Current knowledge status on capacity building for climate services

An empirical study using C3S blended trainings

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Capacity building is essential to ensure that key stakeholders appropriately use climate services. WMO, (2010) stated that capacity building is a critical component for improving data information by supporting the climate services pillars. In the guidelines on Frameworks for Climate Services, WMO (2016) distinguishes between capacity building for climate service developers and (end)-users. Capacity building for users focuses on the understanding of climate variability and change; and interpretation and use of climate services provided. Capacity building for climate service developers aims to deliver accurate and reliable information and communication to the user (World Meteorological Organization, 2012). Thus, the differentiation between climate service providers and end-users on capacity building, connecting them on one-way collaboration is considered the current status of knowledge of capacity building for climate services.

The need for capacity building to understand, use and deliver actionable information is increasing, because more climate data is available and accessible in several web portals. One of these portals is developed by the European Union Copernicus program, which aims at developing information services based on satellite Earth Observation and in-situ (non-space) data. This program has developed the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). C3S is considered a climate service and a source of data for the development of potential climate services. The C3S provides authoritative information about the past, present, and future climate, along with tools in a web portal called the Climate Data Store (CDS). C3S aims to enable climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies by policymakers and businesses (ECMWF, no date).

C3S includes a User Learning Services (ULS) component. This online learning platform contains modules embedded in individual or team learning paths and blended trainings.  The ULS aims to spread knowledge and skills around 30 different European countries.  Blended training was designed building on the current state of knowledge regarding capacity building, focusing on improving understanding and use of climate data. After one year of blended training experience, trainers observed that trainees had difficulties in delivering case studies for actionable knowledge. The literature argues that focusing on understanding and using climate data is not enough to provide actionable information and decision tailored climate services (Dilling and Lemos, 2011; Kirchhoff, Carmen Lemos and Dessai, 2013). Here, we present the results of a study on the C3S blended training as an example of the gap in the current status of knowledge in capacity building. We assessed educational design principles used in current climate service training programs and their intended learning outcomes as well as how they relate to climate services for actionable knowledge. Grasping this current state and the identified gaps allow for a future redesign of the training to more optimally foster climate services for actionable knowledge.

Maria del Pozo

Lecturer and Researcher, Wageningen University

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