Knowledge management and communications in 2018 took place against the backdrop of partner countries progressing on their path towards REDD+ implementation and a globally heightened interest in the climate crisis.
Regionally dedicated and globally responsible Knowledge Management and Communications Officers were placed in the three regions at the UN Environment Regional Offices located in Bangkok, Nairobi and Panama to ensure that activities responded to UN-REDD partner countries’ needs in each region. Inter- agency coordination and collaboration on communications and knowledge management in the regions was further strengthened by the introduction of well-structured quarterly meetings between the three agencies on both the operational and strategic levels.
Leveraging the global trend towards image-driven communication for impact, the UN-REDD Programme invested in vivid storytelling through creative films and multimedia web stories (incorporating text, photos, graphics and videos). Seven professional videos were shot in Côte d’Ivoire, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Viet Nam, with films planned to cover the work in Latin America in 2019. Rich visual storytelling was applied to illustrate the achievements of REDD+ on a dedicated 10-year anniversary website and to highlight the importance of boreal forests as carbon sinks using the example of Mongolia. These products avoid technical jargon and seek to show the impacts of REDD+ on both forests and people in a comprehensible way by focusing on compelling real people and a relatable and accessible narrative.
UN-REDD’s social media activities profited from the multimedia approach as well, with continued massive growth in engagement and reach on Twitter and Facebook – an additional 11,000 followers connected via these platforms in 2018. Dedicated campaigns to celebrate the UN-REDD Programme’s 10-year anniversary, to commemorate the International Day of Forests and to highlight specific topics such as biodiversity and gender reached hundreds of thousands of people.
Target audiences were also reached via concerted efforts to engage news media across the regions. This led to significantly increased visibility, including among groups who do not speak the official United Nations languages. Media pitches and two media trips to Indonesia and Colombia resulted in 49 news articles and TV coverage. For example,
in Asia-Pacific the programme work has been featured by major mainstream media such as the Indonesian national news agency ANTARA, CNN Indonesia, Myanmar TV, and Viet Nam’s VTV2. UN-REDD also organized media training on REDD+ in Colombia, Myanmar and Viet Nam which not only led to positive coverage and further strengthening of the UN-REDD brand, but also resulted in strategic and
long-term relationships. To organize the workshops and leverage synergies, UN-REDD partnered with LatinClima and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
Based on demand among partner countries, three regional knowledge
exchanges were organized in India, Kenya and Paraguay, reaching 145 REDD+ practitioners from 35 countries. Topics were tailored to the regions’ specific needs: from forests reference emission levels, to jurisdictional REDD+ and sustainable and deforestation-free cattle farming. In post-event surveys, over 70 per cent of participants indicated they were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with the knowledge exchanges. In 2018, the UN-REDD Programme organized a total of 73 knowledge events.
To share lessons learned and best practices beyond the physical events, articles, briefs and explainer videos were produced based on the discussions at the exchanges, and close to 80 blog posts were authored by partner countries, agency experts and guest writers, among them the Norwegian Environment Minister and the heads of FAO, UNDP and UN Environment. These posts and further knowledge and country-based lessons on REDD+ were shared via the quarterly REDD Resource newsletter, which has over 5,000 subscribers. A further 53 knowledge print products were developed and made accessible online via the Workspace, the UN-REDD Programme’s Knowledge Management backbone that has over 10,000 documents available and whose 2018 facelift was the first step in a strategic investment that will culminate in a more fundamental overhaul in 2019.