New publication: Mobilising knowledge for climate advocacy

28 Mar 2024Ruth van de Velde

Knowledge brokering is an important strategy for climate advocacy, serving as a bridge between diverse perspectives on climate change and amplifying the voices of marginalised communities. So far, research predominantly focuses on Northern perspectives, leaving challenges for organisations brokering knowledge in the Global South under-researched. 

In 2023, The Broker and SouthSouthNorth teamed up to facilitate a mutual learning journey with the Southern-based knowledge partners of the Voices for Just Climate Action (VCA) programme (see box for more info) to collectively explore the concept of evidence-based advocacy and share experiences, successes and challenges in using knowledge for climate advocacy in practice. Building upon this collaborative journey, we are pleased to present a short read that offers insights into some of the important lessons learned and knowledge questions and gaps in this field. 

This short read presents a synthesis of relevant resources from academic and grey literature coupled with insights from VCA knowledge partners in Paraguay, Brazil, Kenya, Indonesia and South Africa in the online learning session. The focus is on understanding knowledge brokering for climate advocacy, highlighting the evolution of the concept, strategies used, and the crucial role of power dynamics. It emphasises the complexity of navigating between impartiality and advocacy in decision-making processes, particularly in contexts of social injustice. Building on insights from the knowledge partners the following definition of knowledge brokering for advocacy was formulated;

Knowledge brokering for advocacy is the strategic use of knowledge to build partnerships, provide legitimacy, and influence decision-making. It involves networking, aligning knowledge in advocacy networks, and using evidence strategically to inspire change. This includes gathering local perspectives, identifying impactful cases, and connecting knowledge holders to influential spaces to amplify voices for collective action.

The short read highlights the crucial role of multi-stakeholder engagement, inclusive communication, and coordination in knowledge brokering for advocacy practices. While recognising challenges such as policymaker’s prioritisation and time constraints, it offers various strategies to tackle them. Additionally, the annotated bibliography offers relevant resources on knowledge brokering for advocacy, facilitating further learning.

Download ‘Knowledge Brokering for Climate Advocacy’ here

The Voices for Just Climate Action (VCA) programme is a lobby and advocacy programme implemented by a global alliance including SouthSouthNorth (SSN) the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Netherlands,  Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), Slum Dwellers International (SDI), Fundación Avina and Hivos, under the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ five-year strategic partnership: “Power of Voices”.

The alliance brings together global and local voices by connecting diverse civil society organisations representing women, youth, indigenous people, urban poor, digital activists, and more.

 The programme’s overall approach is to work with civil society to build widespread societal support for locally shaped climate solutions through an inclusive and rights-based approach. It includes building a broad-based climate alliance at the country level, bridging divides (urban-rural, gender, youth) that amplifies voices in new and unusual ways. In addition, it will influence national and global policies and financial flows (e.g. climate finance, private sector investments) in support of these locally shaped solutions.

Knowledge Brokering for Advocacy
21 Nov 2023 | Ruth van de Velde | Siri Lijfering