the horizon. These platforms can and do support the development of national and transnational plans and strategies. They promote informed decision-making and meaningful climate action.

Against this backdrop, the Stepping-Up Knowledge Exchange between Climate Adaptation Platforms (KE4CAP) project [1] aimed to explore ways to enhance these critical platforms. The project sought to build capacity, to share lessons learned, and to explore challenges and various approaches that hold promise for such platforms so they could play a more effective role in the adaptation agenda.

To this end, the project initiated and facilitated a series of knowledge-exchange activities between 30 CAPs from around the world and at various stages of development. KE4CAP for the first time brought together a cadre of over 200 international CAP developers and operators and specialists from Europe and from other parts of the world. The aim was to provide those working on such platforms with mutual support – along with insights, ideas, and knowhow to help meet current and emerging challenges, and to deliver the best support possible for their users.

This report synthesizes the undertakings and outcomes of the KE4CAP project. It provides a brief introduction to the project’s mission, an overview of role of CAPs in supporting policy and practice, and information about the approaches that KE4CAP took through its events, activities and discussions. The document provides insights into the current state of development of such platforms and into the depth of relevant experience and innovation among CAPs. It incorporates participants’ key messages on current practices, selected innovations, and shared challenges.

During the life of the project (November 2019 through January 2022), KE4CAP facilitated a series of knowledge-exchange initiatives co-designed by core KE4CAP team, members of the KE4CAP Consultative Group, and the participating platforms. The initiatives were designed to advance cooperation and learning, to share insights, and to promote the role and value of CAPs. The resulting international CAP community of practice that grew out of the KE4CAP project thus facilitated peer-to-peer networking, and advanced collaboration to support continuous learning and improvement. Components of the initiative included:

  • Three events (co-hosted by platforms in Australia, Canada and Japan) that focused on specific challenges platforms face.
  • Five topic-focused workshops that focused on sharing lessons learned and exploring topics in more depth.
  • A survey of project participants about good practices and innovations.
  • Multi-lateral exchanges aimed at informing and engaging with the broader international community.
  • A final synthesis workshop that brought the results of the project together and explored future directions.

Early on in the project, KE4CAP adopted a topic-based approach. This agreed set of overarching topics proved helpful in informing both individual CAP journeys and the collaborative KE4CAP pathway. The topics provided an effective framework for capturing learning and for focusing future activities on critical issues and challenges. Identified by the community of participants, these 12 topics reflect key issues platforms face. Listed in the figure these topics, while not comprehensive, together capture major areas of interest and concern.

The KE4CAP project identified challenges, many of them cross cutting in nature, that the platforms confront, and the associated implications for both future knowledge exchange across the community and for the platforms’ use as a source of information for policymaking. The conclusions outlined in this report build on outcomes from the KE4CAP experience to provide insights on the value of knowledge exchange. The report outlines a vision for ongoing collaboration and suggests how platforms could evolve from inspiring and informing climate adaptation to supporting much broader climate action.

Overall, the KE4CAP project demonstrated and reinforced the value of knowledge exchange by creating and developing the following:

  • A highly engaged, enthusiastic, ambitious and collaborative community of practice of CAP developers and operators around the world.
  • A network of platforms that cooperate, work and learn as peers and partners to address challenges and realize opportunities to improve the effective provision of knowledge, information and evidence to support adaptation.
  • A ‘safe space’ for network members to interact, learn from, and collaborate with each other – thereby supporting deeper and honest reflection and sharing amongst participants, and broader engagement from CAPs from across geographies and at all stages of development.
  • A shared repository of information and practices including explanations of how platforms are informing and supporting climate adaptation strategies, and platform profiles detailing individual platforms’ aims, funding structure, and management.

CAPs are increasingly expected to keep pace with the growing and evolving needs of their users and the ever-expanding wealth of knowledge, data and evidence on related subjects. Keeping up to date with user needs will require widening the focus to include issues such as well-being, climate risk, capacity building, equality and justice, and place-based and systemic development. To respond effectively, the KE4CAP community identified several operational areas CAPs should consider. These are:

  • The role and design of platforms should be consistent with the ongoing drive towards climate action and development agendas both nationally and internationally. Shifting agendas have implications for platform content and design. Platforms themselves need to adapt – by taking into account the increased emphasis on solutions; growing interest in monitoring, reporting, and evaluation of actions taken; and greater interest in finding approaches to maximize the benefits that flow from the proliferation of knowledge providers and platforms.
  • Technical capacity will need to grow to deliver the data and information consistent with evolving user requirements and capabilities, and with advances in science and communication. New innovations, such as interactive and immersive technologies, can be incorporated to enhance the accessibility of information, and to provide relevant and usable tools, maps, infographics and capacity-building experiences for users. Community knowledge-exchange activities are particularly useful when piloting and demonstrating such innovations.
  • Business models must evolve to move away from project-based grants, and towards sustainable funding that can achieve this evolving agenda.  A well-articulated value statement is essential to achieving such funding. Moreover, platforms should demonstrate their impact and added value if they are to continuously prove their relevance among the myriad knowledge providers and platforms out there. This means documenting the achievements of the platforms, particularly in building capacity, and in informing and supporting the delivery of tangible actions.

The KE4CAP project successfully demonstrates the benefits and value of facilitated coordination and knowledge exchange among those developing and operating CAPs. Indeed, the project led to an expressed interest within the community for the creation of a sustained knowledge-exchange initiative that builds on the KE4CAP experience and sets the stage for greater impact. Participants have expressed a desire to see an ongoing coordinated effort that serves as:

  • A knowledge-exchange driver that provides a forum to share information and experience among CAPs and engages and works with them at different stages in their development.
  • An agenda setter that serves as an intellectual centre that can shape agendas by developing and making information available through the publication of guiding principles, commentaries, briefings and research papers.
  • An enabler of collaboration and coordination that provides the brokering experience and network connections to initiate, facilitate and accelerate the exchange of knowledge, research and innovation.
  • An innovation booster that advances the emergence of new knowledge and research on CAPs as innovators to support and inspire society to act, and to make experiences and insights widely available.

The platforms that participated in the KE4CAP project see these options as being complementary; at the same time, the role of serving as a knowledge-exchange driver, is the foundational one that provides the basis for the other roles.

In a little over two years, the KE4CAP project has established and cultivated an enthusiastic and engaged community of practice with members representing platforms from across Europe and around the world. This community continues to work together to exchange information and expertise of value to inform ongoing development of platforms.

In the wake of the project, members of this new KE4CAP community have expressed considerable interest in carrying on with an appropriately designed and supported follow-up initiative. They are keen to continue working together to share innovations and tools, explore challenge and otherwise cooperate. In the absence of such an initiative, there are widespread concerns that the benefits and progress made today through KE4CAP will be lost. The challenge now is for this community to communicate this message and to work together with potential funding agencies to further develop a suitable approach focusing on realizing and enhancing benefits to the CAP community and to those users whose work it informs and supports – for the benefit of all.

 

Topic linkages map

This map provides an overview of the topics covered in KE4CAP and how, based on learning through KE4CAP activities and input from the numerous platform teams engaged with KE4CAP, they are linked to one another. Together, these topics aim to provide a blueprint for the development of an effective climate adaptation knowledge platform.