Red Cross/ Red Crescent Climate Centre

Climate Centre launches minisite for Virtually Amazing resources

16/04/2020 - by Carina Bachofen, Climate Centre

The Climate Centre today launches a minisite offering a comprehensive set of tools and assistance for individuals and teams utilizing its new Virtually Amazing approach for online events and meetings.

The Virtually Amazing concept itself, an approach for ensuring online interaction is productive, efficient and meaningful, was unveiled last month jointly by the IFRC in Geneva and by the Climate Centre in The Hague as a way of “beating coronavirus and reducing your carbon footprint”.

As we grow more accustomed to a world in which face-to-face meetings are instead convened in virtual spaces, Virtually Amazing focuses on ensuring everyone – especially people with poor Internet connections – is included and can actively contribute.

Virtually Amazing enables connections between people with different backgrounds, expertise and interests, but instead of just replicating traditional meetings online the aim is to facilitate a more effective exchanges of ideas, generating better real-world outcomes.

While familiar Climate Centre topics range from practical planning for early warning early action for extreme weather – especially challenging amid COVID-19 – to the complex climate negotiations in the UNFCCC, the approach also applies to myriad other topics well beyond climate risk.

Combining facilitation with virtual technology and group exercises, the Climate Centre offers support and training for people and teams in the design and facilitation of meetings. 

                      ‘The aim is no less than to reconfigure
                       the way we generate solutions and
                       take decisions in the face of rising risks’

The Virtually Amazing minisite links resources such as exercises on turn-taking, keeping energy inside a virtual room, collaborative note-taking, music and video to enhance participants’ experience, break-out groups, joint whiteboard annotation, cartoon-a-thons, and more.

In the coming weeks new tools will be shared online every week, as well as regular blogs featuring experience and lessons in designing and facilitating online events. 

Meetings reflecting the Climate Centre’s Virtually Amazing approach have already been run for IPCC authors (photo), and staff and volunteers from the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.

“The Climate Centre is always remarkably effective and innovative in generating productive interactions among people,” said Katharine Mach, an associate professor at the University of Miami and an IPCC scientist, after a recent online meeting with 20 coordinating lead authors who worked on its SREX report.

“The recent remote convening was an amazing example of how such interactions can occur virtually as well. The insights and the camaraderie alike stood out,” she added.

‘Productive interactions’

The Climate Centre looks forward to generating more experience in this online space and learning from others – particularly in the run-up to the first fully virtual Climate:Red Movement “summit with no flights” in September, from which the IFRC says no country or person should be excluded by cost, location or connectivity; the meeting will run for up to 30 hours straight, across all time zones.

“We’re excited about expanding our virtual contributions to inform and advance the management of climate risk,” said Climate Centre Director Maarten van Aalst today.

“Beginning with incremental changes to existing virtual dialogues, the aim is no less than to reconfigure the way we generate solutions and take decisions in the face of rising risks.”

The Climate Centre’s Virtually Amazing approach in action last month for a meeting via Zoom of IPCC lead authors. (Image: Climate Centre)