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The CATER Schools Programme: Nurturing Climate Leaders

In the picturesque backdrop of Kongoni, Kenya, the NORCE-led CATER Schools programme is embarking on its inaugural annual event. Bringing together twelve dedicated lecturers and twenty-one enthusiastic students, this initiative promises a deep dive into the world of climate adaptation. This year the school is co-organised by CONFER.

Reimagining Climate Services: From Passive “Users” to Collaborative Practitioners

CATER challenges the conventional approach to climate services, which often positions local communities as passive recipients and reserves expertise for international experts. This program stands apart by advocating for active participation from practitioners and users from the outset, reshaping the traditional roles of producers and users.

The pressing need for more inclusive and socially engaged climate services in Europe and Africa serves as a driving force behind CATER’s mission. The programme champions a holistic approach, aiming to foster a deeper understanding of climate change by involving governments, organisations, and local communities. The demand for professionals who can bridge the gap between physical, socio-economic, and cultural aspects of climate change and its societal impacts is palpable.

A Comprehensive Curriculum

The foundation of CATER School lies in daily lectures covering a diverse range of topics, including climate risk management, climate prediction, transdisciplinarity, co-production, ethics, policy, serious games, and career development.

However, the true highlight of CATER School emerges in the afternoons. Here, students embark on a collaborative journey, creating their own serious games. These innovative games shed light on the intricate decision-making processes associated with climate change.

Fostering Collaboration and Insight

Through these games, practitioners step into the shoes of various decision-making actors, offering fresh perspectives on the interdependencies and complexities inherent to each role. For the students, this exercise not only nurtures collaboration skills but also encourages profound reflection on the intricate web of decision-makers in the network.

A Global Cohort of Students and Expertise

The inaugural cohort of students at CATER School represents a tapestry of nations, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Benin, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Kenya, China, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Colombia, the USA, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Norway.

The geographical distribution of the 2023 CATER School participants and lecturers.

The CATER project is funded by the Research Council of Norway and this year collaborates with CONFER in co-organising the 2023 school. Additionally, it receives partial funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

The lecturer group comprises experts from NORCE, the University of Bergen, the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (all from Norway), The Climate System Analysis Group at the University of Cape Town (South Africa), the Met Office (UK), and CNRS-Institute of Environmental Sciences (France).

In conclusion, the CATER Schools program is not just another academic venture; it’s a transformative experience that challenges the status quo, empowers students to become proactive participants in climate adaptation, and fosters an inclusive approach to understanding and addressing climate change. This innovative programme is bridging the gap between theory and practice, setting the stage for a future where climate services truly benefit everyone involved.