| Press release
Climate change made record April temperatures in the Western Mediterranean at least 100 times more likely
Human-caused climate change made the record-breaking heatwave in Spain, Portugal, Morocco and Algeria at least 100 times more likely and the heat would have been almost impossible without climate change, according to rapid attribution analysis by an international team of leading climate scientists as part of the World Weather Attribution group.
In late April, parts of southwestern Europe and North Africa experienced a massive heatwave that brought extremely high temperatures never previously recorded in the region at this time of the year, with temperatures reaching 36.9-41°C in the four countries. The event broke temperature records by a large margin, against the backdrop of an intense drought.
Across the world, climate change has made heatwaves more common, longer and hotter. To quantify the effect of climate change on these high temperatures, scientists analysed weather data and computer model simulations to compare the climate as it is today, after about 1.2°C of global warming since the late 1800s, with the climate of the past, following peer-reviewed methods. The analysis looked at the average of the maximum temperature for three consecutive days in April across southern Spain and Portugal, most of Morocco and the northwest part of Algeria.
The researchers found that climate change made the heatwave at least 100 times more likely, with temperatures up to 3.5°C hotter than they would have been without climate change. They calculated that the event is still unusual, even with the large increase in likelihood due to human-caused warming, indicating it would have been almost impossible without climate change.
As other analyses of extreme heat in Europe have found, extreme temperatures are increasing faster in the region than climate models have predicted, a question that is currently under intense research. Until overall greenhouse gas emissions are halted, global temperatures will continue to increase and events like these will become more frequent and severe. For example, if global mean temperatures rise an additional 0.8°C, to a total warming of 2°C, models show that a heatwave such as this one would be 1ºC hotter.
While people in the Mediterranean are no strangers to high temperatures, their occurrence in Aprilcombined with the ongoing drought likely increased impacts. The study was conducted by 10 researchers as part of the World Weather Attribution group, including scientists from universities and meteorological agencies in France, Morocco, the Netherlands and the UK.
Fatima Driouech, Associate Professor at the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, said:“The intense heatwave came on top of a preexisting multi-year drought, exacerbating the lack of water in Western Mediterranean regions and threatening the 2023 crop yield. As the planet warms, these situations will become more frequent and call for long-term planning, including implementing sustainable agricultural models and effective water management policies."
Roop Singh, Senior Climate Risk Advisor at the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, said:“Early season heatwaves tend to be deadlier as people have not yet prepared their homes or acclimated to summer temperatures. In Spain, for example, we saw heatwave adaptation measures put in place earlier than usual, which is exactly the type of adaptive heat action we need to see more of to reduce preventable deaths from heat.”
Friederike Otto, Senior Lecturer in Climate Science at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change
and the Environment, said:“The Mediterranean is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change in Europe. The region is already experiencing a very intense and long lasting drought and these high temperatures at a time of the year when it should be raining is worsening the situation. Without rapidly stopping the burning of fossil fuels
and adaptation towards a hotter, drier climate, losses and damages in the region will continue to rise dramatically. ”
Sjoukje Philip, Researcher at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, said: "Temperature records have again been broken by a large margin, as in some other recent heatwaves around the world. The fact that temperature trends in the region are higher than what models predict shows that we need to better understand the regional effects of climate change so that we can adapt to even more extreme heat in the future."
Click here to access the study.
World Weather Attribution (WWA) is an international collaboration that analyses and communicates the possible influence of climate change on extreme weather events, such as storms, extreme rainfall, heatwaves, cold spells, and droughts.
Previous studies by WWA include research that found that climate change exacerbated floods in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa this year. WWA studies have also shown that this year’s drought in the Northern Hemisphere was made more likely by climate change and that it increased the rainfall that led to Pakistan’s deadly flooding, but that it was not the main driver in Madagascar’s 2021 food crisis.
| Press release
IFRC and UN scale up Early Warnings for All into action on the ground
New York/Geneva, 21 March 2023 -The United Nations and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies areaccelerating action to ensure that everyone on Earth is protected by early warnings by 2027. A recentrecord-breaking tropical cyclone in Southeast Africa once again shows the paramount importance of these services to save lives and livelihoods from increasingly extremeweather and climate events.
To aid this work, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has convenedan Advisory Panel of leaders of UN agencies, multilateraldevelopment banks, humanitarian organizations, civil societyand IT companies on 21 March. The aim is to inject more political, technologicaland financial cloutto ensure that Early Warnings for Allbecomes a reality for everyone, everywhere.
The months ahead will see stepped up coordinated action,initially in 30 particularly at-risk countries, including Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries. Additionalcountries are expected to be added as this vital work with partners gathers pace, scaleand resourcing.
At the same time, the UN’s existing actions and initiatives to save lives and livelihoods,andbuild resilience across a wide range of other countries will continue and be reinforced, ensuring the Early Warnings for All campaign turns its pledges into life-saving reality on the ground for millions of the most vulnerable people. The aim is not to re-invent the wheel, but rather promote collaboration and synergies and to harness the power of mobile phones and mass communications.
“Now it is time for us to deliver results. Millions of lives are hanging in the balance.It is unacceptable that the countries and peoples that have contributed the least to creating the crisis are paying the heaviest prices,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
“People in Africa, South Asia, South and Central America, and small island states are 15 times more likely to die from climate disasters.These deaths are preventable. The evidence is clear: early warning systems are one of the most effective risk reductionand climate adaptation measures to reduce disaster mortality and economic losses,” said MrGuterres.
The need is urgent.
In the past 50 years, the number of recorded disasters has increased by a factor of five, driven in part by human-induced climate change which is super-charging our weather. This trend is expected to continue.
If no action is taken, the number of medium- or large-scale disaster events is projected to reach 560 a year – or 1.5 each day – by 2030.
The occurrence of severe weather and the effects of climate change will increase the difficulty, uncertainty, and complexity of emergency response efforts worldwide.
Half of countriesglobally do not have adequate early warning systems and even fewer have regulatory frameworks to link early warnings to emergency plans.
“The unprecedented flooding in Mozambique, Malawi and Madagascar from Tropical Cyclone Freddy highlights once again that our weather and precipitation is becoming more extreme and that water-related hazards are on the rise,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas. “The worst affected areas have received months’ worth of rainfall in a matter of days and the socio-economic impacts are catastrophic.”
“Accurate early warnings combined with coordinated disaster management on the ground prevented the casualty toll from rising even higher. But we can do even better and that is why the Early Warnings for All initiative is the top priority for WMO. Besidesavoiding damagesthe weather, climate and hydrological services are economically beneficial for agriculture, air, marine and ground transportation, energy, health, tourismand various businesses,” he said.
WMO and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) are spearheading the Early Warnings for All initiative, along with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
“The operationalization of this initiative is a clear example of how the UN System and partners can work together to save lives and protect livelihoods from disasters. Inclusive and multi-hazard early warning systems that close the ‘last mile’ areamong the best risk reduction methods in the face of climate-related hazards and geophysical hazards such as tsunamis. Achieving this is not only a clear target in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction but a moral imperative as well,” said Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of UNDRR.
Climate Change Adaptation
Early warning systems are widely regarded as the “low-hanging fruit” for climate change adaptation because they are a relatively cheapand effective way of protecting people and assets from hazards, including storms, floods, heatwavesand tsunamis to name a few.
Early Warning Systems providemore than a tenfold return on investment
Just 24 hours’ notice of an impending hazardous event can cut the ensuing damage by 30 per cent.
The Global Commission on Adaptation found that spending just US$800 million on such systems in developing countries would avoid losses of $3 to 16 billion per year.
“When disaster strikes, people and communities can turn to technology as a lifeline,” said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin. “By leading the work of the UN Early Warnings for All initiative on ‘Warning Dissemination and Communication,’ ITU is helping ensure that those at risk can act in time to our increasingly climate-vulnerable world.”
Alerts can be sent via radio and television channels, by social media, and with sirens. ITU recommends an inclusive, people-centered approach using the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), a standardized data format for public warnings, to keep messages coherent across different channels.
“Early warnings that translate into preparedness and response save lives. As climate-related disasters are becoming more frequent, more intense and more deadly, they are essential for everyone, but one in three people globally are still not covered. Early warning systems are the most effective and dignified way to prevent an extreme weather eventfrom creating a humanitarian crisis - especially for the most vulnerable and remote communities who bear the brunt of it. No lives should be lost in a predictable disaster,” said IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain.
The Early Warnings for All initiative callsfor initialnew targeted investments between 2023 and 2027 of US$ 3.1 billion – a sum which would be dwarfed by the benefits. This is a small fraction (about 6 per cent) of the requested US$ 50 billion in adaptation financing. It would cover strengthening disaster risk knowledge, observations and forecasting, preparedness and response, and communication of early warnings.
A range of new and pre-existing innovative financing solutions are requiredto implement the plan to protect every person on Earth. These include a scaling up of the Climate Risk Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative, theSystematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF), and accelerated investment programmesof climate funds, such as the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Adaptation Fund, and key Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), as well as other innovative new financial instruments across all stakeholders of the early warning value chain.
TheAdvisory Panel meeting will consider advancing thefour key Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (MHEWS) pillars:
Disaster risk knowledge and management (US$374 million): aims to collect data and undertake risk assessments to increase knowledge on hazards and vulnerabilitiesand trends. Led by UNDRR with support from WMO.
Detection, observations, monitoring, analysisand forecasting of hazards(US$1.18 billion). Develop hazard monitoring and early warning services. Led by WMO, with support from UN Development Programme(UNDP), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN Environment Programme(UNEP).
Dissemination and communication (US$550 million). Communicate risk information so it reaches all those who need it, andis understandable and usable. Led by ITU, with support from IFRC, UNDP, and WMO.
Preparedness and response ($US1 billion): Build national and community response capabilities. Led by IFRC, with support from Risk Informed Early Action Partnership (REAP), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and World Food Programme(WFP).
Notes for Editors :
Background to the initiative
The Early Warnings ForAll Initiative (EW4All) was formally launched by the UN Secretary-General in November 2022 at the COP27 meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh.
The Initiative calls for the whole worldto be covered by an early warning system by the end of 2027.
Early Warnings for All is co-led by WMO and UNDRR and supported by pillar leads ITU and IFRC. Implementing partners are:FAO, OCHA, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, REAP, and WFP.
The Advisory Panel will monitorand report on the progress against the achievement of the goal to the UN Secretary-General, and has the following objectives:
Assess progress of the Early Warnings for All initiative against its goals and targets
Build political and overall momentum and support for the Early Warnings for All initiative
Provide overall recommendations for the mobilization of resources, and
Monitor scientific and technical development related to early warning systems
Membership of Advisory Panel
António Guterres, UN Secretary-General
Selwin Hart, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action and Just Transition
Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General
Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction
Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary-General
Doreen Bogdan-Martin, ITU Secretary-General
Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator
Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director
SimaBahous, UN Women Executive Director
Rabab Fatima, USG, Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (OHRLLS
Oscar Fernández-Taranco, ASG Development Coordination Office (UNDCO)
Martin Griffiths, USG/OCHA
Yannick Glemarec, GCF Executive Director
Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President, Microsoft
Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA
Michel Lies, Chair of the Insurance Development Forum
MsTasneem Essop, Executive Director of Climate Action Network ,Climate Action Network
JoyeNajm Mendez, Youth Representative, SG’s Youth Advisory Group
Prof. Anthony Nyong, Director, Climate Change and Green Growth, African Development Bank
H.E Sameh Shoukry COP 27 President
H.E. DrSultanAl Jaber, COP 28 Presidentdesignate
In Geneva:Anna Tuson, +41 79 895 6924, [email protected]
In Washington: Marie Claudet, +1 202 999 8689, [email protected]
| Press release
IPCC report; IFRC: “This is a call for transformation. There is no time for delay”
Geneva, 20 March 2023 - The following quotes can be attributed to Erin Coughlan de Perez, who is a Lead Author of one of the underlying reports from the IPCC synthesis report released today and IFRC expert on climate change.
“This report is a stark reminder of what we, the IFRC, as the world’s largest humanitarian network have been witnessing and warning for years: climate change is driving humanitarian crises and human suffering around the world. The window is closing, but the report also shows that it is not too late yet. It is time for the international community to take urgent action to reduce emissions to stay below the 1.5 degrees warming limit and work with communities to adapt and prepare for climate change impacts.
What is interesting about this report is that we usually talk about different parts of the climate crisis separately - reducing emissions, adapting to save lives, or responding to losses and damages. This report acknowledges that we need to do everything at once, and it gives a roadmap for how we can achieve this. That roadmap is not a simple one, where we just make a few minor changes and keep going with the status quo. Instead, it is a call to transformation - fundamentally altering society to achieve climate-resilient development.
The recent agreement at COP27 on loss and damage to establish new funding arrangements for vulnerable countries is a welcome step forward. However, progress on climate adaptation remains uneven, with the gaps between what is needed and what has been achieved being starkly felt by those living in lower-income countries.
More financial pledges are needed, and funds must reach the communities most affected, be predictable and flexible to invest in solutions such as early warning systems linked to community action plans to prevent and respond to climate impacts”.
To request an interview or for more information, please contact:
In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 43 67
In Washington: Marie Claudet, +1 202 999 8689
| Press release
Pacific: Urgent call for collective action to reduce the impact of climate change and disasters
Suva, 23 February 2023 – The escalating impact from climate hazards will destroy decades of development progress in the Pacific if there is not a major shift from disaster response to anticipatory action, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) concluded during this week’s Red Cross Pacific Leaders Meeting in Suva, Fiji.
Pacific island states make up the majority of countries that suffer the highest relative losses – between 1 percent and 9 percent of their GDP – from the impact of natural hazards.
Katie Greenwood, IFRC’s Pacific Head of Delegation, said:
“We have a lot of humanitarian challenges in the Pacific which we need to address together as a region and not only as the Red Cross in each country.
Climate change and disasters are all constantly affecting our region in some shape or form. We need to ensure resources, financing, and knowledge to address the challenges of climate change are available to be able to better anticipate how we can prepare and respond.
To effectively manage the risks of disasters, we need to focus on investing in disaster response as well as resilience building actions ahead of disasters which also supports risk-informed development. As a result, we can minimise the human and economic losses that can set back a country’s development progress."
Climate change is exacerbating underlying vulnerabilities which will continue to degrade livelihoods and resilience as the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as cyclones and floods are set to increase in the coming decades.
Further compounded with longer term, severe events such as droughts, sea level rise, king tides and saltwater intrusion, the Red Cross must lead, with their communities across the Pacific, on anticipation and preparedness for the changing nature of disaster impact.
“More must be done in terms of anticipatory action, adaptation, and preparedness, to save lives and livelihoods.”
The Red Cross in the Pacific are Australian Red Cross, Cook Islands Red Cross, Fiji Red Cross, Kiribati Red Cross, Marshall Islands Red Cross, Micronesia Red Cross, New Zealand Red Cross, Palau Red Cross, Papua New Guinea Red Cross, Samoa Red Cross, Solomon Islands Red Cross, Tonga Red Cross, Tuvalu Red Cross and Vanuatu Red Cross.
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
In Suva: Soneel Ram, +679 9983 688, [email protected]
Cholera is back but the world is looking away
This article was originally published on the BMJ website here.
Once thought to be close to eradication, cholera is back—dehydrating and killing people within hours and ravaging communities across six continents. Despite the alarming numbers of cases and deaths over the past year, decision makers are averting their eyes, leaving people to die from a preventable and treatable disease.
The healthcare community should sound the alarm for immediate actions. A strong and global emergency response is urgently needed, but it is only a first step. More than ever the world must invest in water and sanitation systems and prepare communities before outbreaks occur.
Over the past 200 years, there have been seven cholera pandemics, and today’s surge is the largest in a decade. In 2022, 30 countries reported cholera outbreaks, including places that had been free of the disease for decades. In Haiti, where millions of people have been displaced by violence, cholera has killed hundreds of people in just a few months.Lebanon is experiencing its first outbreak since 1993, with more than 6000 recorded cases.After devastating floods, Nigeria had a major cholera outbreak.In Malawi, the worst outbreak in decades has left 620 people dead since March.Schools are now closed in an attempt to stop the surge of infections.
The risk of cholera transmission multiplies when people live in poor or overcrowded conditions and lack access to safe water, proper sanitation, and hygiene facilities. A diarrhoeal disease caused by theVibrio choleraebacteria, cholera is commonly spread through contaminated food or water. Left untreated, it can cause severe dehydration and be deadly within hours.
Almost half of the world's population—approximately 3.6 billion people—live without safely managed sanitation in their home, leaving them vulnerable to cholera outbreaks. The World Health Organization reports that at least two billion people consume water from sources contaminated with faeces.
The root causes behind the spate of recent cholera outbreaks are, however, complex and multifaceted. Overlapping humanitarian crises around the world, such as migration, conflicts, poverty, and social injustice are forcing people to live in unsanitary conditions, and this is fuelling the spread of this infectious disease. In the aftermath of the covid-19 pandemic, the number of people living in extreme poverty increased for the first time in a generation. And now, rising inflation and the repercussions of the conflict in Ukraine could worsen an already dire situation.
Climate change plays a part in contributing to the spread of cholera. More frequent and intense extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and floods, have resulted in major disruption to water treatment processes and damaged sanitary infrastructure in many parts of the world. The combination of higher temperatures and extreme precipitation leads to a higher incidence of waterborne infections like cholera.
Factors such as food insecurity also exacerbate the vulnerability of communities to the spread of cholera. Malnourishment weakens the immune system, increasing a person’s risk of severe symptoms and death. As global events drive up food prices, the number of malnourished people has also risen. An estimated 140 million people in Africa face severe food insecurity.
Cholera can be treated through a simple method called oral rehydration treatment, but many people cannot access this lifesaving tool—an estimated 56% of children with diarrhoea are not able to receive this treatment. Cholera can also be prevented through the oral cholera vaccine, but supply cannot meet current needs. By the end of 2022, 11 countries experiencing cholera outbreaks had requested 61 million doses of the vaccine—far more than the 36 million doses that were expected to be produced. The shortage of vaccines has recently forced the International Coordinating Group, of which the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is a part, to switch from a two dose to a single dose strategy so that coverage can be expanded.
In places such as Malawi and Haiti, the mortality rate from cholera tripled in 2022. Nobody should die from a preventable and treatable disease. This level of suffering is morally unacceptable.
The IFRC has launched a time sensitive emergency response in 20 countries, where trained Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers track transmission routes while also ensuring that sanitation facilities are working and that safe water supplies are available. At the community level, teams treat people by administering oral rehydration treatment and referring those most severely affected to hospital. In Malawi, where the number of infections is increasing daily, the Red Cross has established 14 oral rehydration points across the country and is reaching more than 753 000 people with health and hygiene campaigns.
Volunteers also play a major part in cholera vaccination campaigns. The Lebanese Red Cross, for example, has contributed considerably to the rollout of the national cholera vaccination campaign. Through door-to-door visits of households, institutions, and organisations, the Lebanese Red Cross vaccinated more than 260 000 people in only 39 days across 151 municipalities.
In countries where cholera is endemic, we are implementing sustainable long term water systems, sanitation, and hygiene programmes. For instance, in the countries where we are operating, we built and rehabilitated 1300 water systems, more than 7000 sanitation facilities in households, schools, and health centres, and close to 6000 handwashing stations, improving the lives of more than three million people around the world.
Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers are on the frontlines of this public health emergency, but we are not able to do this alone. The resurgence of cholera around the world despite decades of eradication efforts suggest that cholera control, prevention, and response mechanisms must be rapidly amplified.
To prevent outbreaks, reduce transmission, and save lives, we need political commitment and greater financial resources. We must ensure access to safe water supplies and invest in proper sanitation infrastructure in the communities most at risk. We need to increase the production and distribution of oral cholera vaccines. Public health systems and cholera treatment centres must be better funded. Lastly, we need to build trust in communities. People are less likely to follow preventive measures if they do not trust their community leaders and health systems.
But to really put an end to cholera, we cannot forget the humanitarian crises at root level. Governments, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector must finally mobilise and increase investments in infrastructure and health and social systems so that they can withstand the fallout from disasters, conflicts, and climate change.
One of the most important lessons we learnt from the covid-19 pandemic is that no one is safe until everyone is safe. It is in everyone’s best interests to work together and ensure that no one is left behind.
Visit our water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) page for more information about cholera.
And follow Petra on Twitter for more updates on the IFRC's work in health and care: @petra_khoury
IFRC Secretary General on the year ahead: "Hope in the midst of hopelessness"
It’s easy to feel a sense of hopelessness these days – climate crises, people on the verge of starvation in parts of Africa, multiple wars, protracted conflicts, people having to leave their homes out of desperation, shameful cases of exclusion in many parts of the world, rising mental health crises, people not having basic access to water and sanitation. This list can go on and on.
While these crises are affecting everyone, the marginalized, excluded, and last mile communities are bearing the brunt of these crises disproportionately.
Some 43 years ago, I signed up to be a young volunteer of the Nepal Red Cross. I joined not knowing how my life would unfold and where this would lead. I didn’t fully understand then, but I do now – the mission and mandate of our IFRC network, and the fundamental principles that guide our work with a very simple vision--to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
Three years ago, we didn’t know the scale of impact of a global pandemic, international armed conflict in the middle of Europe and all other global crises we have been responding to.
In this context, let me share some of my reflections on the current state of play.
Reflection on the IFRC’s mandate and relevance
As the world grapples with “polycrisis”, our mandate becomes as relevant as ever, if not more.
The IFRC is at the forefront of humanitarian efforts in times of disaster, crises, and other emergencies. By providing immediate assistance and long-term sustainable development programmes, the IFRC network puts people at the centre of vital, life-saving assistance.
We work to strengthen the resilience of communities in vulnerable settings, ensuring they are better prepared for and better able to cope with our changing world. In a time of great global disparities in terms of access to services, we bridge the gap.
The role of truly local organizations like our member National Societies is critical to reach the most disadvantaged sections of societies. Localization is fundamental as crises grow; but resources do not keep pace with them. Business as usual is not going to work. True empowerment of community organizations and decolonization of aid will be critical in 2023 and beyond.
Reflection on our fundamental principles, particularly the principle of neutrality
The threat to our principles, particularly the principle of neutrality, lies in the fact that the international armed conflict in Ukraine has taken on a much-heightened political dimension. This has placed great pressure on the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
We must maintain a neutral stance and perform impartial aid operations, to ensure our principle of neutrality is observed. While we remain sensitive to the challenges emerging out of the conflict and we will be doing everything in our capacity to deliver on our mandate, it is essential that our fundamental principles remain the bedrock of our actions. Failing to do so will irreparably damage the notion of neutral, independent humanitarian action.
Amid rapid changes in the global humanitarian landscape, one thing remains constant – that’s our fundamental principles. Our values and principles transcend all the divisions that exist in the world.
Reflection on current trends
We closely monitor the global trends that impact our work. Climate and Environmental crises have been at the forefront. Social issues like the erosion of trust, migration and displacement, inequality, global health and food crises are directly linked to our mandate. Economic issues like the cost-of-living crisis and energy crises will impact our work. Technological issues, like the opportunity created by digitalization as well as the risks arising from the digital divide and those linked to humanitarian data security, will have to be considered. We must also be mindful of the global political landscape and current lack of global political leadership able to deal with multiple crises.
The international armed conflict in Ukraine will significantly impact the geopolitical landscape and will exacerbate the humanitarian situation across the globe. We must be humble enough to acknowledge that there is no humanitarian solution to most of these crises. There must be a political solution and we must support and advocate for the same.
Reflection on our ambitions
Our ambitions are simple as we deal with these trends.
We will continue to be bold in our support to our membership both on humanitarian action and in building resilience.
We will work harder to build a trustful relationship with our membership and governance structure.
We will invest more in National Society transformations leveraging the power of youth and volunteers. Advancing gender and inclusion will require consistent push.
We must do more to be a learning organization that continuously evolves. Within the family, we will continue to build mutually respectful movement cooperation.
We will expand our humanitarian diplomacy efforts and further strengthen our highly professional partnership with all partners. Further building on the new operating model and new resourcing architecture, we will develop more inclusive IFRC wide approaches.
We will accelerate our digitalization journey.
We will continue to strengthen agility and accountability. Respectful workplace, issues of fraud and corruption, sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment, racism, and discrimination will be dealt with proactively and decisively.
The world is full of daunting challenges. But it is also full of people and organizations committed to confront them and work together to bring about positive change. We are one of those organizations.
We will lead from the front, working with our membership and their volunteers. We will be bold in our actions, but calm and composed in our approaches.
There will of course be challenges along the way, but we will always move forward with integrity. We will have to be at our best when the challenges are the greatest. And we will have to always bring hope amid hopelessness.
Last year ‘eighth in a row’ of temperatures above pre-industrial level, threatening Paris target of 1.5°C
This article was originally posted on the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre website here.
The past eight years were the warmest on record globally, fuelled by “ever-rising emissions and accumulated heat”, according to six international datasets consolidated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and explained yesterday.
The WMO says the global temperature last year was 1.15°C above an 1850–1900 baseline, and 2022 was the eighth year in a row that it reached at least 1°C above pre-industrial levels, apress releasefrom Geneva said.
“The likelihood of – temporarily – breaching the 1.5°C limit of the Paris Agreement is increasing with time,” it added.
The persistence of a coolingLa Niña, now in its third year, means that 2022 was not the warmest on record, but at least the sixth warmest nevertheless.
The WMO work shows a ten-year global average to 2022 of 1.14°C above the 19th century baseline, compared to the IPCC’s most recent figure 1.09°C for the decade to 2020, indicating that long-term warming continues.
WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said yesterday: “In 2022, we faced several dramatic weather disasters which claimed far too many lives and livelihoods and undermined health, food, energy and water security and infrastructure.
“Large areas of Pakistan were flooded, with major economic losses and human casualties. Record-breaking heatwaves have been observed in China, Europe, North and South America [and] drought in the Horn of Africa threatens a humanitarian catastrophe.
“There is a need to enhance preparedness for such extreme events and to ensure that we meet the UN target of early warnings for all in the next five years.”
The WMO said its provisionalState of the Global Climate in 2022report speaks of “record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere”, continuing to cause extreme heatwaves, drought and devastating floods, and affecting millions of people.
Responding to the latest figures on global temperature, IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain said: “People around the globe are feeling the effects of our warming climate, and scientific data continues to reinforce this terrifying reality. Inclusive climate action, led by those most at risk, is key to combating the climate crisis.
"The window to implement life-saving adaptation measures is slowly closing, but there is still time to help communities adapt to climate-related disasters, including investments in early warning systems that reach everyone.”
Last September, the IFRC unveiled aOne Fund, Two Pillarsapproach for its Disaster Response Emergency Fund, reflecting an increased commitment to anticipatory action.
Temperature rankings of individual years should be considered in the long-term context since the differences between years can be marginal, the WMO press release added. “Since the 1980s, each decade has been warmer than the previous one. This is expected to continue.”
| Press release
COP27: Now is the time to transform words into action
In response to the Sharm El-Sheikh Implementation Plan, a statement by President Francesco Rocca and Secretary General Jagan Chapagain of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC):
While leaders have been meeting at COP27 for the past two weeks, families are dealing with the very real impacts of extreme weather—unable to wait for promises to transform into action.
Over the past two weeks, the IFRC’s risk watch system put out alerts for some 14 floods in Africa, 18 in the Americas, 35 in Asia Pacific, five in the European Union and two in the MENA region. During this period, four named tropical storms threatened destruction. Wildfires have ripped through communities in ten countries, affecting more than 10,000 hectares. And on Friday, at least three people died as the result of floods in Kigali, Rwanda and 11 in Venezuela. In Ethiopia 185,000 people were displaced. Communities in Africa and Afghanistan continue to grapple with food insecurity, which are alarming compounding crises.
Loss and Damage landed on the COP agenda for the first time, and today world leaders have agreed to the establishment of new funding arrangements assisting developing nations, especially those most at-risk of the adverse effects of climate change. We welcome the finance pledges which have been made on Loss and Damage, which are historically important conversations and positive steps forward. These need to be complemented by new and additional finance that reaches the people and communities most at risk – and to be predictable, adequate, and flexible in order to address climate related crisis.
We are pleased to see the agreement to operationalize the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage to provide crucial technical assistance to reduce and respond to the impacts communities are already facing. However, we must raise our ambition to reduce emissions and this COP did not deliver on that front. Every increment of global warming matters to save lives and livelihoods, and is therefore critical to keep global temperatures below the 1.5C degrees warming limit.
We welcome the focus on Early Warning Systems in the Sharm El-Sheikh Implementation Plan, which reflects realities at the frontlines of the climate crisis that the IFRC has been bringing to the fore for over two decades. Reducing risk and saving lives, especially in last mile communities, is what our teams around the globe do every single day and it is heartening to see this work being expanded. To be most effective, early warnings must be followed by early action and these systems must be rooted in the communities—including those hardest to reach and families stuck in protracted crises.
As the humanitarian impacts of climate change keep growing, so too should the finance for adaptation, ensuring it reaches the most affected and most at-risk. As the legacy of the “implementation COP,” global investment needs to reach the local level.
It is time to turn words and commitments into action at the national level, to bring the agreement to life and make a real difference in the lives of people and communities most impacted by the climate crisis.
As the IFRC network, we are committed to scaling up local action to respond to the climate crisis, working with communities to build preparedness and resilience in face of rising risks and impacts.
Climate and environmental crises are a threat to humanity and we all have a role to play. Now we must look forward with focused determination and hope.
Our collective actions can inspire ambition we need to see in the world.
In Geneva: Jenelle Eli, +1 202 603 6803,[email protected]
| Press release
COP27: Negotiations are missing the ambition needed to protect those hardest hit by climate change, warns IFRC
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is raising concern that progress is stalling at COP27 and that there is a risk that the ambition to deliver and build on commitments made in Glasgow is slipping away.
With just a few days left for leaders to take decisive action on climate change, commitments to make steep and immediate emission reductions to stay below the 1.5oC warming limit—and thus limit further human suffering—are falling behind. And while negotiators are grappling with issues designed to limit and respond to the rising human impacts of climate change, technical discussions on delivering new and additional finance for loss and damage, as well as adaptation, are progressing too slowly to meet the needs of people.
Instead, the IFRC calls on Parties to build on what was agreed in Glasgow and raise ambition and action on mitigation, adaptation and on loss and damage.
“Combating the climate crisis and its effects takes bold thinking and even more ambitious action. World leaders cannot afford downgrading, but must raise their level of ambition to tackle the climate crisis, which is already dangerous for communities around the globe,” said Francesco Rocca, President of the IFRC.
“Letting up on ambitious goals sends a clear signal back to countries that meeting their previous commitments is optional. This is unacceptable. Communities—especially those most impacted by climate change—need promises that deliver with new and additional support to meet the scale of needs,” remarked Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General of the IFRC.
This is the critical decade for action. The world cannot afford to stall or backtrack on lifesaving commitments. There is no time to delay. Already at 1.1oC warming, IFRC found that 86% of all disasters in the last decade are linked to climate and weather extremes, affecting 1.7 billion people. This is an increase of almost 35% since the 1990s.
Communities are being repeatedly hit by extreme events - such as Kenya, which faced floods then locusts and now a drought triggering food insecurity and leading to malnutrition and death across the horn of Africa.
“We must invest in local action. Without it, we will still be saying the same things at COP28,” reiterated Dr. Asha Mohammed, Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross.
If we are to ever meet the needs of communities suffering these multiple repeated and overlapping events, it is essential to invest in ambitious mitigation, to scale up locally led adaptation and address losses and damages. Parties must respond to the growing demands for finance to reach the local level, reaching communities at the scale needed. These requests must be heard and translated into meaningful decision text.
Recent IFRC research demonstrates that many countries and communities are getting left behind when it comes to investment in climate adaptation. Existing funding is not enough to meet current needs, let alone the increased humanitarian impacts of more frequent and intense extreme weather and climate events.
According to Maarten van Aalst, Director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, COP27 needs to deliver on three fronts: tangible progress on mobilizing new and additional funding to address loss and damage; more finance for climate adaptation; and increased ambition to implement rapid emission reductions to keep hopes of limiting warming to 1.5C alive.
To request an interview or for more information, please contact:
In Sharm El-Sheikh:Jenelle Eli, +1 202 603 6803, [email protected]
In Washington: Marie Claudet, +1 202 999 8689, [email protected]
| Press release
IFRC launches Global Climate Resilience Platform to support 500 million people on climate crisis frontlines
Geneva, 9 November 2022 – As COP27 gets underway what’s most urgently needed is clear: accelerated investment in communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis.
At a make-or-break moment, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is launching today its Global Climate Resilience Platform to increase the resilience of communities most vulnerable to the changing climate.
The new initiative aims to support 500 million people by raising at least CHF1 billion through a five-year global initiative focusing on early warning and anticipatory action, nature-based solutions, and safety nets and shock responsive social protection.
Secretary General of the IFRC, Jagan Chapagain, says:
“We've launched the Global Climate Resilience Platform to create transformational change through an immense scale up of investment at the local community level, heeding the call for faster and broader efforts to address the climate crisis.
“Real sustainable change can only happen when the people impacted are driving decisions. Funding local climate action without having to go through multiple layers is crucial if we are to be truly successful in building resilience from the ground up.”
Through the platform, the IFRC network will support meaningful participation and the active leadership of women, local communities, Indigenous peoples, youth and other marginalised and/or underrepresented groups in the development and implementation of locally led climate action in 100 countries most vulnerable to climate change.
President of the IFRC, Francesco Rocca, says:
"The critical challenge of this decade is how to support and finance climate resilience initiatives at a global scale. The key is found in the shift of power and resources to local actors.”
IFRC’s Making it Count: Smart Climate Financing for the Most Vulnerable People report has found that many highly vulnerable countries are not receiving the climate adaptation support they need and are being left behind.
On average, they received less than a quarter of the adaptation funding per person that went to low or very low vulnerability countries.
In addition, only an estimated 10% of funding is granted at the local level as donors instead favour large-scale national infrastructure projects that risk missing the mark for local communities.
Under Secretary General of the IFRC, Nena Stoiljkovic, said the platform focused on the key areas that had been identified as having the most potential for transformative impact at scale through increased investment and were expected to generate multiple dividends, including—first and foremost—saving lives.
She noted that the initiative will link sources of funding across humanitarian, development and climate funds as well as innovative financing mechanisms involving the private sector to meet its ambitious but critical targets.
Increased resilience also stimulates sustainable development and innovation and is a more efficient focus in humanitarian response: investing one dollar in climate resilience in communities can save six dollars of investments in disaster response.
In Geneva:Jenelle Eli, +1 202 603 6803,[email protected]
In Washington: Marie Claudet, +1 202 999 8689, [email protected]
IFRC Secretary General speech at the Early Warnings for All Executive Action Plan launch
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The IFRC welcomes the UN Secretary-General’s pledge on Early Warning Systems for All.
Over the last decade, some of the most recent—and often predictable—extreme weather events were the most deadly, costly, and devastating.
From our experience, we know that early warnings can only work if they are turned into early anticipatory actions.
This message has come through well in the Early Warning for All initiative.
The IFRC has been contributing to 3 of the 4 pillars of the executive action plan on this initiative and leading on the ‘preparedness to respond' pillar.
We thank everyone involved in the development of the plan of action.
Now is the time to put the plan into action. Here is how:
First: help create an enabling environment where local communities and organizations like our National Red Cross and Red Crescent societies are truly empowered to lead local actions. Their power through their knowledge and ownership can be truly transformative in realising the ambitions of early warning and early action. Be courageous to unleash that power.
Second: the key to success is the power of partnership. Let's bring together and use the best of our organizations to implement the plan of action.
Third: The Early Warning for All initiative is most effective if we leverage the power of existing coordination and collaboration platforms such as the IFRC hosted Risk-informed Early Action Partnership and Anticipation Hub, as well as the Centre of Excellence.
Finally, put in place ambitious financing mechanisms. Change will not come without an investment. The IFRC’s Disaster Response Emergency Fund is a good example as it can disburse funds ahead of disasters to reduce their humanitarian impact.
Ultimately our collective success should be measured by the lives saved and livelihoods preserved.
The IFRC network looks forward to a strong collaboration on the Early Warning for All initiative with the WMO and other partners.
Together, let us ensure that early warnings are people-centered, including those in the furthest to reach places.
Global Climate Resilience Platform
Our Global Climate Resilience Platform aims to increase the climate resilience, and build the adaptation skills, of 500 million people in the most climate-vulnerable countries.
| Press release
COP27: The world cannot afford another set of vague promises, warns IFRC
Geneva, 1 November 2022 – No region in the world is spared from the devastating impacts of the climate crisis, but the communities most vulnerable to its effects are getting the least help.
New data from the world’s largest humanitarian network shows that none of the globe's 30 most vulnerable countries are among the 30 highest recipients of adaptation funding per capita.
At COP27, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) will call on world leaders to cut greenhouse gas emissions and significantly scale up funding to enable the most vulnerable communities to adapt and cope with the catastrophic impacts they are already facing.
Francesco Rocca, IFRC President said:
“Our planet is in crisis and climate change is killing the most at-risk. COP27 will fail if world leaders do not support communities who are on the frontlines of climate change. Families who are losing loved ones, homes or livelihoods cannot afford to wait for vague promises or weak commitments.”
“To save lives now and in the future, we need political action and concrete changes that prioritize the communities most at risk and help them become more resilient. The climate crisis is here now, and we need to protect those worst affected.”
Science is now alarmingly clear on the humanitarian impacts of climate change. IFRC data shows that in the last 10 years, 86% of all disasters triggered by natural hazards were caused by weather and climate-related events, killing at least 410,000 people and affecting a further 1.7 billion. The 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report showed for the first time that climate change is already contributing to humanitarian crises, with an estimated 3.3-3.6 billion people living in contexts vulnerable to climate change.
Caroline Holt, Director of Disaster, Climate, and Crises at the IFRC remarked:
“Increasing adaptation funding is critical to help countries address climate change’s impacts and prepare for the future, but the new IFRC analysis demonstrates that the funding isn’t getting to places and communities who need it most. Climate adaptation funding per person averages less than 1 CHF per person in countries where vulnerability is highest.”
Somalia – where extreme droughts have brought the country to the brink of famine – was ranked highest for climate vulnerability but ranked only 64th for adaptation funding in 2020*. Somalia received less than a dollar per person in climate change adaptation each year, while the Central African Republic received less than two cents.
According to Maarten Van Aalst, Director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, when communities are given the tools to prepare for and anticipate climate risks, they can prevent extreme weather events from becoming disasters. Van Aalst points out that the world must also step up efforts to tackle the losses and damages already experienced by people on the frontline of the climate crisis.
Notes to editors:
View photos and videos with proper credit on IFRC ShaRED.
National Red Cross Red Crescent Societies not only respond to disasters when they occur, but also play a critical role in preventing hazards such as floods and heatwaves from becoming disasters. Working at the front lines in communities before, during and after disasters, they know what is needed to respond to climate crises and help communities prevent and adapt to the rising risks of climate change. The IFRC aims to support member National Societies to reach 250 million people each year with climate adaptation and mitigation services to reduce suffering and vulnerability.
* Climate Vulnerability is determined based on a combination of ND-GAIN and INFORM Index analysis of long term and short-term climate vulnerability. ND-GAIN quantifies national vulnerability to climate disruptions, while also assessing a country’s readiness to leverage investment for adaptive actions. Vulnerability is calculated as a combination of exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity, while readiness incorporates economic, governance and social components. The INFORM index quantifies national disaster risk based on historical exposure to hazards, vulnerability and coping capacity.
For more information or to arrange an interview:
In Washington: Marie Claudet, +1 202 999 8689, [email protected]
In Geneva: Jenelle Eli, +1 202 603 6803, [email protected]
| Press release
Heatwaves account for some of the deadliest disasters and are intensifying, warn the IFRC and the UN humanitarian relief agency ahead of COP27
Geneva, 10 October – Record high temperatures this year—which are fueling catastrophes in Somalia, Pakistan and around the world—foreshadow a future with deadlier, more frequent and more intense heat-related humanitarian emergencies, a new report warns.
Released a month ahead of the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27), Extreme Heat: Preparing for the heatwaves of the futuresays that, with climate change making heatwaves ever more dangerous, aggressive steps must be taken now to avert potentially recurrent heat disasters.
“As the climate crisis goes unchecked, extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and floods, are hitting the most vulnerable people the hardest,” says Martin Griffiths, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. “Nowhere is the impact more brutally felt than in countries already reeling from hunger, conflict and poverty.”
The report—the first to be published jointly by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)—offers concrete steps that humanitarians and decision makers can take to mitigate extreme heat’s worst effects. 2022 has already seen communities across North Africa, Australia, Europe, South Asia and the Middle East suffocate under record-high temperatures. Most recently the Western United States and China have buckled under severe heat.
The report, notes that, in the coming decades, heatwaves are predicted to meet and exceed human physiological and social limits in regions such as the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and South and South-West Asia. Extreme heatwaves in these regions, where humanitarian needs are already high, would result in large-scale suffering and loss of life, population movements and further entrenched inequality, the report warns.
“The climate crisis is intensifying humanitarian emergencies all around the world. To avert its most devastating impacts, we must invest equally on adaptation and mitigation, particularly in the countries most at risk,” says Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General of the IFRC.
“At COP27, we will urge world leaders to ensure that this investment reaches local communities that are on the frontline of the climate crisis. If communities are prepared to anticipate climate risks and equipped to take action, we will prevent extreme weather events from becoming humanitarian disasters.”
Heatwaves prey on inequality, with the greatest impacts on isolated and marginalized people. The report stresses that the urgent priority must be large and sustained investments that mitigate climate change and support long-term adaptation for the most vulnerable people.
The report also finds that, although the impacts of extreme heat are global, some people are hit harder than others. Vulnerable communities, such as agricultural workers, are being pushed to the front lines while the elderly, children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women are at higher risk of illness and death.
The world’s lowest-income countries are already experiencing disproportionate increases in extreme heat. These countries are the least to blame for climate change, but they will see a significant increase in the number of at-risk people in the coming decades.
Building on a growing body of knowledge and good practice around early warning, anticipatory action and response systems to heatwaves, the report suggests the following five key steps to help the most vulnerable people:
Provide early information on heatwaves to help people and authorities take timely action.
Support preparedness and expand anticipatory action, especially by local actors, who are often the first responders in emergencies.
Find new and more sustainable ways of financing local action.
Adapt humanitarian response to accelerating extreme heat. Humanitarian organizations are already testing approaches such as more thermally appropriate emergency housing, ‘green roofs’, cooling centres and adjustments to school timetables, but this will require significant investments in research and learning.
Strengthen engagement across the humanitarian, development and climate spheres.
Addressing the impact of extreme heat in the long-term and helping communities, towns, cities and countries adapt to extreme heat risk will require sustained development planning.
The full report is available here.
Note to editors:
Videos and photos are available at this link and this linkfor use by the media.
For more information, please contact:
IFRC (Geneva): Jenelle Eli, +1-202-603-6803, [email protected]
OCHA (New York): Jaspreet Kindra, +1-929-273-8109, [email protected]
| Press release
IFRC and United Nations ESCAP partner to strengthen resilience in the world of climate change
Bangkok, 12 September 2022 -The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have formalized a partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding to promote building resilience in the world of climate change.
Climate change is affecting every aspect of human life in all corners of the world. Traditional knowledge and weather patterns are no longer dependable with natural disasters and abnormal temperatures increasing in both frequency and intensity. As the ongoing unprecedented flood in Pakistan shows, we need all hands-on deck to be prepared for the uncertainty and colossal scale of damage from the impact of climate change.
In this way, the MoU between ESCAP, the most inclusive intergovernmental platform in the Asia-Pacific region, and the IFRC, the world’s largest humanitarian network with a view to prevent and alleviate human suffering, comes at an opportune time when regional and organizational cooperation is very much needed. The two organizations have numerous areas for collaboration, including but not limited to climate action, disaster risk management, and building inclusive and resilient communities.
“It’s time to capitalize on the untapped potential of regional and subregional cooperation to address the region’s shared vulnerabilities and risks that are more critical at 1.5 to 2 degrees warming,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP. She further underscored, “If we are unable to contain the warming of the planet, the world will need to prepare for a new normal of “disasters on steroids.”
“When we join forces, we are more powerful than when we work alone. Together we combine the strength of Governments with our global humanitarian network which includes our expertise, data, tools, knowledge, and human resources. This combination is very powerful to address the global challenges we face– especially the sharp increase in climate related disasters that can only be solved together,” affirmed Jagan Chapagain, Secretary-General of the IFRC.
For more information:
UN ESCAP Communications and Knowledge Management Section, +66 2288 1869, [email protected]
Confronting the environmental causes of Africa’s food crisis
This blog was originally posted on the WWF website here.
Africa is facing its worst food crisis in 40 years. Nearly 114 million people across sub-Saharan Africa – a figure approaching half the entire population of the United States – face severe food insecurity. In Eastern Africa, 50 million people are at risk. Across the Sahel, the number of people needing emergency food assistance has quadrupled to 30 million in the past seven years.
The causes of this current crisis are manifold. Conflict and the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have played their part. But more significantly, the continent has been wracked by prolonged drought, flooding and swarms of desert locusts – natural hazards, exacerbated by man-made climate change and the degradation of nature.
It is the most vulnerable who are bearing the brunt of the current hunger crisis. Men and women are losing their livelihoods as crops fail, animals starve or die of thirst, and soil is washed away. Children go hungry, and their education is abandoned. Women eat less, and drought means dietary requirements, especially for young girls, pregnant and lactating women, and menstrual hygiene are relegated.
There is an urgent need for life-saving humanitarian assistance in all countries in Africa. Organizations such as Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are stepping up their actions, with the IFRC, governments and partners, to provide this urgent support. But they recognize, as does WWF, the need to also build resilience to shocks and to address the root causes of food insecurity.
A changing climate
Many underlying causes can be found in the twin environmental crises of climate and nature loss, which are compounded with the crises caused by factors including poverty and conflict. The rising levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere – primarily from the rich and middle-income countries of the global North – are driving temperature rises that are disrupting weather and climate patterns and degrading natural ecosystems.
Climate change is making extreme weather events worse, more frequent and more trans-boundary. It is changing patterns of precipitation, undermining water and food security. It is impacting human health, as well as putting additional stress on nature and biodiversity, exacerbating pressures from land-use change, over-exploitation, pollution and invasive species.
Presently, around 30 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions come from food systems. Not only are food choices in rich, urban areas leading to a health crisis of obesity and non-communicable disease, but the over-consumption of unsustainably produced foods, and inefficient and wasteful behaviours across all value chains, are directly contributing to food insecurity in Africa.
This underscores the urgent imperative for rich countries to reduce emissions as quickly as possible. Even if all other sectors linearly decarbonise by 2050, business as usual food systems will account for nearly the whole carbon budget of a 2 degree future.
While around 89 countries have pledged to reach net-zero emissions by the middle of this century (which would still not deliver the emissions cuts needed to limit warming to 1.5°C), few have yet developed the suite of policies and regulations that will put them on a net-zero trajectory.
Many vulnerable communities in Africa need to be supported in the face of climate shocks by strengthening their capacity to respond, reducing their risk exposure and building their resilience.
There is much that can and should be done to directly help vulnerable communities and ecosystems in Africa today and in the decades to come.
Urgent investment must be made to help vulnerable communities adapt to the current impacts of climate change, and to become more resilient to climate shocks yet to come. Critically, this involves building a shared understanding, securing financing and enacting favourable policies so that governments, NGOs and the private sector in Africa can recognise the threats posed by the impacts of climate change and implement the urgent solutions needed to help local people adapt.
The link between climate and nature
Significant solutions also exist that use nature to both mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and to help communities to adapt and become more climate resilient.
The world’s land, oceans and freshwater systems already absorb and store half of the emissions humankind produces each year: protecting, restoring and enhancing ecosystems will be critical to addressing climate change. Food systems can also be a major part of the solution to the nature and climate crises.
Investment in nature-based solutions – such as adopting agroecological food production practices, forest conservation, protecting wetlands or enhancing coastal ecosystems – can help store emissions, protect communities from extreme weather events, and provide food, jobs and habitats. Such solutions, if high quality, well-designed and properly funded, can help build climate resilience.
But as well as individual projects, climate impacts and vulnerabilities, and the protection of nature, must be integrated into public- and private-sector decision-making at every level across the continent. The extent of the challenge posed by climate and nature loss means that they need to be considered across all levels of decision-making and by economic actors large and small.
The current food crisis faced by millions across Africa demands urgent humanitarian aid. But, without a much more comprehensive and long-term, locally-led, people-centred response to climate change and biodiversity loss, humanitarian resources will be stretched beyond breaking point.
The IFRC is partnering withWWF, the world's largest environmental conservation organization, to work with nature and protect people from the climate crisis. Click here to learn more about our partnership.
Global Climate Resilience Programme
Climate change is not a future problem, it is a threat to humanity that we see in our work with communities every day. Through ourGlobal Climate Resilience Programme, we're helping people adapt to climate change and reduce their climate-related risks.
| Press release
WFP and IFRC join forces to strengthen response to anticipated climate shocks in MENA
Dubai, 10 August 2022–The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) signed a regional Memorandum of Understanding to support joint advocacy, capacity development, and resource mobilization for the coordinated national-level implementation of anticipatory action in response to climate shocks in the Middle East and North Africa region.
The signing took place at the conclusion of an event, “Road to COP27: Anticipatory Action Milestones and Way Forward in MENA”, that was hosted by the International Humanitarian City (IHC), Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and attended by high-level speakers and representatives from the UAE government, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, WFP, IFRC, Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and national societies, regional and international humanitarian organisations including UNDRR, FAO, Start Network, REAP.
The event emphasized the ongoing importance of acting early ahead of climate-related disasters, through anticipatory action. Anticipatory action is an effective way of mitigating the worst consequences of predictable climate risks, which are expected to become more frequent and intense because of climate change and conflict in the MENA region.
“In a region where climate hazards such as droughts, floods, and heatwaves are increasing humanitarian needs, anticipatory action aims to reduce or mitigate the impact of these hazards on the most vulnerable people,” said Mageed Yahia, WFP Representative to the GCC. “We are grateful for the strong representation from the UAE in this event today, an important ally in the quest to make the humanitarian system as anticipatory as possible,” he added.
Over the last few years, WFP and IFRC have been making progress in setting the scene for an anticipatory action (AA) approach in the MENA region for acting earlier ahead of disasters.
“Let us not forget that COP27 goals and vision are mitigation, adaptation, finance, and collaboration. Today we are addressing these four main elements, as Anticipatory Action allows for the mitigation and adaptation of climate change impacts,” said IFRC MENA Deputy Regional Director, Rania Ahmad. “This collaboration between IFRC and WFP will allow for increased sharing of experiences and financing and make the most vulnerable populations better prepared and enhance their resilience.”
During the event, WFP and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) also launched the “Anticipatory Action in the MENA Region: State of Play and Accelerating Action” report, supported by the Swedish government, which highlights the state of anticipatory action in the region, and its potential to help avoid and reduce the impacts of disasters.
Regional coordination and collaboration across all stakeholders will be necessary to complement efforts and engagements to scale up the anticipatory actions agenda in the region with tangible results.
To support this, IFRC and WFP are establishing the “MENA Anticipatory Action regional community of practice” as a space for technical and advocacy coordination, collaboration, learning exchange, and capacity strengthening on anticipatory action and acting earlier ahead of disasters in the region. The initiative will bring together UN agencies, the Red Cross Red Crescent movement, as well as international organizations, governments, NGOs, the public and private sector, and academia, to coordinate and work together to effectively scale up and deliver anticipatory action programmes as the threat of climate shocks continues to grow.
For more information please contact:
Malak Atkeh, IFRC/GCC, [email protected],+971 564780874
Zeina Habib, WFP/Gulf, [email protected], +971 52 4724971
Abeer Etefa, WFP/MENA, [email protected], +20 1066634352
Reem Nada, WFP/MENA, [email protected], +20 1066634522
Statement by the IFRC Secretary General at the Resumed High Level Segment of COP26
Excellencies, it is my privilege to address this plenary and I thank our host, the Government of the United Kingdom for their efforts to increase attention and action on the resilience agenda.
The climate crisis is a humanitarian crisis. Every day, we are seeing the growing impacts of climate change. Loss and damage are our daily reality.
In the month of October, there were 15 weather-related disasters affecting over 14.9 million people. Since the beginning of 2021, droughts have affected 40.1 million people—the highest number since 2016.
The IFRC and our 192-member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are responding to disasters and the humanitarian needs of people every day and working on local solutions to adapt to rising risks.
But the most vulnerable people are getting left behind.
The IFRC assessed which countries were the most climate-vulnerable looking at their exposure and coping capacities.We identified five countries with VERY high climate-vulnerability and a further 66 as having high vulnerability to climate-related threats.
But these countries are not getting the support they need.
Per person climate adaptation funding in 2019 averaged under one US dollar per person in very high vulnerability countries.
Somalia, the most vulnerable, ranks only 54th for per person climate change adaptation funding disbursements, whilst Afghanistan comes in 96th.
Many countries not receiving funding are fragile contexts that are hard to work in.
We must find ways to invest even where it is hard to do so, and we must collaborate to fill the gaps and get the resources to the local communities that are worst affected.
Global commitments are important, but they need to translate into local climate action.Communities, local governments, local organizations and local businesses need to be in the lead.
We will do our part. The IFRC, together with theInternational Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC), developed theClimate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations.
This now has over 170 signatories, and in this charter we all commit to greening our operations and to scaling up our climate action, building resilience wherever we work.
We are investing more in anticipatory action to save lives, in using nature-based solutions to build resilience, all while enabling locally-led action in the face of rising risks.
And we need to work together with you to do this.
For many people, survival is under threat today, in vulnerable countries but also in Australia, Europe, and the United States, where thousands have been killed by heatwaves, wildfires, floods and storms.
This will get worse as warming increases.
All of us will need to act before it’s too late. Let’s not miss our chance.
IFRC President, Francesco Rocca at COP26: "We don’t have any more time to waste”
Francesco Rocca, President of The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is in Glasgow attending the World Leaders Summit and calling for the people and communities most vulnerable to climate change to be at the heart of discussions.
At COP26, President Rocca made the following statements:
“The commitments made – or missed – at COP26 will have a huge impact on the lives of communities already on the front line of climate change.
We are seeing a clear rise in climate and weather related-emergencies. Wildfires, droughts, flooding, heatwaves, hurricanes; extreme weather events are happening more often and are putting more and more people in danger all over the world.
As world leaders convene in Glasgow for COP26, we are calling for the people and communities most vulnerable to climate change to be at the heart of discussions and decisions.
Global investment needs to reach them so that local people can adapt. For example, by building stronger buildings, homes, roads; and investing in early warning systems, so communities know when an extreme weather will hit and can prepare in advance.
Critically, we must avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate change, by reversing emissions and keeping the rise in global temperatures below 1.5 degrees.
The cost of inaction is far greater than the financial commitments promised. Vulnerable countries and communities are being left behind. In the future, humanitarian response alone will no longer be enough to keep communities safe.”
IFRC Secretary General addresses the Climate Science and Humanitarian Dialogue
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.
TheIPCC report on impacts, adaptation and vulnerabilityhas effectively launched us into a new era.
An era where the whole world sees theclimate crisisas 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 drivingdisplacement, causinghealth issues, as well as flood and drought-inducedfood 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 ambitiousGlobal Climate Platformaimed 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 theClimate 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.
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 climateimpacts, adaptation and vulnerability—covering topics ranging from anticipatory action to climate-related migration.
| Press release
IFRC warns that the growing heatwave in Europe could have tragic consequences
Budapest, 14 July 2022 - Extreme temperatures have spiraled countries into dangerous heat waves and wildfires across Europe. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) urges cities and communities to prepare to avoid a further disaster.
Since May, Europe has been among the fastest “heat wave hot spots” in the world. Forecasts show no sign of abating. Many parts of western Europe are experiencing extreme temperatures and countries like Portugal are battling raging wildfires, impacting thousands of people.
“With the climate crisis, this heat is part of our ‘new normal’,” says Maarten Aalst van, Director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre. “These deadly events are now more frequent and more intense.”
In the past ten years, climate- and weather-related disasters have killed more than 400,000 people, affected 1.7 billion others and displaced an average of 25 million people each year world-wide.The people most at risk of heat waves include older people, children, pregnant women, and those with pre-existing health conditions. Heat waves have cascading impacts in other areas of society, such as reduced economic output, strained health systems and rolling power outages.
Staff and volunteers from National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies across the region are supporting communities preparing for and impacted by the heat waves. At the same time, teams are responding to the devastating wildfires most notably in Portugal, but also Spain, Italy, France, Greece and Turkey brought on by the extreme heat.
“Many have had to evacuate their homes with the few things they can carry," saysAna Jorge, President of the Portuguese Red Cross."Our medical teams are focused on ensuring people are getting to safety, providing critical health care to those suffering from burns and other injuries and providing them with a bed to sleep in and the necessities as they decide their next steps.”
With heat waves becoming more likely around the world as the climate crisis worsens, more preparedness and early warning systems are required to reduce and manage the risks.
“People are not always aware of the dangers of heat. But when communities understand the risks and take simple measures to prepare for it, they can prevent unnecessary tragedies,” says van Aalst. “We urge cities and communities to prepare and take the necessary steps to save lives, now and in the long term.”
For more information and to arrange an interview:
In Budapest: Corrie Butler,[email protected]+36 704306506
In Athens: Georgia Trismpioti, [email protected] +30 6971809031
Note to Editors:
IFRC’s Heat Wave Guide for Citiesand Urban Action Kitare resources for city officials, urban planners and community organizations to anticipate and plan for extreme urban heat and reduce deadly risks.
C40’s Urban Cooling Toolboxprovides approaches to lower urban temperatures and reduce the impact of the urban heat effect; the Heat Resilient Cities Benefit Toolhelps city planners and decision-makers quantify the health, economic and environmental benefits of adaptation actions.
A heat wave is an extended period of unusually high temperatures and often high humidity. Extreme heat can cause shock, dehydration and other acute illnesses, and worsen cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
There is now a mountain of evidence that climate change is increasing the occurrence of deadly heat waves. For instance, scientists have concluded that climate change has made the 2022 heat wave in India and Pakistan 30 times more likely, the 2019 heat wave in western Europe at least 10 times more likely, the 2019-20 heat wave in Australia that contributed to the devastating bushfires 10 times more likely, and that the extreme heat in the northwest US and Canada in 2021 would have been virtually impossible without climate change. For details, see for instance, the World Weather Attribution analyses.
| Press release
Red Cross and Red Crescent leaders commit to accelerate efforts to tackle rising humanitarian challenges
Geneva, 23 June 2022 - The Council of delegates of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement concluded today in Geneva with commitments from Red Cross and Red Crescent leaders and youth representatives from around the world, to work together and scale-up efforts to take urgent action on a range of critical humanitarian issues.
Representatives of 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) passed a series of resolutions to address a range of humanitarian challenges, including; the growing existential threats posed by the climate crisis; the escalating migration crisis; the devastating impacts of war in cities and the need to continue efforts to work towards the elimination of nuclear weapons.
"Urban warfare has a devastating humanitarian impact, including the appallingly high number of civilian deaths, the physical and mental suffering, the destruction of homes and critical civilian infrastructure, the disruption to essential services and the widespread displacement of people. We have seen that sad reality playing out in Libya, Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere. The Red Cross and Red Crescent must mobilise all its influence and resources to meet the challenges that lie ahead,’ said ICRC President Peter Maurer. ‘To be clear: the consequences of urban conflicts are not inevitable. They are the result of the behaviour of the parties fighting in these environments and we call for international humanitarian law to be upheld as an urgent priority’.
IFRC President Francesco Rocca said: “How we work to tackle and mitigate against the impacts of climate change will define our work, not just for the next few years, but for decades to come.
“All over the world, our volunteers and staff are working with people in their communities to help them adapt to the climate crisis and, frankly, they are demonstrating greater readiness, eagerness, and leadership than the majority of our global political leaders. We need action from them, not more words. And now.
“The same goes for the international migrant crisis. The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement speaks of leaving no person behind, of solidarity, and humanity. But, all over the world, we see world leaders failing to take the plight of migrants seriously enough and too easily prepared to neglect the human rights of those fleeing conflict, hunger, persecution, and, of course, those parts of the world where climate change has already done untold damage to their communities.”
Francesco Rocca, IFRC President, was re-elected to serve a second four-year term in office at the IFRC’s General Assembly on 19 June.
For more information on resolutions adopted at the Council of delegates is available here
For other information and interview requests, contact:
IFRC: Benoit Carpentier, Tel: +41 792 132 413 Email: [email protected] Paul Scott -+44 (0)7834 525650 email: [email protected]
ICRC ICRC: Ewan Watson - m. +41 (0)79 244 6470 email: [email protected] ICRC: Crystal Wells - m. +41 (0)79 642 8056 email: [email protected]
For further information about the statutory meetings please visit rcrcconference.org
| Press release
IFRC and C40 Cities urge cities to prepare for more dangerous and deadly heat waves
14 June 2022, Geneva, New York—Heat waves are becoming more frequent, longer, hotter and deadlier, especially in urban areas, but the threats they pose are preventable if cities and residents are prepared for extreme heat and take steps to save lives.
The past seven years, from 2015 to 2021, have been the hottest on record and this year is already a punishing one. The life-threatening temperature spikes seen in recent months across India, Pakistan, East Asia and southern Europe and this week’s unusually intense, early-season heat wave gripping parts of the United States are an ominous sign of what is to come as the world gets warmer.
Every year, increasingly scorching temperatures put millions of people at risk of heat-related illnesses and claim the lives of thousands of others. People living in cities are hardest hit because urban areas are warmer than the surrounding countryside and are getting hotter due to climate change. Those most at risk are already vulnerable—the elderly and isolated, infants, pregnant women, those with pre-existing ailments and the urban poor, who often work outdoors or live and work in buildings without air conditioning or adequate ventilation.
But deaths from heat waves are not inevitable. Five billion people live in places that are prone to heat waves and where early warning systems can predict them before they happen.
“Heat waves are the silent killers of climate change, but they don’t have to be,” says Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). “Most heat waves are forecast days or weeks in advance, giving ample time to act early and inform and protect the most vulnerable. The good news is that there are simple and low-cost actions authorities can take to prevent unnecessary deaths from heat.”
Ahead of the summer season in many parts of the world, IFRC is launching its first global Heat Action Day, today, 14 June—mobilizing branches and partners in over 50 cities to hold awareness-raising events about ways to reduce severe impacts of extreme heat.
The IFRC is also partnering with C40 Cities to call on city officials, urban planners, and city residents in every region of the world to prepare for more dangerous and deadly heat waves.
“Cities that are used to hot weather need to prepare for even longer periods of sweltering heat and cooler cities need to prepare for levels of extreme heat that they are not accustomed to,” says Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities. “From Miami to Mumbai and Athens to Abidjan, mayors in our network are increasing green spaces, expanding cool roof programmes and collaborating on heat actions to improve resilience to rising urban heat. But far more work is needed to reduce andmanage risks as the climate crisis worsens.”
TheC40 Cool Cities Networksupports cities to embed heat risk and management in their climate action plans, develop heat resilience studies, and develop, fine-tune and measure impacts of heat mitigation action, including cooling, greening and emergency management.The network has held intensive workshops on urban heat and equity, developed resources to guide heat action plans and, over the past two years, supported cities in managing the compound crises of extreme heat alongside the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on outreach to vulnerable populations.
Across the globe, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are rising to the extreme heat challenge—supporting and improving local and national heat action plans, spreading messages to the public on heat safety, checking in on the most vulnerable, distributing water, supporting medical services, identifying and setting up cooling centres, and even helping people retrofit their homes to improve shade and reduce heat. They’re also expanding research on heat to parts of Africa, Asia and South America that have been overlooked in the past.
“The climate crisis is driving and intensifying humanitarian crisis in every region of the world,” says Rocca. “But when cities and communities are better prepared, extreme weather doesn’t have to become a disaster or a tragedy.”
Note to Editors:
IFRC’s “Heat Wave Guide for Cities” and “Urban Action Kit” are resources for city officials, urban planners and community organizations to anticipate and plan for extreme urban heat and reduce deadly risks.
C40’s “Urban Cooling Toolbox” provides approaches to lower urban temperatures and reduce the impact of the urban heat effect; the “Heat Resilient Cities Benefit Tool” helps city planners and decision-makers quantify the health, economic and environmental benefits of adaptation actions.
A heat wave is an extended period of unusually high temperatures and often high humidity. Extreme heat can cause shock, dehydration and other acute illnesses, and worsen cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
There is now a mountain of evidence that climate change is increasing the occurrence of deadly heat waves. Scientists have concluded that climate change has made the 2022 heat wave in India and Pakistan 30 times more likely, the 2019 heat wave in western Europe 100 times more likely and the 2019-20 heat wave in Australia 10 times more likely.
Images and Video for use by media outlets:
Follow thisTwitter thread to access videos and photos of global Heat Action Day events. Heat emergency response images can be accessedhere
For more information or 1:1 interviews, contact:
IFRC: Melissa Winkler, [email protected], +41 76 2400 324
IFRC: Tommaso Della Longa, [email protected], +41 79 708 43 67
C40 Cities: Rolf Rosenkranz, [email protected]
IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, comprising 192 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies working to save lives, build community resilience, strengthen localization and promote dignity around the world.www.ifrc.org - Facebook-Twitter-YouTube
C40 Citiesis a network of nearly 100 mayors of the world’s leading cities who are working to deliver the urgent action needed right now to confront the climate crisis and create a future where everyone, everywhere can thrive. Mayors of C40 cities are committed to using a science-based and people-focused approach to help the world limit global heating to 1.5°C and build healthy, equitable and resilient communities.www.C40.org-Twitter-Instagram-Facebook-LinkedIn
| Press release
IFRC, WWF call for global action to protect nature to save lives and address climate crisis
Stockholm, 2 June 2022 - A new report shows that nature-based solutions could reduce the intensity of climate and weather-related hazards by a staggering 26 per cent, in a world where over 3.3 billion people live in places that are highly vulnerable to climate change. The study from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and WWF highlights how the power of nature to protect people is being overlooked.
The report, “Working with Nature to Protect People: How Nature-based Solutions Reduce Climate Change and Weather-Related Disasters” shows how nature-based solutions can reduce the likelihood of climate change and weather-related events occurring. It sets out how lives can be saved by working with nature-based solutions to prevent exposure to these hazards and support vulnerable communities in adapting to and withstanding the dangers of a warming world. For the first time, the analysis from IFRC and WWF shows that these solutions could provide developing countries with valuable protection against the economic cost of climate change, saving at least US$ 104 billion in 2030 and US$ 393 billion in 2050.
Communities in every region of the world are already experiencing worsening and increasing impacts of climate change, with vulnerable people in low resource countries the hardest hit, and women and children often the most exposed. From 2010 to 2019 alone, sudden-onset climate change and weather-related disasters killed more than 410,000 people.
Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary General said: “The climate crisis is driving multiple humanitarian crises around the world. Its impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions of people is intensifying. Greening nature; restoring forests, farmlands and wetlands are some of the best and most cost-effective ways to support vulnerable communities to adapt to risks and impacts they already face. Protecting nature will protect people.”
Marco Lambertini, Director-General of WWF, said: “Let’s be clear. If we don’t urgently scale up efforts to limit the impacts of a warming world, more lives will be lost, and economies and livelihoods affected. Nature is our greatest ally and also a crucial buffer against climate change. By restoring and protecting it, we can help ecosystems build resilience and continue to provide crucial services to humanity and in particular to the more vulnerable communities.
“Nature-based solutions play a key role in addressing climate change, but the potential benefits of these solutions drop as the global temperature rises - which is why every moment and decision matters to cut emissions and give us the best chance to build a safer and more equitable future.”
Examples of effective nature-based solutions that address climate change include:
Conserving forests to restore degraded land, provide food, guard against droughts and protect communities from strong winds.
Restoring healthy floodplains and wetlands to reduce the impact of floods and promote sustainable agriculture to protect against droughts.
Restoring mangroves and coral reefs to provide a protective barrier from storms, soak up planet-warming carbon dioxide and provide food for local communities and habitats for marine life.
The report kickstarts a partnership between the IFRC and WWF. The report will be launched at Stockholm+50, a UN environmental meeting where leaders will reflect on 50 years of multilateral action. The partnership aims to raise awareness about nature-based solutions and encourage governments, communities, donors, practitioners and the private sector to incorporate nature in their climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction planning.
Notes for editors:
Nature-based solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges and climate change effectively and adaptively, while providing benefits to human well-being and addressing biodiversity loss. Learn more here.
The full report is available for download here.
The report will be launched at an event at Stockholm+50 on 3 June at 13:00 CEST. This UN environmental meeting provides leaders with an opportunity to reflect on 50 years of multilateral action to deliver the bold and urgent progress needed to secure a better future on a healthy planet.
The report describes the enabling factors that have supported successful nature-based solutions initiatives and the challenges that are preventing the scale-up of these solutions. A series of case studies highlights IFRC and WWF’s work in the space, shows the potential of nature-based solutions, provides key lessons to guide practitioners in future implementation, and presents how supportive legal and policy frameworks are critical for scaling-up nature-based solutions for building climate and disaster resilience.
For media queries and interview requests, contact:
WWF International Media team: [email protected]
IFRC: Melis Figanmese, +41 79 202 2033, [email protected]
IFRC: Melissa Winkler, +41 76 240 0324, [email protected]