IFRC Secretary General addresses the Climate Science and Humanitarian Dialogue

People in Madagascar walk through floods caused by heavy rains in January 2022. The Malagasy Red Cross is working with the government to provide relief assistance, health services and shelter to those affected.

People in Madagascar walk through floods caused by heavy rains in January 2022. The Malagasy Red Cross is working with the government to provide relief assistance, health services and shelter to those affected.

Photo: IFRC/Caren Ramanantoanina

People in Madagascar walk through floods caused by heavy rains in January 2022. The Malagasy Red Cross is working with the government to provide relief assistance, health services and shelter to those affected.

Photo: IFRC/Caren Ramanantoanina

Speaker

Secretary General

The Secretary General is the chief executive officer of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and directs the secretariat and our delegations around the world.

Speech delivered by IFRC Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain, at the Climate Science and Humanitarian Dialogue held on Friday 25 March 2022.

Your excellencies, colleagues and friends, together with our co-hosts, the Permanent Missions of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the United Kingdom, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we warmly welcome you today to the IFRC for the Climate Science and Humanitarian Dialogue.

We are delighted to have you join us today—in person and online—for this important discussion which builds on the outcomes of the 2018 Climate Science and Humanitarian Dialogue we co-hosted together with Switzerland, the Netherlands, Fiji, the IPCC and the Climate Action Network.

A lot has changed since then.

The IPCC report on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability has effectively launched us into a new era.

An era where the whole world sees the climate crisis as a humanitarian crisis unfolding in front of us.

The IPCC report confirms what the IFRC and our network of 192-member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have witnessed for years: climate change is already disrupting the lives of billions, particularly the world’s poorest who have contributed the least to it.

Climate change is contributing to humanitarian crises, especially in contexts where people are already vulnerable. It is driving displacement, causing health issues, as well as flood and drought-induced food insecurity.

The report also confirms that climate impacts exacerbate and perpetuate vulnerabilities, as well as social and economic inequities. The consequences will be worse and sooner than we thought.

The unprecedented is no longer an excuse for being unprepared.

Extreme climate and weather events will be more frequent and more intense.

They will affect new places.

And many hazards will strike at once.

This means we can’t use what happened in the past to predict the future.

We must listen to the science and use it to plan for and protect against future risks.

This must be our standard way of working.

How can we, as the humanitarian community, use this science to take action together?

For our part, we are stepping up our climate action on the ground.

The IFRC network is adopting a proactive approach by establishing an ambitious Global Climate Platform aimed at mobilizing resources and significantly enhancing climate action initiatives in the most climate vulnerable countries around the world, with the goal of increasing community resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Our decades of experience in disaster risk management and climate action - and leveraging the climate science expertise - uniquely positions the IFRC network to scale up local climate action.

The Climate Platform will be co-created with interested partners and member National Societies and will link different sources of funding across the development, humanitarian, climate and private sectors.

Its ambition is to raise over 1 billion Swiss francs to support a five-year programme in at least 100 climate vulnerable countries, to help more than 53 million people reduce climate risks and live safer, more dignified lives.

None of this is possible without solidarity. We must unite as a humanitarian community.

We have worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross to build a community of committed organizations through the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations, to help steer collective action on how we must change and operate differently to address this crisis.

We now have over 220 signatories and three Governments who support the Charter, and the European Union will be adding its signature next week.

We invite you to join us, to make your own commitments and targets and to support others to implement the charter.

As the IPCC report tells us, our window for action is rapidly closing—we have no choice but to be bold and transformational in our actions.

This is why we’ve brought everyone together here today: to build a shared vision on how we can accelerate real and timely action from the humanitarian community.

Your excellencies, colleagues and friends- Barack Obama once said “We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.” Indeed, we have in our power to do something about it. Thank you.

ENDS

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About the event

The Climate Science and Humanitarian Dialogue was a hybrid virtual/in-person event co-hosted by the Permanent Missions of the Arab Republic of Egypt and the United Kingdom to the United Nations in Geneva and the IFRC, with the collaboration of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It took place on Friday 25 March 2022.

It convened participants from around the world to discuss the humanitarian implications of the most recent IPCC report on climate impacts, adaptation and vulnerability—covering topics ranging from anticipatory action to climate-related migration.

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