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Humanitarian Aid on the Move No.21 - March 2020

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Groupe URD
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editorial, by Véronique de Geoffroy

The aid sector’s role faced with climate change, multiple crises and the risk of collapse “ The aid sector faced with climate change, multiple crises and the risk of collapse”: this subject, which was not dealt with at the major conferences on climate change and international aid, was the focus of the 12th Autumn School on Humanitarian Aid, organised by Groupe URD on 25-27 September 2019, where 70 people took part. This special issue of Humanitarian Aid on the Move explores some of the issues that emerged during this particularly stimulating event.

Just as we were about to publish, we have been caught up by current events. Will the aid sector be capable of managing a global and systemic crisis such as the coronavirus crisis?

Humanitarian actors are used to working in degraded contexts, but from a stable home base, with considerable financial and logistical resources. Will they be able to adapt? With staff no longer able to travel, and the risk of an economic crisis, there is a need to adapt and innovate, not only in technological terms, but also in terms of organisation, action and behaviour.

Beyond the current health crisis, there is a need to prepare for the response to the challenge of climate change and a growing number of crises. It is high time that we took action: climate change is already affecting the lives of millions of human beings, and particularly the most vulnerable people in the most exposed regions: Africa, Asia, Oceania and Latin America. We are also beginning to feel its impact in Europe (drought, heatwaves, torrential rain, etc.).

Scientific projections say that there will be warming of between 2 and 7°C and a rise in sea levels of between 40 and 110 cm by 2100. Biodiversity loss, and the peak in fossil fuels and many other raw materials, such as phosphate, make the situation even worse, with a real risk of global food crises and an increase in the number of conflicts related to access to increasingly scarce resources… W hat if sombre collapse scenarios were to come true?