4.4. Sharing new forms of communication

This chapter pinpoints the importance of increased institutional exchange to encourage the various stakeholders to interact and exchange knowledge. Though communication is an essential part of cooperation and precondition to successful collaboration (see 4.3), we separated this specific aspect due to its more abstract and general character. Moreover, we introduced the focus on creating a basis for common understanding to highlight the relevance for institutional actors in the CCA/DRR nexus, because developing a ‘shared language’ or standardised methods and indicators are repeatedly described as a vital challenges to integrated CCA and DRR approaches (see section 5.4).

4.4.1 Fostering dialogue and learning on monitoring, reporting and evaluation

In order to foster such dialogue and learning on CCA, DRR and sustainable development policies and frameworks, a better coordination of the relevant actions and processes, a more effective use of resources and a stronger collaboration among actors operating in the different domains are needed.

Markus Leitner, EAA and Eleni Karali, CMCC

MRE in this instance means the need to ensure that CCA and DRR initiatives, programmes, plans and actions are effective and efficient in the long-term. Diverse national and sub-national actors are interested in the questions: are we doing things right and are we doing the right things?

  • Monitoring refers to tracking the performance of activities undertaken to increase adaptation and reduce climate-related risks. In addition, changes in impacts due to the changing climate or socioeconomic development can be monitored.
  • Evaluation can be seen as determining whether planned outputs and outcomes from certain adaptation or risk reduction strategies, plans, programmes or actions have been achieved.
  • Reporting refers to recording the state of knowledge about monitoring and evaluation of adaptation and risk reduction efforts. This can be based on international agreements, and national or international reporting requirements.

The number of countries adopting CCA, DRR and SDG policies to address the challenges of climate change and reduce climate related risks and hazards has grown. As a result, countries’ interest in developing processes and frameworks to track policy implementation progress they make in a systematic way (for example, see recommendation 4.5.2) and assess their impacts has been steadily growing, too. Although important progress has been achieved lately, experience in this area is still considered limited and as a result certain barriers surface, such as the challenges with addressing uncertainty and long timeframes, establishing suitable baselines and measurable targets and objectives, as well as data and resource constraints.

MRE plays a crucial role in supporting iterative adaptation processes and increased resilience, and as more countries move to implementing national adaptation strategies and plans, there is an increasing demand for sharing lessons learnt on how progress can be measured in a meaningful way. Collaboration for MRE in the light of climate-related risks might be time- and resource-consuming at the very beginning and it will take time to generate trust and relationships between the actors from diverse institutions. Nevertheless, it will pay off in the longer term due to synergies in reporting requirements, bundling of information and having an overview of actors, responsibilities, mandates, information and knowledge.


Establishing a good understanding of the current MRE approaches and indicators and criteria used that support the domains of CCA, DRR and SDG, and communicating this information to actors involved is a starting point. As a next step, it is useful to:

  1. i) Develop an explicit description of the monitoring and / or evaluation processes and reporting requirements described in the different policies or frameworks and analyse the relevant policy documents;
  2. ii) Investigate the relevance of processes, requirements and tools for all relevant CCA, DRR and SDG agreements and frameworks and keep in mind the iterative nature of adaptation indicator development, as well as screening for developed products describing potential synergies or complementarities.

iii) Communicate the identified information to actors involved in these processes.

Actors should be encouraged to learn from others within their country – engage with practitioners, policymakers, private sector and scientists working in this field – but also from experiences of other countries through, for example, knowledge sharing events.

MRE needs to be connected at different levels of implementation of CCA and DRR policies and action – as a result the objectives of MRE and the relevance of different indicators vary across different levels of governance.


Policymakers and practitioners who are involved in the development, coordination and implementation of MRE processes of CCA, DRR and Agenda 2030 (SDG), and other policies / agreements / frameworks at national, sub-national and EU level. The involvement of researchers and scientists with a background and working experience in the field of MRE and related indicators is essential. Actors holding different relevant data and information such as national statistics or EuroStat.

4.4.2 Stories and strategic narratives for joint understanding and collaboration between CCA and DRR to foster preparedness and prevention

Develop new stories and strategic narratives for joint understanding, collaboration and improved resilience actions among CCA and DRR communities.

Ingrid Coninx, Wageningen University and Research, Gabriela Michalek, UFZ and Julia Bentz, FCiências.ID

Every climate and disaster event is experienced differently. Based on people´s past experiences, their knowledge, values and worldviews, they have different ideas and perceptions about how to deal with extreme events.

The diversity of ideas and perceptions may hamper communication and can result in conflict, frustration and even inertia because actors fail to develop a joint plan on how to prepare, prevent and recover from extreme events.

Stories can help to deal with the diversity of voices and perceptions. Stories are a spoken or written account of connected events that can move people’s emotions and imagination, and may influence people’s behaviour. When a story is constructed with a specific purpose in mind, for example, fostering preparedness action, we call it a strategic narrative. Joint development of new stories together with CCA and DRR community members such as policymakers, citizens, academics and businesses, create the opportunity to weave a common thread of understanding of shared values, and induce joint action. Stories are helpful when people have different ideas and perceptions, and are a way to overcome the differences and unite people to take collaborative action.

The added value of stories is their potential to overcome communication and collaboration barriers that cannot be handled by “rational means” such as traditional science-based information and data. Often the information about future climate-related impacts and recommended solutions is available, and the necessary resources can be obtained, but nothing or little is actually done with the information. Well-constructed strategic narratives can help to overcome that deadlock by creating a momentum for joint action. Stories are easy to understand and can be “customised” to appeal to different kinds of people from various sectors or social groups. As a result, they can help to connect and encourage collaboration when people find common ground in these stories. The power of stories is that they are not only a way to communicate and understand reality, they can also deeply touch or move people, and as a result inspire collective and transformational action.

The limitation of stories and strategic narratives is that their success depends heavily on the value orientations of the people or target groups that hear the story. Values are often hidden and difficult to change in the short-term. When the story values are not in line with the audience value orientations, the impact on behavioural change will be hindered or limited.


Stories can be used to (1) inform people, to (2) trigger action and/or to (3) foster collaboration. Successful stories that deeply affect behaviour in the scope of climate change and disaster risk management are designed by considering certain sociological and psychological mechanisms as well as respective linguistic constructs.


Stories and strategic narratives are mainly useful for national and local policy officers when engaging other stakeholders in the policymaking process to combat climate-related risks. Stories and strategic narratives can also be useful for actors aiming to foster preparedness to improve resilience, such as local emergency planners, city mayors, and local politicians. Academics and consultants can make use of stories too in order to share new findings with politicians and citizens in an understandable way. Last, but not least, stories and narratives can be used by NGOs and citizens who wish to draw attention to the problem of climate-related extremes and mobilise concrete actions, for example, in their own local communities.

4.4.3 Mainstreaming approaches through education

Learning within an institution is critical if it is to achieve its operational goals. A responsive approach to educational needs that recognises the changing organisational landscape will ensure greater efficiency and maximise resources.

Peter Walton (UKCIP, University of Oxford)

Education manifests itself in a number of ways, including formal and informal, whilst learning can be considered as either deep or shallow. Organisations should be aware that there is no one approach that they should consider when developing learning opportunities to strengthen their operations, but rather to reflect on the overall aims of the organisations, the needs of the staff, and the resources available to them.

As with stakeholder engagement, combining learning opportunities that addresses both the DRR and CCA communities allows each to better understand where the synergies exist and how they can be applied to their own contexts. A well-constructed learning opportunity enables each sector to test new ideas, processes and understanding from their own perspective but also being able to apply knowledge from a broader context.

Working definitions of institutional learning for the purposes of this report can be seen as:

Formal and informal learning describes the extent to which the learning takes place in a structured environment. For example, formal learning can be seen as taking place in a classroom, lecture theatre or online learning platform. Whilst informal learning can occur in the classroom, it is usually distinguished as taking place outside of a structured educational setting, for example, talking to a friend, a personal experience, or listening to a radio broadcast. When considering the learning process, it is important to develop deep understanding of the issue rather than shallow. Deep understanding allows individuals not only to retain the knowledge, but creates the ability to synthesise it with other knowledge, and apply it to new situations and contexts.

Informal knowledge management is important, as institutional ‘memory’ is often poor, short-lived, and siloed within individual departments. Measures need to be adopted to formally record ‘knowledge’ developed that can then be disseminated efficiently to all staff, allowing them to add to it, so building comprehensive learning. For organisations operating in a defined space the dissemination is easier than those that operate across a number of sites, including in the field. This latter group needs to consider innovative ways to facilitate communication, utilising technology where appropriate. This could include emails, newsletters, mailing lists and intranets. Technology is a valuable tool for creating and maintaining communities of practice within a sector (either DRR/CCA) or for facilitating communities across sectors.

Formal training opportunities within an organisation strengthen their internal knowledge capacity, building on their own identified needs and gaps in understanding. This, is turn, allows them to inform their own training materials. However, formal training does not have to be restricted within an organisation but can be developed across sectors engaging individuals from different institutions. Bringing together communities of practice to formally share knowledge, ideas, and approaches to CCA and DRR helps organisations to view problems from a different perspective, as well as challenging their own preconceived ideas about how to conduct resilience-building.

There are a number of challenges involved in creating an internal development strategy that need to be understood and overcome. The use of language in a European situation is always going to be a possible limitation, but also in the way that different sectors use concepts and ideas such as ‘risk’ and ‘uncertainty’. There is a challenge in carrying out the initial training needs assessment where an organisation may not be aware of the learning opportunities to be gained from engaging with either the DRR or the CCA sector. A training assessment by an external agency can begin to identify some of these areas but with a broad geographic spread this process can be slow.


Informal learning can be as beneficial as formal training in strengthening an institution’s capacity within CCA and DRR.


Regional councils in the UK are responsible for local development and implementation of local planning regulations, as well as working with larger agencies on appropriate strategies on nationally identified targets.