Running A United Nations Workshop

United Nations Association Canada

Climate Change Communication and Transparency Workshop

 

The urgency of climate action continues to be an issue of importance to many, effective communication and transparency are starting to play pivotal roles in mobilizing communities and driving change. This was the central theme of the workshop organized by the United Nations Association of Canada (UNA-Canada) in partnership with GreenHouse, held at the University of Waterloo on the 1st and 2nd June 2024. The experiential weekend saw participation of 60 passionate individuals from across Canada, all eager to delve into the intricacies of climate communication and data management.

A full-days experience with two workshops, one led by Ridham Chadha on data management tools for climate change and mitigation and one run by me on Communication, transparency and digital engagement for climate change. Tied together with a well thought out tour of green spaces at UW campus led by Ria Menon.

Communication and Digital Engagement

 

One of the two workshops, which I had the privilege of leading, focused on Communication and Digital Engagement. The session aimed to unpack the concept of climate change communication, emphasizing the transition from mere communication to actionable steps.

We began by exploring what climate change communication entails by coupling it with the Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) framework to set the pace for the discussion. In this portion of the workshop I shared learned strategies and techniques that can be employed to effectively convey the urgency and importance of climate action to different audiences. We discussed the significance of tailoring messages to specific stakeholder groups – with an insightful discussion on rural and urban communities, ensuring that the communication is both relevant and impactful.

Communication to Action

 

A key highlight of the workshop was the discussion on moving from communication to action – a key theme I wanted the participants to takeaway. It is one thing to raise awareness about climate change, but translating that awareness into tangible actions is where the real challenge lies and is what I wanted to communicate as we start thinking about entrepreneurship. We explored various methods and approaches to bridge this gap, focusing on creating compelling calls to action that resonate with audiences and inspire them to take meaningful steps.

Practical Exploration: The Young Eye Initiative

 

To provide a practical perspective, we delved into the activities of the Young Eye Initiative, a youth-led organization that represents the needs interests and aspirations of young people. The participants learned about the initiative’s communication strategies and how they successfully engage young people in a plethora of topics one being sustainability and climate advocacy through Young Eye Foundation and Young & Restless. This served as a tangible example of how communication can drive change and practically showcasing how we can go from creating strategies to implementing them.

Creating a Communication Toolkit

 

One of the most engaging aspects of the workshop was transitioning into a hands-on session where the group was tasked with developing a communication toolkit. This toolkit comprised various components, including key messages, target audiences, communication channels, and metrics for measuring impact. The group engaged in lively discussions, sharing ideas and strategies to enhance the effectiveness of the toolkit.

Presenting Communication Toolkits

 

As the day drew to a close, each group had the opportunity to apply what they had learned by building their own communication toolkits tailored to specific stakeholder groups and giving us a simplified presentation of what they had put together. Working in teams, they developed comprehensive toolkits that addressed the unique needs and concerns of their chosen audiences with the theoretical case study presented.

During the presentations, each group showcased their toolkits, explaining the rationale behind their strategies and the expected impact of their communication efforts. The presentations were a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of the participants, highlighting the diverse approaches to climate change communication. I was in awe of how meticulously they thought about approaching the case study and the techniques they were going to apply.

Exploring the Green Spaces

The workshops were coupled with a tour of the University of Waterloo’s green spaces, led by Ria Memon. This immersive experience allowed everyone to witness firsthand the university’s sustainability initiatives and green infrastructure with spaces like EV3, laurel creek and much more. The tour showcased the importance of integrating environmental considerations into urban planning and development. A huge thank you to Ria for organizing and leading this!

A Call to Action

 

As we reflect on the success of the workshop, it is clear that the journey towards effective climate change communication and transparency is ongoing. I did not get the chance to listen in to what Ridham’s workshop entailed, but from the conversations post workshop, it was clear she left the room feeling positive about data management tools with her extensive experience in the field. The passion and determination exhibited by the participants are a beacon of hope, reminding us that together, we can create a sustainable future. It is now up to each of us to take the lessons learned and apply them in our own communities, continuing the momentum and striving for a world where environmental governance is synonymous with action and transparency.

Huge thank you to GreenHouse social incubator – Tania and Erin and to Laura Kimberly and Odeeth Lara-Morales for giving us the opportunity to run the workshops.

United Nations Group

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