Session Description - Resilient Cities 2015


Session Description - Resilient Cities 2015
Communicating resilience: Building
community awareness and inspiring action
Date: Tuesday, 9 June 2015
Time: 14:30-16:00
Rooms: S01-02
ICLEI contact: Evgenia Mitroliou
Organized by: ICLEI
Local governments, climate change experts and practitioners are often faced with the challenge of
effectively communicating the emerging impacts of climate change and thus achieving community
support and engagement in climate resilient actions. The complexity and variability of climate
projections and their implications, as well as the diverse range of urban resilience strategies, are often
framed in terms that are difficult for the general public to understand. There is therefore need for
communication strategies that address communities in a “language” they understand, use interactive
methods and even promote international exposure for local climate adaptation actions to appeal to a
variety of stakeholders.
The session opened with an interactive presentation demonstrating the power of “storytelling”, as an
effective means for communicating complex resilience concepts and practice and ultimately catalyzing
positive change in society. Participants learned how storytelling that incorporates multi-media,
narratives and art can successfully engage people around otherwise complex concepts and courses of
action to build urban resilience. Following that, a presentation introduced a new web-based tool that
uses crowdsourcing as an innovative, interactive tool to build awareness, enhance knowledge and
advance adaptation planning policies. The next presentation demonstrated effective examples of
climate risk and resilience communication campaigns that use ICTs and highlight the reasons why they
were successful. The presenter concluded by explaining the importance of combining a rigorous
campaign with an enabling public sphere. Lastly, the city of Essen presented their unique strategy of
communicating climate change adaptation to their citizens and peer cities through their application for
the European Green Capital Award 2017. Such international exposure for Essen’s environmental work
is an effective communication strategy that translates efforts and costs into benefits and success
Participants learned about innovative methods to catalyze community understanding and
engagement in urban resilience;
They were introduced to key principles underlying effective public communication initiatives;
They gained insight into how cities need both functioning data and a facilitating public sphere to
respond effectively to climate change.
The facilitator provided an overall introduction to the session topic and contributors.
(5 minutes)
Each presentation was allotted 10 minutes. (4 x 10 minutes)
The facilitator managed questions and answers. (40 minutes)
Closing remarks by the facilitator. (5 minutes)
Diane Archer, Researcher, Human Settlements Group, International Institute for
Environment and Development, London, UK
Richard Friend, Senior Scientist, Director of Regional Office, Institute of Social and
Environmental Transition (ISET), Bangkok, Thailand
Storytelling of resilience and adaptation
This presentation demonstrated the key role interactive narratives can play in: a)
making complex concepts, such as disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation
and urban resilience, understandable to the general public; and b) in inspiring people
towards action to build resilience. The Climate Resilience Framework, developed by
ISET-International, was introduced as a conceptual foundation for engagement and
examples (“stories”) from three disasters were used as illustrative cases. During this
interactive presentation, participants directly experienced how narrative art forms can
successfully communicate complex adaptation needs and challenges and contribute to
social resilience and adaptive capacity.
Kevin Hanna, Professor, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, Canada; and
Jon Corbett, Professor, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, Canada
Building a web-based map tool to support adaptation awareness in Canada
This presentation outlined a joint project between the National Municipal Adaptation
Project and GeoLive conducted at the University of British Columbia to develop an
interactive web-based map tool. The map can be publicly accessed and crowdsourced
to chronicle climate and weather-related incidents and help build awareness,
understanding and knowledge about adaptation. This presentation outlined the
development and technical functions of the map tool, the type of information collected,
the impact on knowledge building, and how it may be used to advance adaptation
planning policies.
Mark Harvey, CEO, Resurgence, London, UK
A Tale of Two Spheres - Data and public dialogue for urban climate resilience
Using examples selected by BBC Media Action and partners that included the Red
Cross Climate Centre and Resurgence for WCDRR, this presentation highlighted
practical examples of good practice in public campaigns on resilience and broader risk
reduction. It also explained why both a functioning data sphere and also a healthy
public sphere in cities are required to make public awareness campaigns successful
and to generate effective citizen engagement in climate adaptation planning.
Kai Lipsius, Manager of Climate Protection, Environmental Agency, City of Essen
Thomas Kleinebrahm, Officer, Environmental Agency, City of Essen, Germany
Essen communicates its transformation story and inspires action
Starting in 2010, one European city is selected each year as the European Green
Capital of the year. With its application for the 2017 Award, the city of Essen received
international exposure for its adaptation work and was able to effectively communicate
its impressive transformation story, from a city of coal and steel to one of the greenest
cities of the region. Through its application process, Essen aimed at inspiring its
citizens to take up ownership of climate change adaptation projects within their own
city, actively engage and support urban resilience plans. Additionally, Essen
communicated its success story to other European cities and acted as a role model to
other European cities on how environmental protection, quality of life and economic
success can all be effectively combined, even with limited resources.
Further recommended reading
Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability: Sharing Canadian Experiences:
The Geolive Tool: A flexible and extendable online participatory mapping tool designed to facilitate organizations'
ability to capture, manage and communicate their own spatial data
National Municipal Adaptation Project (NMAP):
Showcasing Innovation in Media and Communication for Resilience: