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Climate action: Examples from the Red Cross Red Crescent and partners

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Within the Red Cross Red Crescent, ambition and capacity to take climate action addressing the needs of the most vulnerable are rapidly growing. Climate change is now a key driver of risks, placing a huge burden upon lives, livelihoods, well-being and the humanitarian system itself. The Red Cross Red Crescent with its partners are all expanding their climate and disaster risk reduction portfolios. But what does this entail exactly?

This document showcases a wide range of concrete examples over a decade of climate action spurred by the global Partners for Resilience (PfR) alliance.

First a short note on terminology. The majority of international funds and initiatives are dedicated to climate change mitigation: reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG), especially CO2. MITIGATION is an important item on the agenda for the Red Cross Red Crescent. With its expertise in reducing disaster risk and vulnerability, but it also seeks to address the humanitarian impacts of climate change, meaning first and foremost ADAPTATION.

Adaptation in the humanitarian sector involves four building blocks:

1) Anticipating risks;

2) Responding when disasters strike;

3) Adapting to changing risks and exploring livelihoods diversification options when needed;

4) Transforming by tackling root causes of risk to strengthen resilience.

The management and restoration of degraded ecosystems that jeopardize livelihoods and natural buffers to disasters is an essential component in this process.

PfR aims to strengthen community resilience by integrating climate change adaptation and ecosystem management and restoration with disaster risk reduction (DRR), which we call Integrated Risk Management (IRM).

This approach was followed through the PfR’s IRM (see Box 1) concept and it has spurred climate action in ten countries in four global regions. The Climate Centre has been integral to PfR alliance since 2011, facilitating engagement in policy dialogues and institutional capacity strengthening, resulting in scaling up of inclusive programming and investments. Stakeholder evaluations have shown how as a result vulnerable people are better equipped to deal with climate change after empowerment and policy dialogues.

Climate change, however, is almost never the only driver of risks and vulnerability; rather it aggravates existing risks and sometimes poses entirely new threats. Thus, establishing partnerships and taking a cross-sectoral, integrated approach is key. This document offers an overview with examples of what integrated climate action can look like in practice.

Climate Training Kit modules have been used by the PfR alliance to train civil society organizations (CSO) and Red Cross Red Crescent staff and volunteers on climate change and IRM, in particular using the module on community resilience (2c).