CoLAB Network Meets to Discuss IPCC Response

The IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere will be released in September 2019 and the marine community predicts that it will paint a grim picture of the state of the ocean.

On 27th June 2019 the Marine CoLAB network met for the first IPCC response framing workshop, borne out of a common recognition of the need to use this report to raise support and unite in a call for action.

The workshop was facilitated by Mirella von Lindenfels of Communications Inc and Nicky Hawkins of the FrameWorks Institute, and hosted by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. We were at full capacity, with over twenty organisations represented, highlighting the prominence of the report in the marine community’s mind.

The session provided us with the space to surface the most pressing ocean issues for each organisation and to spend time discussing what we think the UK government’s priorities should be following the release of the report. Throughout the conversation we searched for areas of commonality that we could congregate around for messaging and settled on four key asks that will be developed into a combined response.

The Marine CoLAB believes that there is power and impact in a shared response to the IPCC report. Following Blue Planet II we coordinated a similar response from over 40 NGOs and foundations, calling on the UK to become a #BluePlanetChampion. Read more about the response here.

In the second part of the workshop we discussed how to most effectively communicate our messages. As a basis for this session, Nicky Hawkins shared the learning of the new ocean framing research by the FrameWorks Institute, funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. The research, which will be published in October, tests the effectiveness of a range of metaphors in communicating the ocean and its value. You can find the report from the first phase of the research here.

After an introduction to framing from Nicky, with a particularly relevant discussion on the distinction between urgency and efficacy in messaging, we put the research findings to work. In a practical session, groups applied the metaphor recommendations to communications on the agreed core messages.

It was exciting for us to witness the research being used first-hand and will also help the FrameWorks Institute as they develop a toolkit based on the findings for all of our members to use. Experimentation is at the heart of the Marine CoLAB’s approach to communicating why the ocean matters. Our experience from this workshop suggests that the new communications research and new ocean research have the potential to form a powerful combination.

Based on the workshop we will now be working to finalise and seek organisations’ agreement on the exact messaging used, which we will develop into an open letter. We will also produce a press release and shared talking points that the network can use around the IPCC release date.

We are always seeking to widen our network of collaborators, so if you or your organisation is interested in being part of our combined IPCC response please do get in touch with

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