- Governments seeking to use information effectively for decision making in a changing climate, and donors and researchers seeking to support them, need to focus on what types of information are required, by whom, and how this information is collected and disseminated in a usable form to those who need it.
- Information for adaptation planning and policymaking goes far beyond climate information; demographic, economic, social, and environmental information is also vital if actions are to meet the needs of those affected.
- Information needs to be user-driven, sufficient, accurate, accessible, long-term, frequently updated, cost-effective, and targeted.
- Many developing countries lack the basic infrastructure and capacity to gather and distribute information necessary for decision making in a changing climate.
- Investments in weather-monitoring stations and other data collection systems are of great value for collecting information about changes on the ground and for providing the raw data for forecasts. They are much needed in many parts of the world, especially Africa and South America.
- Given that information needs and information itself will change over time, systems for collection and dissemination will need to be both durable and updated seasonally and annually.
- Dissemination strategies must at times be rapid, especially for extreme events, and able to reach remote communities and inform government strategies.
- Information must be decision-relevant and accessible to the public if it is to be a foundation for inclusive, effective, adaptation decision making.
- Innovative information and communication technologies exist that hold promise for supplying information needed to protect vulnerable lives, livelihoods, and ecosystems.
This chapter seeks to help national-level public officials identify first, the types of information useful for making effective plans and policies in a changing climate; and, second, the means to collect and distribute such information to those who need it most. It also explores information capacity-building needs in developing countries and the application of technologies for information collection and dissemination.
For climate change adaptation, decision-relevant information is not just—or even primarily— about climate information such as meteorological data. As we discuss in this chapter non-climate information can be just as important.
Information will need to be collected and disseminated by different groups across society. The people who need specific information to make effective adaptation decisions include not only national governments, but many other interests and sectors. Additionally, the “what” (what types of information are needed) and the “how” (how is that information collected and disseminated) aspects of adaptation information are closely linked. In this chapter, we explore this linkage and examine innovative methods of information collection and dissemination already in use.