Topic 6: Retaining relevance of CAPs in a fast-moving world

Submitted by Robin Hocquet | published 29th Aug 2021 | last updated 13th Sep 2021

Background: The KE4CAP Synthesis Report

This topic page forms a chapter of the KE4CAP Synthesis Report, which brings together learning from across KE4CAP's activities, including five virtual knowledge exchange events, three bilateral knowledge exchange event series, and the KE4CAP Survey (see Further Resources for links to relevant pages). The KE4CAP project is providing a global forum for developers and operators of climate adaptation knowledge platforms (CAPs) to come together to share knowledge and best practices, and to work together to address common and emerging challenges.

This early summary (September 2021) aims to provide food for thought for the KE4CAP Synthesis Workshop and will be followed by a more detailed and further illustrated synthesis report (and further developed topic pages) in December 2021.

Introduction: Retaining relevance

This topic focusses on sharing approaches being used, and challenges being experienced, by CAPs as they work to meet rapidly evolving user needs within an ever-changing world in terms of technology, data availability, policy requirements and knowledge provision. Retaining relevance is a key task for CAPs as users progress through their adaptation journeys from planning to development, implementation and monitoring of adaptation actions. CAPs must be sufficiently agile to be able to evolve in line with the needs of both existing and new users and in the context of evolving user capacity, increasing amounts of adaptation information and data, and advances in technology.

Lessons Learnt

Current practices

  • Maintaining users’ willingness to engage. Maintaining trust is important. CAPs are engaging with users on an ongoing basis and putting in place processes for regularly reviewing and updating of platform content and functionality to ensure that users continue to have confidence in the products.
  • Understand evolving user requirements. Platforms are prioritising engagement with users and investment in training and capacity building helping users to understand and employ the information and tools available on the platform to meet their own specific requirements
  • Reviewing content and functionality. Systematic approaches, often involving expert evaluation panels and user feedback processes, are being adopted based on the changing validity of information. Users are increasingly expecting the use of latest industry-standard IT and interfaces to ensure they can find and access information easily.

Selected innovations

Climateguide.fi (Finland) is being redeveloped to provide a more flexible and efficient platform. All content has been systematically evaluated based on expert assessment, and feedback from users and providers is used to prioritize actions, including those needed to support future improvements.

Climate Ireland. Hosted a workshop for representatives from a range of CAPs and a user group consisting of local and sectoral adaptation practitioners. The user group identified their expectations from a CAP in terms of functionality, data and tools. These were then assessed against the information provided by each participating platform, and areas of improvement identified.

CAPA (Alps). The Alpine transnational portal has installed an online editing tool to allow users to share their own resources as they become available. A set of criteria defining what is useful for the platform and a guide are available, and a quality assurance process is implemented by experts prior to publication.

Shared challenges

  • Resources are often limited and there remains a tension between the increasing pace of information generation and the need to provide content that remains up-to-date and relevant and continues to meet the needs of users.
  • Given the diversity of users and their needs, consistency across all aspects of the platform is important, but can be difficult to maintain as a platform evolves and elements are updated.
  • Quality control is growing in complexity with the increasing use of interactive tools, greater integration across platforms, and the introduction of innovative ways of allowing platform users to contribute directly to information development.