Indian Bengal Delta State Level Stakeholder Workshop 2nd Round

indian bengal stakeholder workshop

Indian Bengal stakeholder workshop

The second State level Stakeholders’ Workshop in Indian Bengal Delta (IBD) was organized with active support from Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal on 10th November, 2016 in Kolkata.

With this workshop, the DECCMA India team tried a new strategy to ensure wholesome participation from government departments. The team approached the Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal, to send out invites for this workshop. A total of 19 Departments from the State Government Departments, and 4 Chambers of Commerce and 4 Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) were invited for the Meet through the office of the Principal Secretary, Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal. This was beneficial as the number of senior government officials attending the workshop was more than the last workshop.

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The meeting was presided by the Principal Secretary, Mr. Arnab Ray, IAS, Department of Environment, Government of West Bengal. In his inaugural speech, Mr. Ray mentioned about the West Bengal State Action Plan on Climate Change and how the Line Departments are trying to implement the plan collectively.

DECCMA’s initial findings were shared with all to give an idea how we are approaching towards our research goals. The different government departments and NGOs were invited to share their experiences relating to DECCMA’s key areas of climate change, vulnerability, migration and adaptation. While the issue of climate induced migration due to possible loss of livelihood came up a number of times, we learnt of successful adaptation instances to make alternative livelihoods, renewable energy, viable for all.

Garnering stakeholders’ opinions and feedback is crucial to DECCMA’s research as it opts for a stakeholder-driven approach. Stakeholders’ feedbacks were collected on Evaluation Criteria of Successful Adaptation and Barriers to Policy Implementation. The research team, comprising members from Jadavpur University and Centre for Environment and Development, helped the attendees by guiding how to fill the questionnaires and resolving any queries. Difficulties with the questionnaire and suggestions to simplify those were received from the stakeholders.

This stakeholder workshop gave us a day to exchange our experiences, findings, and learning to strentgthen our work.

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5th DECCMA Consortium Meeting in Ffort Raichak near Kolkata, India

5th DECCMA meeting Ffort Raichak

Modelling team discussion

Before travelling to India for the 5th DECCMA consortium meeting I was constantly checking the weather forecast for Kolkata. Being one of the DECCMA northern team members and never having been in India before the idea of 35oC and heavy rain made me feel a bit uncomfortable. However on our way from the airport to our 70 km away conference venue Ffort Raichak nobody was thinking about rain (there was none) nor temperature. All that counted was hoping that the “mariokart – style” bus driver would deliver us at the hotel in one piece (which he did).

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Luckily we had the rest of the day to recover from the trip before the meeting took off in full speed. After half a day of meetings amongst our seven work packages each of them presented an up-date to the plenary. This was continued on the second day and followed by country up-dates.

Key to the country presentations were what we like to call the “wow!” findings – significant findings that contribute to the knowledge base on climate change, migration and adaptation.

Key emerging findings from Ghana relate to attitudes to migration in the context of environmental stress. Living in an area identified for its prevalence of out-migration, 43% of the respondents would consider migrating as a positive option in response to environmental change in the future. This perception is informed by having seen and heard of the cases of other migrants. Knowing this has important policy implications as Ghana considers how to support adaptation in the Volta delta.

Findings from the Indian Bengal Delta (IBD) also illuminate our understanding of migration processes. What is apparent there is that there are clear hotspots where people prefer to migrate. Again this has important policy implications in terms of knowing where population is likely to grow (or diminish) due to migration.

In the Mahanadi Delta findings counter the common belief that floods are bad and need to be stopped. People from various villages actually consider low and moderate intensity flood to be “Blessings in Disguise”. This is because floods bring prosperity to agricultural households. This occurs in three ways: agricultural production is improved firstly because of the improvements in soil fertility; and secondly because the floods eliminate weeds; and floods also bring fish which serve as an extra source of protein.

In Bangladesh, research on the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) delta highlighted their finding that thrust force is a critical cause of damage to infrastructure during storm surges. They are also investigating the duration of storm surge-driven salinity. These results have practical implications for adaptation, because local authorities can make well informed decisions when building or renewing infrastructure such as roads, houses and cyclone shelters in the affected regions.

Beyond the findings from each delta, it was great to see that GBM and IBD have joined forces to learn from each other. The entire team is really looking forward to their next joint steps and what emerges when the delta is considered as a biophysical system without the political boundaries.

Obviously a lot more exciting things were passed on between the researchers, and good plans were made for the coming months. But in such a large and geographically dispersed consortium, such meetings allow an invaluable opportunity for team building. Those of us that are new can put faces to the names previously only known through email addresses, and for those who knew each other already the opportunity to touch base again reinvigorates enthusiasm going forward.

By the way while being in Ffort Raichak there was hardly any rain but still it was so hot and humid that one was soaked form the inside when taking more than 10 steps outside an acclimatised room. However me personally I had the pleasure of experiencing very serious rain when staying on in Kolkata for a few days after the meeting.

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Call for abstracts & papers – International scientific workshop on climate adaptation governance

The emerging complexity of climate adaptation governance in a globalising world
23–24 May 2017, Stockholm, Sweden

Join the Stockholm Environment Institute and partners at an international scientific workshop that will examine the emerging complexity of climate adaptation governance with all its commensurate new forms and consequences.

The aim of the scientific workshop is to explore governance of climate adaptation beyond the national level, i.e., international and transnational. Workshop participants will analyse, among other things, new forms of adaptation governance, its consequences for adaptation action on the ground, and the adequacy of existing institutions.

The workshop will be an intimate two-day event held in Stockholm on 23-24 May 2017, with themed sessions discussing research papers and policy-maker perspectives.
Abstracts must be submitted by 28 October 2016
For more details, download the call for abstracts and papers

Sharing Research Experiences: The CARIAA Ghana example

sharing research experiences

Sharing research experiences

Research into Use (RiU) is a key tool in the CARIAA Theory of Change (ToC) for engagements through the project cycle to the dissemination of research products with the objective of influencing changes in development, adaptation policy and practice. The CARIAA Ghana projects; Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions (ASSAR) and Deltas, vulnerability, Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation (DECCMA) seized the opportunity presented during the recent Climate Change and Population Conference on Africa (CCPOP Ghana2016) to share their experiences in the use of RiU strategies as part of their research activities.

The annual CCPOP, organized by the Regional Institute of Population Studies (RIPS) of the University of Ghana is a trans-disciplinary conference that brings together scientists from all over the world in a bid to promote lessons on the best scientific practices with potential development impacts on Africa. Inspired by the active orientation of the discourse around climate change and Ghana’s commitment to the iNDCs, this year’s Conference focused on Research-Into-Use (RiU), policy frameworks and intervention projects that have made a difference in climate change mitigation or adaption efforts hence the theme: “Building bridges and Research into-Use”. The conference drew participants from policy, research, national institutions and the academia including student poster presentations.

The moderated RiU panel which run parallel to other sessions was held at the auditorium of the Nogouchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) under the theme RiU in action: Before, During and after the Research and drew over fifty (50) participants from policy, research and the academia including the Vice Chancellor of the Regional Maritime University and a former head of the Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences of the University of Ghana, Professor E. Nyarko.

The panel shared with the audience how the ASSAR (Lawra and Nandom districts) and the DECCMA (Volta delta) projects are using RiU and other stakeholder engagements process to improve the understanding of vulnerability, wellbeing and adaptation issues in their respective study areas. Through the use of videos and oral interaction, the discussants illustrated how CARIAA approaches its research differently by keeping RiU central to the concept of its TOC. Specifically, the use of participatory tools such as the Vulnerability Risk Assessment (VRA) and the Transformative Scenario Planning (TSP) processes were explained. The use of innovative tools/techniques to communicate vulnerability to impacts was also stressed using the DECCMA drone footage of Fuveme (a flooding coastal community) as an example.

The Oxfam Ghana (Tamale) advocacy Officer and the Deputy Municipal Officer of the Keta Municipality who respectively are from the research areas of ASSAR and DECCMA also shared their views of how to effectively partner with institutions and the local communities to successfully execute projects. The discussions also showed practical examples of appropriate two-way collaboration between vulnerable communities and scientific research teams and, highlighted effective tools for communicating climate change adaptation to local communities.

Generally, the audience were enthused about the innovative attempt and willingness on the side of the CARIAA consortia to share information with other practitioners. The audience also emphasized the need for increased collaboration between the research community and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have presence in the study communities for a more holistic engagement.

See here for news on the Conference and Photos

A Tale of two Cities

2015 saw an acceleration of DECCMA with extensive work on the development of Household Surveys across four study deltas in India, Bangladesh and Ghana, looking at the component role climatic change might play in migration and adaptation. This work has been substantially supported by the outcomes of a sister project to DECCMA in the form of ESPA Deltas. Both of these projects were represented at the AGU December 2015 in San Francisco at a specific session relating to Delta research, called Sustainable Deltas: Multidisciplinary Analyses of Complex Systems II, Global Environmental Change (Primary Convener Irina Overeem CSDMS/INSTAAR on behalf of Belmont Deltas), with cross-referencing between the talks demonstrating a continuity of learning and development. The following were presented:

Hutton C.W., & Nicholls, R.J. & Allan, A. (2015), Migration in Vulnerable Deltas: A Research Strategy. AGU, 2015, San Francisco, 14-18th December

Nicholls, et. al. (Hutton, C.W) (2015). Ecosystem services and livelihoods in deltaic environments (Invited). AGU 2015, San Francisco, 14-18th December

Lazar, A. et. al. (Hutton, C.W) (2015). An integrated framework to assess plausible future livelihood and poverty changes in deltas: an application to coastal Bangladesh. AGU 2015, San Francisco, 14-18th December

Payo Garcia, A. & Hutton, C.W. (2015). Assessing the time scale response of Health, Livelihoods, Ecosystem Services and Poverty Alleviation in Populous Deltas. AAG, Chicago 2015

The presentations within the session were wide ranging and thought provoking with examples of papers and posters from highly developed contexts to regions of the developing world under extraordinary stress from environmental degradation and climatic changes. One common thematic approach that might be drawn from the session was the diversity and complexity of the social interaction across these landscape scale features with competing requirements for industry and food production as well as the socio-economic and cultural needs of the people who occupy the lands including the complex drivers of migration and urbanisation. The meeting was followed by a meal in down town San Francisco where, Profs Overeem and Nicholls lead a discussion on possible collaborative efforts that have continued from this meeting.

Drawing on a specific component of this discussion, namely that of land and water and the relation to food security, The DECCMA project was also presented as a case study at the Land and Water Days, November 2015 in Rome where a conference was jointly convened by FAO, IFAD and WFP as part of efforts aimed at reaching effective and lasting impacts for land and water actions on the ground. The event is presented as an opportunity to review policies, technologies and approaches to secure sustained improvements in support to activities on the ground; and foster exchanges of experience between countries and regions. The University of Southampton presented a detailed study of DECCMA in the “Land and Water assessment for identifying vulnerabilities and sustaining rural livelihoods” session entitled; Deltas, Vulnerability & Climate Change: Migration & Adaptation: Assessing vulnerability of populations to land and water shocks, with elements of the lessons learned in ESPA Deltas as an example of how remote sensing can be used to extract both social and biophysical data of relevance to planning in food security and livelihoods. The talk was well received and as well as ongoing established links with FAO (specifically John Latham NRL) has spawned some discussions and potential collaboration with WFP.

DECCMA Poster Competition Winner – Shouvik Das

poster competition winner

Winning poster

The winner of the PhD Category of the Poster Competition at the DECCMA 4th Consortium Workshop was Shouvik Das’ (Jadavpur University, India) poster ‘The implication of applying IPCC AR4 & AR5 framework for Vulnerability and Risk assessment in relation to Climate Change in the Indian Bengal Delta’.

The term ‘Vulnerability’ is used by the disaster risk reduction (DRR) community to describe the interaction of the physical and societal factors that contribute to disaster risk. This is closer to the IPCC AR4’s conceptual framework of vulnerability to climate change. The AR5 introduces a new approach and terminology which moves closer to the disaster risk concept, thus differing from the current understanding of vulnerability as expressed in the IPCC AR4. In this comparative study, different indicators based on AR4 and AR5 frameworks have been used to assess vulnerability (AR4) and risk (AR5) in the 51 Community Development Blocks of Indian Bengal Delta. The high score of ‘risk’ obtained through AR5 approach appears to be governed more by the climate induced hazards (like flood/cyclones). The external stressors of vulnerability (as conceptualized in AR4) comprise hazards as well as other climate variability as ‘potential hazard’. It also has a problem of neutralizing the impact of one specific hazard by the adaptive capacity to another potential hazard. The final results however show some disparity in scores in assessing ‘vulnerable’ zones and ‘risk’ zones. Sandeshkhali-II is assessed as the most vulnerable block (AR4) whereas Gosaba is found to be exposed to high risk (AR5) although both the blocks are spatially contiguous and geographically similar. The present study thus emphasizes efficacy of AR5 framework in assessing hazard specific risk zone which will be more suitable to correlate with impacts such as human migration or in designing appropriate hazard specific adaptation options.

Interview with the winner:
1. Why did you choose the topic for the poster?
Climate change acts as a ‘threat multiplier’ with a growing population and a deteriorating natural resource base in the deltaic environments. In recent years, Vulnerability or Risk Assessments are being used to identify climate change impact hotspots and to provide input for adaptation and development planning at different levels. Vulnerability or Risk Assessments being one of the thrust area of DECCMA, this poster could be useful, significant and interesting for all relevant ongoing research activities in the sphere of Disaster Management or Climate Change Adaptation. This study might also be helpful to compare the efficacies of IPCC AR 4 and AR 5 framework to apply in a particular research problem.

2. What data sources have you used for the analysis?
In Vulnerability or Risk Assessment, we use an integration of classified indicators to assess the interaction of human beings with physical and social surroundings at the Sub-District level (Community Development Blocks for India). Different bio-physical and socio-economic indicators have been used to conduct the study. The climate-related stress or extremes events like Flood Frequency (National Remote Sensing Centre, 2004-2014), Cyclone Intensity (Indian Meteorological Department, 1992-2009), Coastal Erosion (Landsat TM images, 2001 & 2011), Salinization (National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning) have been considered to determine Hazard (AR 5) and Exposure (AR 4) under different frameworks. The datasets of District Census Handbook (DCHB) and District Statistical Handbook (DSHB) of 2011 have been used to estimate Sensitivity and Adaptive Capacity (IPCC Contributing Factors) with their catalytic influences in the system.

3. What’s the significance of your conclusion?
Applying the AR 4 and AR 5 concept and framework on the same data set, two different blocks have been identified to be most vulnerable or exposed to highest risk. However, both the blocks are spatially contiguous and geographically similar. The results have been validated through ground truth survey and stakeholder engagements. It proves the efficacy of AR5 over the AR 4 framework. Moreover, the hazard specific risk assessment (AR 5) can be more appropriate and suitable method to correlate with impacts such as human migration, and thus appear to be more appropriate for designing hazard specific adaptation options.

Download the poster here:,_India_20160125_035018.pdf

Findings from the District Level Stakeholders Workshop in Ramgoti, Lakshmipur, Bangladesh

district level stakeholder workshop

District level stakeholder workshop

DECCMA Bangladesh team organized 2nd District Level workshop at Ramgoti Upazila of Lakshmipur District on November 18, 2015. The objectives of the workshop were:

i. To explore migration, adaptation and governance issues of Ramgoti Upazila related to climate change.
ii. To compare the findings with the 1st District Level Workshop held at Khulna on August 31, 2015
iii. To sensitize different upazila/local level stakeholders about the DECCMA project

Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) and Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology (BUET) jointly organized the workshop with the help of the local Upazila Nirbahi Office (UNO). There were 104 participants (69% Male and 31% Female) from different communities, government organizations, NGOs and media.

To conduct the group discussion, the participants were divided into five different groups: three community groups, one government officials and one media and NGO representatives. Each group was facilitated by a DECCMA member who collected the responses from the relevant group. A lively and informative group discussion took place which was later shared and validated among other groups through the oral presentation from different groups.

The responses from different stakeholders on different issues are as following:

Hazard types

  • River Erosion
  • Storm Surge
  • Cyclone
  • Water-logging
  • Salinity
  • Tidal Flooding
  • Drought
  • Sea level Rise

Migration patterns, reasons and destination


  1. Seasonal /Temporary
  2. Permanent
    a) Internal
    b) International (very low)
    c) One Family Member
    d) Whole family (The number is moderate or high when they migrate within the same upazila, but the number is very low when they migrate to other places e.g. other upazilas, district town and divisional towns)

1. River erosion
2. In pursuit of better life (voluntary)
3. Storm surge
4. Sea level rise
5. Temporary migration for climatic hazards
6. Lack of job opportunity

1. Upazilla (Sub-district)
a) Within same upazila: Char to Char
b) To other upazilas within the same district
2. District Town
a) Within the same district: Lakshmipur
b) To other districts (but not divisional town): Noakhali, Feni, Bhola
3. Divisional Town
a) Within same division: Chittagong
b) To other divisions (but not the capital): Barisal
4. Capital: Dhaka
5. International: Oman

Adaptation types, results and recommendations

1. Government Initiatives:
a) Resettlement Projects: Guchhogram, Asrayon project
b) Shelter Projects: Cyclone Centre, Killa
c) Protection Initiatives: Polders (Past), Bank protection measures, sluice gate (to reduce congestion)
d) Agricultural Intervention: Cultivation of flood tolerant rice variety,
e) Fishing Intervention: Restriction in fishing during breeding/reproduction season
Relevant Organizations/Projects: Prime Minister’s Office; Water Development Board; Department of Fisheries; Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO); Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP)

2. NGO Initiatives:
a) Resettlement Projects: Guchhogram, resettlement centres
b) Agricultural Intervention: Cultivation of hybrid crops
c) Advocacy Initiative: Awareness building
Relevant Organizations: Community Development Centre (CODEC); Centre for Natural Resource Studies (CNRS)

3. Self-initiatives:
a) Tree plantation in vacant land and mangrove forest
b) Change of Profession: (i) fisherman/farmer to rickshaw puller, Brick field workers, micro business; (ii) fisherman to farmer
c) Employment of Female Members: (i) garment workers in divisional town (Chittagong); (ii) local income earning activities: making caps, mats etc.
d) Raising livestock (hen, duck)
e) Raising plinth

4. Other Interventions:
a) Reserve rain water adjacent to Killa
b) Drinkwater from river using Phitkiri (Alum)

Result of Adaptation (Successful Adaptation/Maladaptation):

1. Successful Adaptation:
a) Meghna river bank protection
b) Asrayon project
c) Livestock farming (hen, duck)
d) Soybean cultivation
e) Women Employment: Cap making

2. Maladaptation:
a) Reducing depth of connecting canals/ water bodies
b) BishwaBeri

1. Inefficient money transaction
2. Insufficient funding
3. Lack of sustainability/proper planning
4. Lack of coordination with experts/interagency
5. Management and supervision

1. Increased height of the roads

Governance Issues

Existing Gaps/problems:
1. Embankment and river protection mechanisms are not efficient
2. Irregular river dredging
3. Inequitable distribution of resources
4. Lack of proper management of in resettlement interventions(Guchogram, resettlement centres)
5. Inefficient number cyclone centres andKilla
6. Lack of coordination in among different stakeholders in different development interventions
7. Lack of forest coverage

Gender Issues

1. Women’s Participation in income generation activities followed by disasters (garment worker, cap and mat making)
2. Fewer natural resources (firewood, vegetables, fruit) available to provide family members
3. Increased domestic (duck/ hen rearing) and financial responsibilities

Considerable number of participants from different stakeholder groups (government officials, NGOs, media personnel, community members) participated in the workshop and expressed their opinions willingly. Learning about the potential of DECCMA project, participants shared their knowledge with DECCMA Bangladesh team members without much reservation. Significant number of female participation also enlightened DECCMA Bangladesh with their concerns. Overall, the workshop provided DECCMA Bangladesh team with insightful and interesting information for their research activities.

Learning from DECCMA India’s District Level Stakeholder Workshop for Kendrapara, Mahanadi Delta

learning from deccma india stakeholder workshop

Learning from DECCMA India stakeholder workshop

Held on September 1, 2015 at Gupti, Rajnagar, Kendrapara District of Odisha, for Mahanadi delta, the objective of the Stakeholder Workshop was to sensitise different stakeholders about DECCMA seeking their responses and knowledge on the migration, adaptation, governance in the context of climate change which they are facing. The workshop was organised by Chilika Development Authority (research partner in the DECCMA India team) and was attended by representatives from Jadavpur University along with representation from 19 organisations including Government Departments, NGOs and SHGs.

Out of the 43 participants, 15 women and 9 men were residents of the Kendrapara district and 19 male participants had an exposure about this district and also provided insight about the neighbouring district of Jagatsinghpur which has similar bio-physical aspects as that of Kendrapara.

For better understanding and participation from the stakeholders, the deliberation was carried out in local language i.e. Odia.

A group activity was organised to ensure effective participation from the stakeholders on the issues of migration, adaptation and governance in the context of climate change.

The following are some of the key responses from the stakeholders –

Reasons for Migration:
• Lack of returns from agriculture which is attributed to the vagaries of climate change
• Environmental regulations for traditional fisherman for conservation of Olive Ridley turtles
• Limited employment opportunity in the district because industries are located in the other districts
• Erosion of the coastline and the river bank have led to migration of residents from the villages of Satabhaya, Pentha and Jaudia

Adaptations option active in the area:
• Cyclone shelter constructed by Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA)
• Height of the saline embankment has been raised
• Geo Tube embankment to prevent coastal erosion at Pentha
• Relocation of villagers from Satabhya to Bagapatia

Suggestions for Adaptation Options:
• Strengthening of saline embankment in all vulnerable areas
• Establishment of skill development training schools for men and women
• Facilitation of creek irrigation system
• Promotion of salt tolerant paddy and climate resilient variety of agricultural product

Problem/issues related to Governance
• Lack of political will
• Inadequate fund mobilisation
• Delay in programme implementation due to lack of coordination between departments
• Crop insurance has not rendered results as was expected

Gender sensitivity
• Women, children, elderly and people with special needs are not considered as target groups during planning and implementations
• In-situ adaptation options like training facilities and income generation schemes are needed
• Although a number of SHGs are active in the area, non-cooperation of financial institutions to extend loan to SHGs is also experienced

Most of the stakeholders expressed views that the issues brought forth by DECCMA are highly relevant to their daily reality. The stakeholders, both men and women alike were glad to see the gender component being effectively addressed in DECCMA. The women expressed their gratitude to DECCMA for having their voices heard.

The workshop was a success due to the active participation from the stakeholders and it was concluded with prospect of continued engagement.

Launch of Climate Knowledge Brokers’ Manifesto, ODI, London, 17 Sept 2015

The launch event of Climate Knowledge Broker’s (CKB) ‘Manifesto’, hosted by ODI and chaired by Geoff Bernard (CDKN) set out the vital role of climate knowledge brokers and addresses challenges they face. Do users know where to go to get the correct information? Who and what should they trust?

“Everyone makes decisions based on climate knowledge” – a key assertion by Florian Bauer the lead author of the Manifesto. Do those who produce the information know who the users are, what they need, how to present their findings and who else might be working on the same topics? Stakeholder Mapping and Engagement Strategies, along with a Theory of Change and RiU planning across CARIAA Consortia should provide a strong basis to identify relevant stakeholders and the methods for communication.

Some users of climate knowledge use it without knowing (unaware users), some use the wrong information and some are so overloaded with information they don’t know how to extract the relevant message. The role of knowledge brokers is to synthesis, contextualise and enrich, working across multiple sectors and disciplines. But who are they and where are they found? Is ‘Climate Knowledge Broker’ a job title? Is it another name for Research into Use or Pathway to Impact?

We heard that the scale is huge – almost everyone is a decision maker! Messages must be tailored, by understanding the users’ needs and ever increasingly, collaboration is vital. One organisation or project can’t be successful on its own – partnerships are needed. In CARIAA there is a premise that working as a consortium, and as part of a wider programme has benefits over small, perhaps isolated research activities. CKB’s thoughts that ‘joined up’ efforts are needed would seem to validate this format.

Behavioural change and social learning by both researchers and decision makers has evolved rapidly and changed the remit of CKBs. Cohesion between activities is vital – Claire Scott provided an example of the Gobeshna initiative in Bangladesh that brings together many players to share and build capacity. Information can be shared widely, but knowledge only comes through learning.

Roger Street (ECI Oxford and UKCIP) emphasised that science needed to be user driven, with information shared through multiple methods and forums. Translating data into useful information is an ongoing challenge. The Met Office explained how they increasingly go out and present their work in other fields and sectors to enable them to learn how to distill the information them produce into effective messages. The challenge of how to “Simplify really good credible science” into usable messages that can be translated to action on the ground.

This got me thinking; based in an academic institute, I wonder how best we can respond to the urgency that users express when needing information. By the time data collection has been completed, analysis done, a journal paper drafted, submitted, reviewed, rewritten and published do we miss the chance to respond to the ‘urgent’ in a robust scientific way? Can the process be quickened and what other channels can be used that don’t limit integrity or quality of research?

Secondly, the language and relevance of a journal paper isn’t always the most appropriate way to reach an audience. A good communication plan should identify targeted audiences and focus on the most relevant and appropriate channel to reach them. The language used is critical, especially when the results of one sector (e.g. hydrology) need to be understood and translated into another sector (e.g. agriculture) taking into account local context. Chains of knowledge brokers are needed to pass on the information – validating the need for networks and relationship building.

What is the difference between ‘data’, ‘information’ and ’knowledge’? This question was posed by a member of the audience. I knew the answer had to do with learning – and was ratified by the panel’s response. Knowledge is learning from information. A book is information, but knowledge is the utilisation of information – it is not written down but held by people.

Focusing my thoughts on DECCMA I wondered how often academics and researchers release a paper and think our job is done? Do researchers have a responsibility to apply their work and see it is taken up? If not, whose responsibility is it? Utilising structures such as Research into Use and Theory of Change the project has an idea of the ultimate goal and change that is desired (a joint understanding between stakeholders and researchers) but the question still remains – whose responsibility is it? Are we all Knowledge Brokers’ or is this a role/job title for a specific person or group?

There is plenty here for DECCMA’s WP1 (Stakeholder Engagement) and RiU to consider and learn from!

Download CKBs Manifesto at

3rd DECCMA Consortium Workshop, Ghana

3rd deccma workshop

Attendees of the workshop

DECCMA PI, Professor Robert Nicholls mentioned “Building the Consortium” as an important part of the functioning of the project and what better way to do it than organising face-to-face meetings for the entire consortium. The entire DECCMA consortium meets every six months, this time being the 3rd Consortium Workshop at Accra, Ghana. The Regional Institute of Population Studies (RIPS) of the University of Ghana (UoG), the lead institution for the DECCMA African team, hosted DECCMA members from Bangladesh, India, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

One might think that research project workshops only entail updating each other on research progress and discussing future research plans. DECCMA not only discussed these but also did much more. The first aim of the workshop was to refresh and reinforce relationships across the wider project, especially in work package teams and build on consortia development. This was achieved when the key members of the Northern team reached the University of Ghana a day ahead of the workshop to get better acquainted with the entire Ghanaian research team. Also, a day was dedicated to facilitate training sessions and discussions with respect to each work package. On 24th July 2015, members huddled around tables deep in discussion or diligently learning from the others during training sessions. This encouraged dialogues within the WPs with respect to delta-specific issues. As a part of the management team, I can proudly say that I attended my WP session outside the meeting venue at the steps in a garden. It was liberating in a way to discuss work yet not feel like doing work! A key outcome from this day was the clarification from each country team on the respective study areas. It was unanimously decided by all WP leads and member leads that administrative units in deltaic areas which are being dissected by the 5 metre contour line in each country shall be wholly considered as being in the DECCMA study area. The day closed with a cocktail dinner accompanied by live African music. The gentle evening breeze, Ghanaian food and the lively beats relaxed us after the long day.

The workshop officially kicked off on the 25th of July with Professor Samuel Codjoe, the DECCMA Ghana Lead, welcoming everyone to Accra and the University of Ghana. Prof Robert Nicholls then took everyone on a journey of the inception of DECCMA, right from its proposal drafting workshop in September 2013, through the kick-off workshop at Dhaka in June 2014, to the last workshop held in India in January 2015. He welcomed any new member attending the consortium workshop for the first time and asked the country leads to do the same from their respective country teams. He reintroduced DECCMA, its objectives, work package structure, aims and timeline to everyone and reminded us that we are 32% through! The reminder of the timeline helped everyone to reflect on the status of work being done. The goals and timetable of this workshop were reiterated. This was followed by formal presentations on the delta boundaries of the Bangladesh Delta, Indian Bengal Delta, Mahanadi Delta and the Volta Delta. The day then continued with presentations on the research progress of each work package (WP) where the WP leads either introduced the overall WP activities or summarised the discussions. The country teams presented on their WP progress and it was a good chance to learn about the commonalities and differences across the deltas. While governance and policies of each country are unique, the effect of climate change was common for all. Although the physical stressors varied from one delta to the other, the effects on the people were comparable. Analysing secondary data and literature reviews showed migration from the hotspot areas of these deltas and the observed adaptation options were also learnt. But stakeholder interactions, focus group discussions gave first-hand accounts of such results. These can be fully validated and more information can be garnered once the DECCMA team ventures out to conduct the household surveys. An effective dialogue between the WPs was initiated to facilitate incorporation of questions from each WP into the household survey questionnaire and also to enhance the integrated modelling framework which relies on inputs from all the other WPs. The day closed with the monthly closed meeting of the DECCMA Management Committee. This was followed by a sumptuous dinner at a local restaurant which also had a live band. It was the perfect setting for everyone to unwind after the day, and work took a backseat for most of us!

Workshops like these enhance working relationships and offer chances for better communication. The added advantage of hosting a workshop at a study area is that the wider project team gains a first-hand exposure to a new study site and on the 26th of July, the DECCMA team went for a field visit to the Volta delta. It was an enriching experience and good to see the Keta Sea Defense Project that is active in the region. As a student of humanities, African Literature had introduced me to the horrors of slave trade which was once dominant in the continent and the visit to Fort Prinzenstein etched it loud and clear in my psyche, the gruesome and inhuman past. The heart-wrenching echoes off the walls were louder than the sounds of the Atlantic Ocean. With lots of activities for us in the field visit, I did not get much time to ponder over this gloom. The team was taken to a farm where wind energy and biomass energy were effectively used and we got a chance to walk through pigsty, maize and shallot fields. The afternoon sun could have got the better of us had it not been for the refreshing tender-coconut water which was kindly served to us at the farm. Ghanaian hospitality at its best!

On the 27th of July, stakeholders from the Volta delta were present at the workshop. It was a nice gesture to begin the day with a prayer followed by an introduction to the CARIAA programme by Michele Leone and an introduction to DECCMA by Prof Robert Nicholls. The documentaries on each delta were shown, which was promptly followed by the climate change skit. It was a delight to watch such a serious issue being enacted in such a simple manner, which was easily relatable by any person, irrespective of their nationality. This was followed by presentations on related projects in each delta and this session also gave enough opportunity for discussion and learning. The next session had a reminder of the key project documents that every DECCMA member should be familiar with. The Research into Use and Theory of Change presentations made the country teams more eloquent with the way DECCMA envisages using RiU to better effect research. It was communicated that an effective RiU strategy should be developed based on the audience as different groups have different needs and engagement efforts should be made accordingly. The next slot dealt with adaptation and personally speaking I benefitted a lot from the interactive session based on identifying which activity would be adaptation, development, mitigation, coping or maladaptation. It made all of us think, debate and learn. This was followed by a discussion on the gender-sensitive approach in DECCMA and the team was reminded once again of the importance of including gender right from the beginning of the project.

The last day of the workshop had discussion on formulation of the expert advisory groups in each country and the future plans with respect to each WP. The research plans, publication plans and upcoming training workshops were all discussed and shared among the members. The workshop closed with a vote of thanks to the Ghanaian team for their hospitality and all the members for attending the workshop and making it a success.

The workshop was successful not only in terms of what was formally presented and discussed during the sessions but also when the members were scheduling catch-ups with one another during the tea-breaks and meals. The interactions were effective amidst the picturesque campus of the University of Ghana with its bountiful dose of greens and birds. I look forward to returning to Ghana but right now I am looking forward to meeting the DECCMA team at Southampton in January 2016!