Climate civics builds capacity for rapid, high-value innovation & transformation

Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) is a way to ensure climate policy aligns better with human need and local capability and aspiration, and major climate-related investments line up with the most effective locally rooted sustainable development and climate resilience measures. ACE is grounded in Article 6 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and supported by Article 12 of the Paris Agreement. It encompasses 6 major areas of action:

  • Education

  • Training

  • Public Awareness

  • Public Participation

  • Public Access to Information

  • International Cooperation

Citizens’ Climate International sees three big questions on the horizon for ACE activities at the local, national, and international levels:

  • How can governments improve the quality of their own climate policy planning and implementation, by sharing information openly, listening to communities, and fostering participatory process? 

  • In what ways do ACE activities help to build capacity for climate action, at the local, national, and international levels? 

  • What are the ACE-related science translation (activation of science insights) benefits—both from downscaling global climate science to local experience and from feeding stakeholders’ insights into scientific and political venues? 

To support the spread of best practices for inclusive, participatory decision-making and transformational activation of science insights, CCI is coordinating a multi-phase initiative to explore ACE as Capacity-Building. The initiative will follow three main stages:

  1. October 2021 — Pre-COP Dialogues

  2. November 2021 — COP26 Briefing Note + Listening Sessions

  3. 2022 — Community Mobilization

The pre-COP dialogues will lead to a Briefing Note to be published during the COP26. The COP26 will also provide a global focal point for CSO-convened virtual and hybrid listening sessions with stakeholders in communities, whose insights into needs, capabilities, ambition, and mobilization will be captured and delivered to the relevant leaders in the process, including their own national teams and the negotiating groups that include their national teams, and relevant advocates and allies.

Thursday, Oct 7 — Raising Ambition 

Action for Climate Empowerment is a means of activating the climate action potential of a society. Policy processes naturally carry a tension between official mandates and inclusive consideration of needs, rights, and capabilities. By providing stakeholders, communities, and decision-makers, with sound science, an atmosphere of generalized awareness of the climate challenge, and with participatory policy design solutions, ACE can ensure national policies and mandates are grounded in local context, with respect for human-scale needs, rights, and capabilities. This is crucial for ensuring policies become practice, and secure the support and investment required to be sustainable and effective over time. 

This dialogue will examine specific strategies for making this policy-design benefit a reality, so national policies can be more actionable, more effective, and more widely valued and supported. 


Thursday, Oct 14 — Capacity Building 

Activating the climate action potential of a society starts from building capacity. Capacity-building processes require initial consultation, tracking and reporting, and coordinated technical support to provide solutions for critical gaps. In each of these ways, ACE provides concrete methods for structured, effective building of sustainable added capacity. The ACE perspective values citizens and stakeholders as part of the overall policy-to-action capacity equation. Specific technical expertise and high-level resource mobilization are critical areas of capacity for public authorities, but they are also better positioned to set the right standards, mobilize high-value climate action, and measure and sustain their impacts, if they do so in a society where climate science knowledge and solutions deployment capacity are more generalized. In other words, ACE capacity is climate action capacity. 

This dialogue will examine how and why this is so, and call for recommendations to ensure all 6 elements of ACE are treated as core capacity building activities. 


Thursday, Oct 21 — Science Activation 

“Science activation” goes further than “science translation”. The goal of science translation is to allow key decisional insights rooted in complex scientific work to circulate among the general public and non-science decision-makers more effectively. That flow of information should lead to real-world climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience measures, that improve people’s lives and their security in the face of serious climate impacts. ACE is a vehicle for science activation. By ensuring climate-related evidence is openly shared, with a public that has been educated about climate science, and by providing spaces for consultation and for participatory policy design, ACE activities map the landscape in which science translation turns into action. Science-based targets, for instance, recognize that early action is needed to align “net-zero” goals with the 1.5ºC target. 

This dialogue will examine specific examples, and propose elements of a science activation general assessment (SAGA) to track the knowledge-based climate action potential of an institution or nation. 


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To learn more about climate civics for active mobilization of science insights, and to follow the work of Citizens’ Climate International, go to CitizensClimate.earth