Communicating and engaging with people about climate change is a vital skill. The Paris Agreement calls on countries to “implement…relevant aspects of education, training and public awareness”and many institutions are now looking to build their capacity in this area. CDKN’s newly-launched Communicating climate change: A practitioner’s guide supports professionals in all disciplines with this task.

The guide, drawn from CDKN’s experiences in certain parts of the world, is for anyone who aims to explain to work colleagues, business or political leaders, or the general public how climate change affects them. It is for anyone who is trying to persuade and engage people in designing and implementing climate change solutions.

The frameworks, tools and approaches presented in the guide are useful for:

  • Consulting with stakeholders about the effects of climate change in an area, and helping people understand the broader scientific context for their everyday, lived experiences.
  • Framing climate risks for different interest groups, to make the issues as relevant and compelling as possible, and to accelerate action.
  • Empowering socially marginalised groups, including women and girls, to ensure that their voices are heard. This could be through the use of information and communication technologies, or through more traditional communications and performance forms.
  • Using data visualisations and mapping techniques to either make the case for climate action up front, or as a way of compiling and presenting climate hazards, risks, management options and new knowledge and learning gathered during a project.
  • Exploring citizen journalism and citizen science techniques to crowd-source information and also to help monitor the effectiveness of adaptation measures (such as flood or fire control).
  • Marrying online communications effectively with offline engagements for maximum impact.
  • Being more creative about trying different types of communications and engagements to work with different audiences (e.g., such as exploring when a game or piece of theatre could work for policy officials or other specific audiences).

The guide contains tips and case studies drawn from CDKN’s experience in South Asia and Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean. It is produced by practitioners and for practitioners. Specifically, it has been compiled by CDKN’s Knowledge Management and Communications staff based on their work in dozens of low- and middle-income countries from 2010-2018.

Building on Readers’ Feedback

The guide was initially launched at COP24 in Katowice, Poland, with a call for stories and feedback from readers. As a result of wide consultations, the guide has been fully reformatted and updated for 2019. It now includes many new case studies – including experiences in using performance art and high school competitions to engage new audiences around climate change solutions. The CDKN team is especially pleased to have teamed up with researchers and communications officers from the Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA) and Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED) to capture some of their experiences.

Download the guide: Communicating climate change – A practitioner’s guide.


Photo: Red Cross