A wise owl represents Step 6: Learning and Sharing.

Step 6: Learning and Sharing

With every climate monitoring initiative, there are opportunities for learning and sharing:

  • Within the community: This includes engaging the community, building capacity, learning from the data and knowledge gathered, and sharing that information with project participants, community leaders, and other community members.
  • Beyond the community: This includes learning from and sharing information with others who are working on related climate and environmental monitoring initiatives. For example, this could be a nearby Indigenous community that’s monitoring similar indicators or even a community or organization outside of your region that has similar concerns and interests. Sharing data and knowledge outside of the community requires careful planning and protocols.

Step 6 will explore how to identify and reach different target audiences so that the information can be used effectively in building capacity, planning, and decision-making, while safeguarding any sensitive or sacred information.

Why It’s Important

By creating opportunities to learn and share into your monitoring initiative, you’re helping to:

  • Ensure that the information reaches key decision-makers so that it can inform climate change adaptation planning and environmental management as well as support self-determination.
  • Increase awareness of climate change impacts and improve resilience at the local, regional, national, and global levels.
  • Avoid “reinventing the wheel” and save time and resources when designing a new monitoring initiative or expanding an existing one.
  • Create consistency with methods and improve data quality so that the information can be compared on a broader scale.

Having tools in place, such as a communication strategy and plan, community knowledge protocols, and data sharing agreements, will help ensure that your community is better equipped to determine if, with whom, how, and when information is shared.

Key Questions and Considerations

Communication Strategy and Plan

A “communication strategy” generally refers to your community’s communication goals and why they are important whereas a “communication plan” provides the details of how those goals will be achieved.  This can also double as a “community engagement plan”. The strategy and plan can be separate documents or together as one. A good time to work on your communication strategy and plan is when you’re designing your project. This process will help you figure out your needs, target audiences, key messages, and outreach methods.

Here are a few questions to help you get started on developing your communication strategy and plan:

  • Who needs to know about the climate monitoring initiative and the information that you have gathered?
    • Within the community: This could include groups such as community leadership, youth and Elders committees/councils, hunters and trappers committee, school children, and the community at large.
    • Beyond the community: This could include a few trusted partners or it could be much wider such as other Indigenous communities, governments, and organizations, municipalities, provincial/territorial governments, federal government (such as researchers and funding programs), international governments and organizations, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, or industry. The type of information shared could vary considerably depending on the audience.
  • Why do they need this information? For example, would it contribute to the collective knowledge and understanding about a certain climate indicator or issue? Would it help with planning and decision-making related to climate change adaptation or environmental management on a various scales?
  • What level of information do they need? Is it just the metadata [LINK: Metadata explanation under Community Knowledge Protocols and Data Sharing Agreements] (i.e., who is monitoring what and where), raw data, or results and trends? What about the methods or lessons learned from the initiative?
  • When do they need it? Is their need time-sensitive or can it wait until the community has gathered and analyzed more data over time?
  • What is the best way to share it?
    • Within the community: This could include on-the-land activities; presentations to specific groups; community feasts and gatherings; videos; reports, newsletters, brochures, and posters; websites and social media; and the community’s radio station.
  • Beyond the community: In addition to some of the formats mentioned above, this could include: adding data to metadata (see below) and data repositories, sharing data with citizen science initiatives, presenting at workshops and conferences, sharing videos, submitting articles to scientific journals and/or Indigenous publications, presenting to local and regional networks, and submitting stories to on-line sharing platforms such as this Toolkit or the Indigenous Climate Hub.
  • How will sharing it benefit your community? For example, sharing within the community can improve climate change literacy, increase support for the initiative, and provide valuable information for planning and decision-making. If sharing is done carefully beyond the community, according to protocols or data sharing agreements, it can lead to respectful, reciprocal external partnerships and provide a broader understanding of the impacts of climate change so that appropriate adaptation strategies can be developed.

Some tools for developing a communication strategy and plan are available in the Resources section below.

Community Spotlight

Black River First Nation

Through a school-based climate monitoring project, the community’s Grade 10 students are taking snow depth measurements. The data are then compiled and shared with the Government of Manitoba. This information is fed into models that help predict the winter survival of white-tailed deer and moose.

Community Knowledge Protocols and Data Sharing Agreements

It’s your community’s right to self-determine whether sharing information beyond its members is desired and if so, with whom, what, and for what purpose. Your community’s interest in sharing may be influenced by a number of factors including past experiences, the type of information, and existing policies and protocols. The degree of sharing outside of the community may include everything from no sharing at all to sharing any of the following:

  • Metadata: A summary of the monitoring initiative such as who is collecting what type of information and where. Site specific details on sensitive information (such as polar bear dens or fishing locations) doesn’t need to be shared here – only a general area. The idea is to have a record that a type of monitoring was done in a general area, so that if someone else is interested in doing similar work or learning the results of your monitoring, they can reach out to the project or host organization to inquire further.
  • Raw Data: Information that has been collected using scientific instruments such as a weather station, a water quality testing meter, or a trail camera.
  • Indigenous Knowledge: Observations and stories from Elders and other Knowledge holders that have been collected and used following strict oral or written codes to ensure that any personal or culturally sensitive information is protected.
  • Monitoring Results and Trends: A compilation of the findings from the monitoring initiative.

You may choose to share only certain types of data and Knowledge that has been gathered. Specific attention should be given to how Indigenous Knowledge is shared and ensuring the project team is following knowledge sharing protocols.

Given historical experiences and increased collaboration between Indigenous communities and external partners, there’s a greater need to develop approaches to ensure that the community retains its data sovereignty, in other words, the right to govern the collection, ownership, and application of its own data. Examples of guiding principles that are widely used in research involving Indigenous Peoples include:

  • OCAPTM Principles: which stand for Indigenous Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession. These principles were developed and trademarked by the First Nations Information Governance Centre.1
  • CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance: which stand for Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsibility, and Ethics. These principles were developed by the Global Indigenous Data Alliance (GIDA).2

In the spirit of these guiding principles, here are two examples of written tools that can be useful for protecting a community’s data and Knowledge:

  • Community Knowledge Protocol: refers to, “a community‐driven document that generally defines the community’s rights, responsibilities and processes regarding appropriate access to and use of their Knowledge in relation to their people, lands and waters, language, ceremonies, cultural practices and worldview”.3
  • Data Sharing Agreement: refers to, “a legally binding agreement to share data between parties, according to certain requirements and conditions.”4

Tool Spotlight

Community Knowledge Protocols and Data Sharing Agreements

A guidance document on this topic is available on the Toolkit here.

Helpful Tip

Was It Successful?

Tracking your learning and sharing activities, number and types of participants, effectiveness, and any lessons learned, etc. will help you with Step 7: Evaluation and Reflection.


  1. ^

    First Nations Information Governance Centre. The First Nations Principles of OCAP®. Available at: https://fnigc.ca/ocap-training/

  2. ^

    Global Indigenous Data Alliance. CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance. Available at: https://www.gida-global.org/care

  3. ^

    Global Indigenous Data Alliance. CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance. Available at: https://www.gida-global.org/care

  4. ^

    Global Indigenous Data Alliance. CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance. Available at: https://www.gida-global.org/care