In recent years, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been collaborating with Indian institutions to organise outreach events. This essay draws on the perspective of participants, speakers and organisers of 17 in-person outreach events conducted across India in 2018 and 2020, to share insights and recommendations for future IPCC events in India and other developing country contexts. The formats analysed in this essay range from panel events with very large public audiences to more focused workshops, meetings and seminars. Target audiences covered both academic and non-academic audiences and included researchers, teachers, students, industry and NGOs. The events, while achieving their main objective of communicating the findings of IPCC reports, also provided a platform for open discussion of localised climate impacts and good practices in adaptation and mitigation. There are, however, notable challenges to public outreach in India, specifically in terms of attracting an adequate number of participants, experts' availability, communicating to a diverse audience and translation into local languages. The biggest challenge faced by speakers was a lack of knowledge about the number of attendees and the composition of the audience prior to an event. It is our recommendation that future outreach events in India are designed to be interactive, tailored to the regional context and complemented by simplified communication materials. Speakers should be provided with audience information and background prior to the event, and greater reach into rural areas, including school children, could be achieved with material in local languages. Additionally, event organisers often require logistical and operational support to host outreach events.
Keywords: Communication; IPCC; India; Outreach; Public engagement.
© The Author(s) 2021.