Today we share the first results of our climate mapping, where we have asked members to tell us how the climate crisis impacts them at an organisational level. You are invited to draw your conclusions, but these are three points that stand out to me:
- There is unanimous agreement among respondents that we are facing a climate crisis. For 80% of those surveyed, it is considered one of their organisations’ top five strategic issues. It is encouraging that most respondents believe they can contribute to global efforts by changing their working methods.
- The pressure to adapt and respond to the crisis is primarily driven by institutional donors/governments and, to a lesser extent, internal leadership teams. Most Christian traditions have an element of creation care and/or environmental justice as part of their teaching tradition, so why are we waiting for governments to drive change?
- There is a clear challenge for organisations regarding how to work with their constituencies (support base). Is it enough for organisations to explain how a changing climate negatively affects the communities where they work, or are they asking their constituency – as people living in countries most responsible for climate impacts to make lifestyle changes? How far are organisations prepared to go?
The climate crisis and its impacts have featured in network discussions over the past decade.
A turning point came in 2019 when we invited Franciscan International, who explicitly link human rights and the environment in their work with United Nations mechanisms, to present their work and to help EU-CORD CEOs and Senior Leaders to reflect on the climate crisis from a personal perspective and from there, to consider how these personal convictions could be brought into their organisational setting.
What has prevented us from moving forward as a network has been finding a way to articulate exactly what ‘working on the climate crisis’ means for organisations focusing on humanitarian and development action. This comes from a background where addressing climate change and environmental issues has been the domain of environment CSOs or specific movements such as the Tearfund-backed Renew our World Campaign.
By 2022, the inclusion of the impact of the climate crisis was front and centre as an important issue for EU-CORD, even if we were still unsure what this would mean in practice.
In our strategy, we agree that:
We need to respond to the impact of the climate crisis through our advocacy messaging, our programming, and how we conduct our work. Our role is to draw attention to the impacts that climate change has amongst the varied communities where we are engaged and to lobby governments to implement new policy, and approaches. We have an opportunity to contribute to the greening of our sector through theologically inspired practice. The impact of the climate crisis will be one of our cross-cutting thematic priorities.
Knowing that cross-cutting issues risk being side-lined, we decided to make ‘impact of the climate crisis’ one of our two focus areas for 2023.
- We are surveying our members to understand member perception of how the climate crisis is impacting them at an organisational level, and later, we will go into a more in-depth look at programmes and communities.
- We are engaging with the PaRD Water, Environment and Climate Action workstream and contributing to efforts around Cop28. This helps us to be involved in global initiatives from a faith perspective.
- We are exploring ways to reflect climate impacts in our advocacy work. This means incorporating climate-related concerns into our advocacy efforts.
- From a funding perspective, we aim to help our members better understand how the EU is developing its climate objectives in calls for proposals, enabling them to prepare their programs accordingly.
- Later in the year, we plan to run a short series on the theological response to the impact of the climate crisis as it relates to our humanitarian and development work.