Experts Discuss How to Transform Information into Knowledge and Climate Action

Transform Information into Knowledge and Climate Action20 November 2013: The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) organized a Climate Knowledge Brokers (CKB) Group side event on transforming information into knowledge and climate action. Chaired by Geoff Barnard, Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), the event focused on information technology (IT) tools to help organize and manage data in order to increase knowledge and action on climate change. Barnard detailed the information explosion on the internet and the urgency of learning how to turn knowledge into action.

Martin Hiller, Director General, REEEP, opened the interactive session with the suggestion that we are "lost in an ocean of information." He explained that information is much like salt: it is useless if locked in a silo but useful as an active ingredient. Florian Bauer, REEEP, outlined how a document-tagging tool called “reegle API” is turning information into knowledge by adding metadata and breaking down silos.

Anne Hammill, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), reported results from preliminary investigations aimed to better understand information users. She highlighted, inter alia: users tend to be research oriented; the importance of curating content on intermediary platforms; platforms do not replace people and the role of offline functions; and the reality of the digital divide.

Fatema Rajabali, IDS, Eldis, presented the Knowledge Navigator, a tool developed in collaboration with regional organizations and experts to support climate change professionals to access the right platforms, “linking people to the issues that connect us all.”

Jane Ebinger, World Bank, spoke about the Platform for Climate-Smart Planning as a tool to deliver correct data to all stakeholders.

In addition to hearing feedback from information users and providers in the audience, discussions covered topics, including: harmonizing various knowledge broker platforms; promoting knowledge sharing on platforms; balancing tool development by crowdsourcing updated adapted tools; addressing off-line users; and improving engagement with negotiators. [IISD RS ENBOTS coverage]