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When climate crisis rhymes with humanitarian crisis: towards strengthening aid systems.

Climate and humanitarian crisis. | Posted on 2021-11-22 12:01

In the six years that have passed since the adoption of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2015, many already very vulnerable countries are weakened further. Between periods of intense and repeated droughts or dilluvian rains, climate change accentuates global economic imbalances and poses serious threats in terms of population displacement and conflicts.

Madagascar is one example among others. One of the ten countries most vulnerable to disasters in the world and the most exposed countries to cyclones in Africa, Madagascar is facing an urgent crisis. Four consecutive years of drought have left families in southern countries powerless and unable to feed. People have been pushed into desperate survival measures such as eating locusts, raw red cactus fruits, or wild leaves.

At least 1.3 million people in southern Madagascar in need of food aid and nutritional emergency. At amboasary sud, epicenter of the crisis, about 28 000 people live under conditions similar to starvation.

From Madagascar to Afghanistan, where drought displaces people already in conflict, warmer global temperatures are causing hunger, poverty and migration among tens of millions of people in the most fragile countries. warned the UN agencies last Tuesday.

Aid workers are struggling to keep pace with the growing number of disasters, even with global warming of 1.2 degrees Celsius today, the UN humanitarian agency OCHA said during the climate negotiations of the COP 26 in Glasgow, highlighting the challenges of operating in troubled places like Haiti, Mali and Yemen.

"A rise of 2.7 ° C, our current trajectory, or beyond, would lead to a galloping global humanitarian crisis, the very magnitude of which would seriously threaten the collapse of the [aid] system," he said. he said in an excerpt from a report to be published early next year.

The research points out that from 2000 to 2019, nearly 7,000 disasters were recorded worldwide, an 83% increase over the previous two decades, with floods increasing by 134% during the same period and extreme temperature events of 232%.

"I believe we have already used up our time reserve ," Hansjoerg Strohmeyer, OCHA policy chief, told reporters in Glasgow. is a department of the United Nations Secretariat)

“Tens of millions of people today are out of time, because for them the climate crisis is real - it is daily, it is irreversible and it is now. "

Humanitarian organizations have called for much more funds to be allocated to efforts to help vulnerable countries adapt to the most extreme weather conditions and the rising seas that currently affect most parts of the world, the poorest communities may be the hardest hit.

Richard Blewitt, who heads international work for the British Red Cross, said the funding available to help people on the frontlines of climate change, many of them in poor African countries, was far too low and was failing to meet reach those who needed it most.

He compared the roughly 30 billion euros ($ 34.8 billion) that Germany is deploying to repair the destruction after the floods this summer, with the floods in Niger in West Africa which are driving people away. from their homes.

“We have great inequality in tackling our climate crisis,” he said.

The agencies called on governments to keep a broken pledge to provide $ 100 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries tackle climate change and make sure the money gets in the way. places like Niger and South Sudan.

In an effort to build the resilience of people vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, donor governments this week made new contributions to two key funds set up to help the world's poorest countries adapt to a planet warmer.

Last week, the UK government said more than $ 232 million had been committed to the Adaptation Fund, its strongest mobilization, by itself and others including the United States, Canada , Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Qatar, Spain and Switzerland.

The European Commission followed with an additional commitment of 100 million euros ($ 115 million) to the fund.

In addition, over $ 450 million has been mobilized for initiatives and programs that strengthen local approaches to adaptation, while Britain has allocated £ 290 million (around $ 393 million) of its international climate finance for adaptation, including a broad resilience agenda in Asia.

Last Tuesday at COP 26, 12 donor governments pledged $ 413 million to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Fund, the only climate resilience fund that targets the 46 poorest countries and has helped more than 50 million people since 2001.

Yet despite the new funds, adaptation finance - at just over $ 20 billion a year - remains well below the estimated $ 70 billion annually in estimated needs in developing countries - an amount that could reach $ 300 billion by 2030, the United Nations said last week.

“Adaptation and resilience work, along with early investments, protect lives and livelihoods. Financial tools and technological solutions ... are available now ''

In the Paris Agreement, governments said they would aim for a balance between international funding for emission reduction and adaptation in vulnerable countries.

But so far, only about a quarter of climate funding goes to programs to build resilience through early warning systems for storms and floods, mangrove planting in coastal areas and the adoption of drought tolerant crops.

IFRC Secretary General Jagan Chapagain said world leaders "were making progress", but the commitments made so far at COP 26 were "too weak and unbalanced".

He called for more support for adaptation and to repair the loss and damage caused by climate change, adding "we need to make sure that this funding really reaches the most vulnerable communities".

At a UN-led event last Monday, an official from the Philippines explained how her government is working to lower the cost of flood insurance for small businesses by pooling risk and using geolocation.

The head of Niger's meteorological service, meanwhile, presented a nationwide flood atlas and a system to train villagers and use WhatsApp to warn them before rivers overflow, noting that 2 million people had been affected by the floods since 2010.

The German government has said it plans to allocate 5% of its humanitarian spending to such anticipatory measures by 2023.

United Nations agencies, meanwhile, have said the world needs a major scale-up of the testing projects they and others have conducted, from Bangladesh to Ethiopia to Ethiopia. Malawi.

Selwin Hart, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Climate Action, said climate impacts were now "unprecedented" and would intensify even if global temperature targets were met, calling for action and urgent funding to ensure the safety of people on the front lines.

“We know that adaptation and resilience work, and that early investments protect lives and livelihoods,” he said. "Financial tools and instruments, and technological solutions ... are available now."


Thomas Reuters Foundation

Posted on 2021-11-22 12:01

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