Humanitarian Agencies should Engage in UN Climate Change Negotiations

Opinion Brief - Why humanitarian agencies should get engaged in the UN climate change negotiations August 2008: An opinion brief authored by Madeleen Helmer,

Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, Sarah La Trobe, Tearfund, and Silvia

Llosa, UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Secretariat, notes that

the humanitarian community has not engaged in climate debates, particularly

since attention focused on addressing the causes of climate change.

The authors stress that climate change is already occurring

and will be increasingly felt by the most vulnerable populations. Emphasizing

that these communities' adaptation depends on finance provided by the

international community, they underline that current funding for adaptation

activities is insufficient and that a future agreement will determine the level

of this necessary support. The authors then argue that besides insufficient

funding, adaptation efforts are being delayed because the humanitarian and risk

reduction experts, who are ‘natural' adaptation players, are not engaged in

adaptation planning. They outline the upcoming opportunities for these

stakeholders to inform the climate negotiations, and state that they should:

present to the negotiators existing knowledge and experience in disaster risk

reduction; ensure the reflection of the Hyogo Framework for Action's priorities

in the Copenhagen climate change agreement; and guarantee that new and

additional funding for climate risk management will support local level

disaster risk reduction. The authors then make a series of recommendations to

the humanitarian and risk reduction experts for them to impact the Poznan

negotiations, stressing the need for coordinated efforts of the humanitarian

and disaster risk reduction system. In concluding, they urge the humanitarian

agencies to “join the train” that has “left Bali to arrive in Copenhagen in

December 2009.” [The

Opinion Brief]