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Climate games at the CFE final conference

2014-10-08

Climate games at the CFE final conference

Tick stickers, polar bears, and climate boardgames – the final conference of the Climate Forum East project was notable for the innovative ways participants found to engage with each other. Specially-designed games were central to several sessions. Participants role-played climate change negotiations, took part in a climate adaptation challenge board game, and played Paying for predictions – a game developed by the Red Cross Climate Centre (RCCC) on the cost, value and use of early warnings.

Together with its partners, the RCCC has pioneered the use of participatory games for learning, communication, and initiating dialogue on climate change and disaster risk reduction. Since 2011 the Climate Centre and its partners have designed nearly 50 games focusing on disaster preparedness, the use of climate information decision making, gender and climate, and even urban waste management. These “serious games” enable players to inhabit the reality of climate risk management and test out their options in an immediately engaging and enjoyable way.

Paying for Predictions is one of the RCCC’s most successful games, played with a wide range of audience from schoolchildren to MPs. It focuses on the decisions that disaster managers must take in the face of uncertain risks: do they pay money to take action to prepare, or wait and see whether a disaster will happen, risking a higher payout later? How much is an early warning system worth? These are the kinds of real-life questions that disaster managers and national decision-makers must grapple with as climate change causes disaster risks to become more uncertain.

Olga Vlasuk of the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine agreed that games were a good way to get people’s attention: “They are really useful for making people see a different point of view and can be played with a huge range of people from schoolchildren to politicians. Paying for Predictions really made me think about the costs of disaster preparedness and response.”

For more information about climate games and detailed instructions for how to play and facilitate Paying for Predictions and many other games, please visit the games catalogue at the RCCC website.