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The Tandem framework: a holistic approach to co-designing climate services

The Tandem framework provides a holistic approach for theco-design of climate services. The seven-step approach is designed to help scientists, intermediaries and decision-makers collaborate.
Multiple Authors
Photo of a tandem bike with multiple seats


When climate scientists work in tandem with users, climate science is more likely to be incorporated into decisions and policies.

Decisions underpinned by climate science are needed to respond to the global challenge of climate change and to meet Agenda 2030 goals. For example, farmers benefit from knowing the expected onset of rains, and policymakers benefit from understanding how the distribution of vector-borne diseases can shift with changes in temperature and rainfall. Despite the tremendous potential to integrate climate information into decision-making and planning, climate services often remain poorly designed and under-utilized. To address the “usability gap” climate information must be robust, relevant, and tailored to the needs, capacities, and institutional and decision contexts of the services’ potential users (e.g., decision-makers, city planners and extension officers).

SEI researchers have designed a framework that outlines an approach for engaging intended users of climate change-related services as co-designers and co-producers of the services. The Tandem framework outlines a holistic and iterative process that draws on lessons learned from scientific literature and ongoing SEI research.

This brief introduces the Tandem framework and provides insights into how the process has worked in practice, in Lusaka, Zambia. Over a two-year period, the researchers worked with a range of Lusaka stakeholders, including public policymakers, to co-create participatory processes and engagements that support climate information use in city decision-making.

Go to the Tandem Guidance homepage

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Institutional background and trainer

Who would find it useful?

Though the brief largely targets climate information providers (e.g., climatologists, meteorologists) and intermediaries (e.g., adaptation and learning specialists, natural and social scientists) – the two groups currently leading climate service design processes – it should prove useful in empowering decision-makers to lead, plan and take action.

Training Material

This briefintroduces the Tandem Framework for the development of climate services that support decision-making for adaptation.

The brief includes:

  • a summary of key barriers to the use of climate information, specifically for adaptation planning and decision-making;
  • an explanation of why collaborative and iterative processes are important for effective climate service design;
  • a new framework, “Tandem”, to inform, guide, and structure interaction between the providers of climate information, intermediaries, and users; and
  • an urban water-security planning example from Lusaka, Zambia, that illustrates the added value of the Tandem framework.

Go to the Tandem Guidance homepage

Learning outcomes

Related resources

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