IFRC rolls out full climate action journey after successful National Society trials

Representatives from numerous African Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies, as well as IFRC and Climate Centre specialists, at a Climate Journey training in Nairobi.

Representatives from numerous African Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies, as well as IFRC and Climate Centre specialists, at a Climate Journey training in Naivasha, Kenya.

Photo: Castor Rotich/IFRC

The IFRC and its specialist reference centre on climate are today outlining the full seven-stage “climate action journey” that has been trialled by the National Societies of Malawi (blog and storymap), Nigeria and Pakistan and encompasses the key concepts of climate-smart operations and locally led adaptation.

It had earlier been formally presented at a training session in Naivasha, Kenya, attended by representatives of 20 African National Societies, as well as IFRC secretariat and Climate Centre specialists.

The climate action journey starts with the key enabling factors of institutional buy-in through signing of the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations, dedicated staff, seed funding, raised awareness, and the mobilization of youth and volunteers

This year, a range of additional National Societies will embark on the journey to scale up climate action and locally led adaptation: they will be able to increase their knowledge on changing climate-risks and impacts, strengthen capacities and partnerships, and access climate finance with solid proposals.

The climate crisis has necessitated the empowering of communities to take charge of their own solutions and to secure for local actors and the most vulnerable communities the international climate finance that is currently falling short.

This climate action journey seeks to prepare National Societies to increase adaptation driven by communities. 

Implementation, evaluation

A guide to climate-smart programmes – the journey’s first three stages, centring on climate risk assessment, climate-smart screening and climate-smart planning – was published last year in both long and summary form; the former includes example of climate-smart programmes in various sectors from the Red Cross Red Crescent in (alphabetically) Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali, Vanuatu and Zambia.

The last four stages of the journey – multi-year climate strategy, engagement with communities on adaptation, design of locally-led adaptation programmes, and implementation followed by evaluation – are detailed in the new publication, The importance of scaling up locally led adaptation, which will be expanded later this year.

Climate-smart programmes and operations integrate climate and weather information, including long-term climate projections, “to ensure that, at a minimum, they do not place people at increased risk from new climate extremes and … empower communities to anticipate, absorb and adapt to climate shocks and long-term changes,” the journey text says.

Locally led adaptation in all its forms, meanwhile, ensures “communities are empowered to lead sustainable and effective adaptation to climate change at the local level, increasing long-term resilience of communities to climate shocks”.

Prisca Chisala, Malawi Red Cross Society Director of Programmes and its climate champion, says in her blog that the climate action journey enabled the National Society to “set our institutional vision and priorities on climate for the next few years”.

She adds that the journey has been “a living process, able to be adapted whenever new experience and lessons arise. Experiences and thoughts by National Societies are critical to shape this journey into a tool that will be most helpful to the mission and work of Red Cross Red Crescent.

The National Society has to be at the centre of the journey, defining the direction it’s taking.”

IFRC Under Secretary General Xavier Castellanos said today: ”This decade demands an unequivocal commitment to locally led adaptation as we confront the escalating climate crisis. Urgency compels us to strengthen local initiatives and empower local actors to spearhead climate resilience.

The climate action journey empowers numerous National Societies to lead the change, forge impactful partnerships, including with local authorities, and foster the emergence of climate-resilient communities.”

Most National Societies are already effective in climate-related areas such as preparedness, anticipatory action, response and recovery, generating entry points for more extensive climate programming and integrating climate considerations into their work.

But access to international climate finance that reaches down to the local level is another important component of them becoming climate champions for their countries.

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