Why Climate Change is a Humanitarian Issue

 In Influencing Change

Climate change is making extreme weather events such as storms, flooding and droughts more intense and more frequent. This increases the risk of disasters all over the world and particularly for communities who already experience high levels of vulnerability. Climate change therefore has a serious significance for relief and humanitarian agencies, as they work with vulnerable communities and respond to the devastating impacts of climatic events.

This quote from EU-CORD member International Aid Services (IAS) highlights the link between humanitarian work and the need to combat the effects of climate change:

 International Aid Services (IAS) runs programmes in 10 African countries, mainly in the Horn of Africa/Eastern Africa and the Sahel region. Climate change is felt across these countries and disproportionately affects the already vulnerable populations. There are a multitude of challenges linking climate change to humanitarian action, but one of the fundamental issues for appropriately addressing the effects of climate change within our, and other actors’, humanitarian response (particularly in light of the ongoing debate around resilience); is the need for a more robust, flexible and multi-year funding mechanism. Addressing the effects of climate change takes time and cannot appropriately be achieved within the current humanitarian financing architecture.

Daniel Zetterlund, CEO, International Aid Services

The UN Climate Change Conference 2015 in Paris not only provides an opportunity for international action to combat climate change itself, but also to commit to bold levels of additional funding that includes assisting developing countries in increasing their resilience to the impacts of climate change.

The role of climate change as a multiplier of risk will continue exponentially into the future unless strong action is taken to combat it. Additionally, high levels of climate finance are needed to enable the adaptation necessary for reducing the risks posed to the world’s most vulnerable communities. As outlined above, additional funding to address the impacts of climate change cannot solely take place within the humanitarian financing architecture and this is why the Paris conference is so important.

EU-CORD has joined the network of faith organisations supporting the petition Act Now for Climate Justice. This petition calls for strong binding agreements at Paris that will keep global warming well-below 2 degrees and therefore reduce the severity of the impacts of climate change. It also demands that the international community deliver and scale up the public finance that will enable the world’s poorest to adapt to climate change.

The effects of climate change are straining the disaster relief system and disproportionately affecting the world’s most vulnerable communities. Strong international action is needed. Please join us in demanding climate justice at Paris by signing and sharing the petition at www.actclimate.org


Image: The destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Photo credit: MEDAIR

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