Second IFRC side-event at COP 19 in Warsaw: the all-weekend ‘Development and Climate Days’
16 November 2013
The second of two IFRC side-events at the 2013 UN climate talks in Warsaw – the popular Development and Climate Days (“D&C Days”) – got underway today at the Polonia Palace Hotel and runs through the weekend.
D&C Days, a fixture at COP meetings for more than a decade, was kicking off Saturday with an expert-panel discussion, a mind-opening game session, a “world café” and more – all co-facilitated by the Climate Centre and the Global Environment Facility.
Sunday’s session, co-hosted with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) which originated D&C Days 11 years ago at COP 8 in Delhi, will focus on game-based approaches for action on “climate-change education, learning and capacity building”.
The team in Warsaw will run at least ten of some 45 different educational games which the Climate Centre and its partners have developed since 2011, covering a wide range of humanitarian decision-making challenges. (And there's a special climate change crossword for the coffee breaks.)
“Games are a fun but serious way of helping humanity tackle a changing climate in which complexities, volatilities and uncertainties could be hallmarks of the ‘new normal’,” says Dr Pablo Suarez, the Climate Centre’s Associate Director for Research and Innovation, and a pioneer of the use of decision-making games in the humanitarian sector.
“As the climate continues to change, our colleagues have more and more work,” said Dr Suarez, in an interview in Warsaw with RTCC (Climate Change TV). “There’s just no capacity in the humanitarian sector to deal with all the problems that are happening.
“Our colleagues from the Philippine Red Cross, who were supposed to be here, of course, need to be dealing with the consequences of an unprecedented typhoon.
“And this is consistent with what science tells us: we should expect more frequent, more intense, more bizarre extreme events.”
The Climate Centre believes that participatory games offer advantages over more linear, traditional forms of teaching and learning that cast decision-makers and stakeholders as, at best, passive onlookers.
In games, players share knowledge within the risk-management framework: the game creates ways to “inhabit problems and context and assess risks, options and actions,” Dr Suarez explains.
The Climate Centre’s Gender and Climate Game recently won the best offline promotion category in the CDKN awards for “the most impressive and influential way of communicating research results and climate-compatible development,” according to the original call for nominations.
CDKN – the London-based Climate and Development Knowledge Network, who are providing daily updates from COP 19 – have been an important supporter of games work, funded by the British and Dutch development ministries.
The awards – which also included categories for best documentary film, best online promotion, most creative communications “on a shoestring budget”, and most influential piece of research – were intended to get people “thinking about the communications options for CDKN-supported research and other materials.”
“What’s the art of the possible? How does good research and communication overcome cost barriers? What has the ‘wow’ factor? And are the ‘wow’ pieces of communication the ones that actually bring about change?”
Dr Suarez said: “The default approach in training of all kinds tends to be a sequence of PowerPoints followed by questions and answers, but it’s all in one direction and most people are passive.
“With participatory methods like games, everyone’s brainpower is at work. You get more intensity, more connection, more interaction – just what we need to meet the challenges being addressed at this COP.
“And just what you get at D&C Days.”
Over the years, D&C Days – initiated by the IIED’s Saleemul Huq and partners – have brought together policy-makers, scientists and development practitioners to debate the central theme of climate change adaptation.
In 2002, this was only marginal to the overall climate negotiations, but has since become a key issue – not only in the UNFCCC itself but also in plans, policies and programmes worldwide.
The weekend event at COP 19 is now over-subscribed and registration closed at the end of the week, but anyone interested in advised to come along anyway and there may be space for unregistered participants.
The first of the two IFRC side-events at COP 19 was held on Thursday in the Cracow Room at the National Stadium venue in Warsaw: a seminar entitled Linking Adaptation and Mitigation to Address Multiple Risks was co-hosted with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
A new Climate Centre photogallery of that side-event is also available.
D&C Days participants engage in Saturday morning ice-breaker on how to expect surprises. (Photo: Fleur Monasso/Climate Centre)