Communications reinforces climate diplomacy, draws connections within the complex climate change reality and translates the political dialogues and scientific data into simpler terms. It constitutes a separate pillar of climate action by raising awareness, creating engagement, informing, educating, persuading and mobilising.
Throughout its duration, SPIPA has been actively using communications as a vehicle to impact policy-making in order to support and strengthen the implementation of each country’s Nationally Determined Contribution. One of the examples of such an activity was a social media campaign conducted by the Programme’s partner in South Korea, Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC), explaining the state of play in renewable energy and offering a comprehensive overview of existing regulations.
The Programme was also engaged in cross-linking these communications efforts with the EU’s climate diplomacy to reinforce EU delegations’ climate events. Climate 360 was a two-day virtual conference, hosted by the EU Delegation to South Africa and taking a Team Europe approach, to showcase and celebrate some of the best climate-smart organisations in the country and to inspire people to make a proactive contribution towards climate action. The interactive event went well beyond driving awareness of the climate change emergency – it highlighted and showcased pioneers in the climate change space, celebrated progress and future-focused thinking, and provided a platform for thought leadership and new, emerging climate change voices.
Apart from supporting climate leaders, SPIPA has also played a part in promoting youth engagement in climate action to underline the importance of young people in accelerating the pace of change needed to achieve the Paris Agreement goals. In India, the Youth Climate Conclave was organised with a focus on developing an educational approach to enhance youth interest in climate. The Youth Declaration on Climate Action emanating from the event called upon heads of state to acknowledge and act in accordance with priorities that will strengthen climate action.
As well as the youth, journalists were also identified as one of the main target groups crucial for raising awareness on climate action. In Brazil, SPIPA’s work with the media was designed as a response to the need to strengthen the local media’s role in stimulating the climate debate. To support Brazilian journalists just ahead of the United Nations climate change talks (COP26), the EU Delegation to Brazil, with the support of the SPIPA Programme, launched the Media Guide on Climate and Green Recovery Coverage. The publication was created on the basis of the discussions held with participants during the media training session (also organised within SPIPA) and was aimed at responding to their information and clarification needs regarding climate issues.
Communications also serves as an important element in securing the Programme’s legacy. The current publication, The SPIPA Playbook, serves as material for stock-taking and as a basis for follow-up projects beyond the life of the Programme.
SPIPA’s experience shows that communications has a role beyond its regular advisory function in driving climate action. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic further underlined the value of communications through the increased use of digital tools. It is more important than ever to have a clear, sharp and coherent storyline to be able to cut through the excess of information, attract attention and engage in a meaningful dialogue with online users worldwide.