Background information about Climate Change and Social Learning work

Climate change is an immediate and unprecedented threat to the food security of hundreds of millions of people who depend on small‐scale agriculture for their livelihoods. The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) brings together the world’s best researchers in agricultural science, development research and climate science to identify and address the most important and complex interactions, synergies and tradeoffs between climate change, agriculture and food security. CCAFS also involves farmers, policy makers, donors and other stakeholders, to integrate their knowledge and needs into the tools and approaches that are being developed.

One primary objective of the CCAFS ‘Integration for Decision Making’ Theme (Theme 4) is to explore approaches and methods that enhance knowledge-to-action linkages with a wide range of partners, and assemble data and tools for analysis and planning and thus provide improved frameworks, databases and methods to plan responses to climate change. An essential activity is to develop decision support and communication tools so that policymakers, development partners, researchers and farmers can make decisions with a greater understanding of the interactions between local conditions, national policies and programs, and international development, in the face of multiple drivers of change.

We see communications as a two‐way street: on the one hand, how best to convey complex information and research outputs to different stakeholders at different levels; on the other, how the information needs of different stakeholder groups, their perceptions and management of risk, experiences with and approaches to social learning, etc. can inform the development and appropriate use of decision aids.

Drawing on a review of current climate change communications and social learning approaches, tools and decision aids, we want to identify the main strengths and weaknesses in targeting specific stakeholders, as well as the gaps that could inform a CCAFS strategy to engage in this area. We are interested in different kinds of communication approaches, tools and decision aids for different levels of stakeholders (such as farmers, community groups, local governments, etc.).

The May 2012 workshop was meant to assist CCAFS and our partners to identify potential niches where we can make specific contributions to the development of climate change communications and social learning approaches and tools, and help prioritize potential activities to contribute towards CCAFS output targets over the coming years.