Climate Equity–Centered Deliberative Conversations

Increasing diverse stakeholders’ cultural awareness, interaction, and discussion around difficult topics

Serious discussion among multiethnic group, photo by fizkes/Adobe Stock

fizkes/Adobe Stock

Climate Equity–Centered Deliberative Conversations (CECDC) bring together individuals who represent diverse perspectives around a topic—sometimes difficult or controversial—to co-create tangible, joint solutions that give a voice to all invested in the conversation.

RAND is excited to offer CECDC in a variety of settings as an important step in supporting community-led efforts to navigate the social, economic, technological, and policy challenges of climate change and the changes in Kern's energy sector (i.e., the shift from fossil-based energy resources to renewable sources). By integrating CECDC with other forms of technical assistance, RAND can empower communities across the country to design, plan, and implement policies that address climate change in a manner consistent with community values and aspirations.

One such project focuses on equitable discussions of emerging technologies and energy sector changes in Kern County, California.

Read more about the discussion series in Kern County

The CECDC Model

RAND's CECDC model aims to improve trust and create coalitions needed to realize fair and effective long-term climate responses. At the heart of the model are transparent, continuous engagement and proactive inclusivity. These two elements drive a three-step, cyclical process:

  • The first step is to take stock of the present and the past. This step requires researchers, practitioners, and stakeholders to honestly and introspectively evaluate the status of their community.
  • The second step is to co-produce and share diverse knowledge. Here, all ways of knowing are given equal space and consideration.
  • The third and final step is to identify and update long-term goals. This step is forward looking, giving all stakeholders the opportunity to contribute to a shared vision of the future and the steps the community will take to get there.
A visualization of the CECDC model described above

The CECDC model highlights eight steps believed to be important for effective equity-centered discussions—especially those involving climate equity:

  1. Foster transparency: Provide clear information about the project's goals, objectives, and processes. Ensure that stakeholders understand the project's purpose, how decisions are made, and how resources are allocated. This transparency helps build trust by demonstrating openness and accountability.
  2. Promote inclusive participation: Involve diverse stakeholders from the beginning and include the marginalized communities most affected by change. Actively seek their input, listen to their perspectives, and integrate their feedback into project planning and implementation. This inclusive approach empowers communities and shows a genuine commitment to their voices being heard.
  3. Encourage collaboration: Foster collaboration among stakeholders, including local communities, governmental organizations, NGOs, and experts. Encourage partnerships and shared decision-making processes to ensure that different perspectives and expertise are considered. Collaborative efforts build trust by demonstrating a commitment to working together towards common goals.
  4. Invest in capacity building: Capacity-building initiatives can empower local communities and enable them to actively participate in the project. Provide training and education programs that enhance their understanding of the issues, project objectives, and their rights and responsibilities. Building capacity fosters trust by equipping communities with the knowledge and skills needed to engage effectively.
  5. Deliver on commitments: Consistently deliver on commitments made to stakeholders. Follow through on promises, meet deadlines, and provide regular progress updates. Reliability and accountability reinforce trust in the project's integrity and its ability to deliver meaningful outcomes.
  6. Ensure local benefits: Ensure that climate equity projects deliver tangible benefits to local communities. Address their specific needs and concerns, and design projects in ways that enhance social, economic, and environmental well-being. Directly addressing community needs builds trust by demonstrating that the project genuinely aims to improve community members’ quality of life.
  7. Plan for long-term engagement: Foster long-term engagement with stakeholders beyond the project's initial phases. Maintain ongoing communication, seek feedback, and continue to involve stakeholders in decision-making processes. This sustained engagement demonstrates a commitment to long-term partnerships and reinforces trust over time.
  8. Integrate evaluation and learning: Regularly evaluate project outcomes, impact, and effectiveness. Share evaluation findings with stakeholders and use them to inform future decision-making and project improvements. Being transparent about the project's performance fosters trust and shows a commitment to continuous learning and improvement.

Building trust takes time and effort. It requires ongoing commitment, effective communication, and a genuine dedication to addressing the needs and concerns of stakeholders.

Connect With Us

RAND appreciates your interest in our work on climate equity–centered deliberative conversations.

If you would like to participate in related events or have ideas about how we might be able to achieve our shared vision together, we encourage you to connect with us.