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Inter-Agency Standing Committee Calls for Agreement to Address Humanitarian Shocks of Climate Change

© IASC8 June 2009: During the climate change talks taking place in Bonn, Germany, the 18 UN and non-UN aid agencies that constitute the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) called for integrating measures to counter the humanitarian impacts of climate change into the new climate change agreement.

The call is based on three key issues: the increased number of people directly affected by disasters; the potential that climate events will dramatically alter patterns of migration and population movement; and the fact that the current climate change negotiations present the opportunity to ensure that the international response to humanitarian consequences of climate change are adequately reflected in the new negotiated agreement. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted that adaptation to disaster risks will require a new humanitarian business model that focuses on prevention activities and building up preparedness capacities at national and local levels.

It is estimated that an average of 211 million people are directly affected by climate events each year. Over 20 million have been displaced in 2008 alone, according to a new study carried out by the Norwegian Refugee Council's (NRC) Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). [UNHCR Press Release]