Thoughts on Just-in-time and Peer Learning in Climate Change Please note: This blog post by Abha Joshi-Ghani was originally published by the C40 News Team in National Geographic Voices on March 9, 2016. All climate action is ultimately local. Thus cities must take the lead in lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, creating green cities, being energy efficient, building mass transit, becoming more resilient and resource efficient, reducing waste and harnessing the digital age to deliver services to their citizens and focusing on sustainability.
At the center of this approach is city leadership and engaged citizens. Density creates the possibility of doing more with less, and with a smaller carbon footprint. As a result, we often find that cities lead the way on climate action against the inertia of national governments. We already see a large number of cities taking the lead in sustainability through innovative financing mechanisms, technological advances, policy and regulatory reforms, efficient use of land and transport, waste reduction, energy efficiency measures and reduction of GHG emissions. What is needed now for scaling this up is systematic knowledge exchange and learning among cities. Peer-to-peer learning is a powerful tool once contextualized and adapted to the particular socio-economic and political context. Iterative learning with feedback loops can help in finding transformative solutions. Sometimes simple measures can make a big difference. For instance, the “Mayor’s Task Force on Climate Change, Disaster Risk and the Urban Poor” was created after COP 15 in Copenhagen in 2009. The Mayor’s Task Force was facilitated by the World Bank, and consisted of Mexico City, Jakarta, Dar es Salaam and Sao Paulo. The cities created a peer-to-peer network and exchanged their experiences on resilience, from the importance of empowering local communities, to strengthening institutions and finding innovative financing mechanisms. All agreed it was critical for national-, state- and city-level policies to be aligned. What we know today is that knowledge and learning with regard to climate action is important and needs to be accessible just-in-time. – Abha Joshi-Ghani What we know today is that knowledge and learning with regard to climate action is important and needs to be accessible just-in-time. The World Bank’s Open Learning Campus (OLC) — launched in January 2016—is a platform and ecosystem for accelerated learning for our country clients and the general public. We offer a number of e-courses on key development challenges in climate change, low carbon development and sustainable development [searchable by topic]. Our popular Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), “Turn Down the Heat: From Climate Science to Action,” is available in both English and Spanish. The C40 network plays a key role as a convener of peer-to-peer learning on climate change. C40 leverages climate action in currently 83 affiliated cities, enabling them to connect with each other and share technical expertise and best practices. I was proud to be in Paris as part of the jury panel for the 2015 C40 Cities Awards, which were held to coincide with COP 21. As we deliberated on submissions from cities around the world I was impressed by the determination, ingenuity, foresight, creativity and commitment of each of these cities to help fight climate change and create a better life for their citizens. It was a tough decision for the jury since the top submissions were very competitive. Finally, the awards went to 10 cities, for a high level of environmental success, replicability and scalability. The one message I heard from cities—loudly and clearly—at the awards ceremony was that learning from each other and sharing lessons is the key to their success.