Planting the Knowledge Seed- Adapting to Climate Change Using ICTs

“Planting the Knowledge Seed- Adapting to Climate Change through ICTs” invites you to think outside the box. It takes you on a journey to address climate justice through exploring the practical linkages between climate change, access to and sharing of information and knowledge, communication for development and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in general.

More specifically, it considers how everyday information and communication tools such as radios, mobile phones, personal computers, the internet and interactive media can help reduce the risks of climate change faced by the most vulnerable segments of the global village through providing access to and the sharing of timely information and critical knowledge. The target audience of this publication are not experts on ICTs or climate change, but rather development practitioners and policy makers overall: those who will be faced with the need to interpret the demands of climate change, and apply these to their work in the context of the possibilities afforded by ICTs.

More specifically, the publication aims to:

  • Provide an overview of linking the strategic use of ICTs to climate change
  • Summarise the discussions and conclusions of the BCO Learning Day on ICTs and Climate Change held in December 2008 in Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Demonstrate innovative applications through concrete project examples
  • Start a dialogue and stimulate a debate about the added value and applicability of ICTs in climate change programmes.

Why is this relevant? Consider the following key points ICTs and climate change:

  • Climate change is not a new development phenomenon but amplifies and magnifies existing development challenges, hindering efforts to reduce suffering and alleviate poverty.
  • Climate change is a social justice issue. The most vulnerable are the least responsible for its causes, but will be most affected while being least informed about the impacts on their livelihoods and generally excluded from policy discourses.
  • Strategically integrated ICTs, such as community radios, mobile phones, knowledge centres and interactive media, are enabling tools that help to reduce climate change vulnerability and risk, while including the voices of those most affected for political advocacy.
  • ICTs contribute tangibly to climate change mitigation/adaptation strategies through (a) providing access to relevant information, raising awareness at the grassroots level, and (b) facilitating learning and practical knowledge sharing at the community level, while (c) empowering the poor and marginalised to raise their voice for political accountability and concrete action.
  • Current mainstreaming approaches that integrate ICTs as a strategic tool into development programmes (e.g. education, health, governance) can be directly applied to climate change strategies.
  • A multi-stakeholder approach is central to ICT climate change mitigation and adaptation interventions.
  • There is a need for systematic awareness raising and holistic capacity development among all development stakeholders on how to integrate and utilise ICTs in climate change