A key challenge in the linking of science and policy on climate-smart agriculture is allowing policy makers to interact directly with analytical and conceptual representations of human and natural systems in the context of climate change. Participatory modelling approaches offer accessible avenues for such direct interactions.
However, game design ’from scratch’ is a long process, and therefore, methodological toolkits exist to help develop customized games quickly. Examples include the Wat-A-Game (WAG) toolkit which focuses on water management; a policy game as part of the Scenario Exploration System (SES), designed by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC); and policy games designed by the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre.
Relationship to CSA
Policy games have been used in various CSA-relevant processes. For instance, the WAG toolkit allows for the easy construction of water management situations, including climate-induced variability in water availability. It can be used for the exploration or testing of policy, and can be applied across different governance levels. WAG was used in South Africa, Mozambique, the Niger basin, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tunisia. Of particular interest is the possibility of constructing a game with local participants (e.g. vulnerable farmer communities) and then having policy makers play this game with them, taking on the roles/identities of the farmers. The JRC SES game has been used to explore policy options around food and nutrition futures. The Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Change Centre has also trialed a series of climate change games, some of which, such as ’Invest in the Future’, focus on policy and long-term planning as well.
Impacts and lessons learned
- Wat-A-Game has been used with policy makers in a number of case studies to experiment with the consequences of policies for farmers’ water management and so understand policy alternatives.
- JRC has used their SESS game with the European Commission’s DG Santé, who reported that valuable and implementable policy insights were achieved through the game.
- Lessons reported from the use of climate change games by the Red Cross/Red Crescent include that games have been used for speeding up, consolidating and innovate policy formulation.
- Wat-A-Game: https://sites.google.com/site/waghistory/
- Wat-A-Game AFROMAISON project: https://sites.google.com/site/waghistory/to-dos/wag-in-afromaison-european-project
- JRC SES Game: http://www.euroalter.com/2015/playing-towards-a-sustainable-future
- Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Change Centre games: http://climatecentre.org/resources-games/games-overview