How to engage communities in climate projections

Stage 1


The starting point of the localising climate change projections process is capturing local knowledge to better understand the localised implications of various global and local climate factors. In order to be effective, any action to engage with communities most at risk from climate change should involve the following principles:

Put people at risk at the centre

Building trust, accountability and positive relationships with them. Civil society organisations have a role to facilitate an enabling environment that sees local actors and those most at risk taking the lead.

Prioritise local perspectives of risk

Local considerations of risk have to be taken into account to inform and hold to account local, national and international disaster risk management processes.

Build relationships with communities most at risk

Listening, connecting, consulting with and encouraging ideas/actions from community members as to what actions they want to lead, is essential.

Ensure inclusion

Identifying the most at-risk groups and ensuring their meaningful participation and contribution to any action.
Ensure collaboration with multiple stakeholders: identify local partners and institutions that can support the localising climate projections process – whether academic, private, government or other civil society groups.

Practical approaches

Practical ways to engage communities at the start of localising climate projection actions include:

  • Identify key at-risk groups and local leaders
  • Prepare and mobilising communities for the localising climate projections process
  • Introduce global climate trends to them to facilitate learning around the need for climate projection, and the understanding of the facilitators of prioritised risk factors and local context from lived experience of those most at risk to
  • local impacts of global climate trends
  • Create a joint vision with them
  • Continue to involve them as central decision makers in the process


Reference below


This tool will explore the different types of knowledge about the weather and climate that people use to make decisions and consider their similarities and differences. It will also identify practical ways in which GNDR members can strengthen their partnerships with, and support the work of, national meteorological agencies, climate research institutions and other climate services or government departments (at local or national level).

Knowledge about the weather, climate and their impacts originates from diverse sources, some local based or cultural interpretations of natural phenomena, some from science and some from everyday experience.

The Knowledge Timelines exercise can build an understanding of the types of weather and climate information which a community currently uses, strengthen understanding of the different sources of weather and climate information currently available at different timeframes and geographic scales, and support transparent discussion about the levels of accuracy across both local and scientific sources.

Step 1

Encourage the audience to remember a past climate event using non-climate events to prompt their memory. For example, identify a period when there was significant flooding and some locally relevant social or cultural events that were also taking place at this time.

Step 2

Ask about the different information that people had on the climate/weather event before it occurred, and at what times this was available.

Step 3

The National meteorological agency representative or climate researcher describes the scientific information available on this event. The representative or researcher then describes the uncertainty and confidence in this scientific information as a function of forecast time and space.

Step 4

Ask the audience to describe the confidence and uncertainties they have in the information they use. Ask them to describe the basis of their assessment. Then compare and contrast the features of each knowledge type. Additionally, the timeline could be extended to consider climate information at longer time frames.

The diagram below depicts discussion from the use of the Knowledge Timelines amongst farmers’ groups in Mbeere, Kenya. While local forecast indicators will be specific to each community, levels of accuracy and challenges in scientific forecasts are, for the most part, shared across regions and dependent on emerging scientific understanding of weather and climate.



Daraja, 2020, DARAJA Impact Results Learning-review-deck_master-.pptx (

Kniveton, D., Visman, E., Tall, A., Diop, M., Ewbank, R., Njoroge, E., and Pearson, L. 2014. Dealing with uncertainty: integrating local and scientific knowledge of the climate and weather. Disasters, 39(S1), S35–S53.

Kniveton, D., 2013 Knowledge Timelines, Dialogues for disaster anticipation and resilience Dialogues for disaster anticipation and resilience (

Knowledge Timelines: comparing local and scientific sources of information about the onset of seasonal rainfall in Mbeere, Kenya (Source: Dialogues for Disaster Anticipation and Resilience, Kniveton 2013 Dialogues for disaster anticipation and resilience (

Risk-informed development: engaging with communities most at risk

Stage one of the Risk-Informed Development Guide highlights how to engage with communities from a risk-informed development perspective. The approaches suggested should be connected to the localising climate projection process and include visioning to ensure that communities most at risk of climate-induced disasters lead the necessary work.

Project partners

Our Risk-Informed Development Guide was produced as part of our Local Leadership for Global Impact project. The project and all related content was funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). All content is the sole responsibility of GNDR and does not necessarily reflect the views of the BMZ.

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Our Local Leadership for Global Impact project is implemented in partnership with Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe.

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