Snippets from the World Disasters Report

The World Disasters Report 2020 prepared by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) has been published. Published every two years, the theme of this year’s report was climate change.

According to the report, COVID-19 has been unprecedented for humanity in recognizing and responding to a global crisis, finding existing resources while appearing like there were none, and demonstrating the capacity to take quick steps. Climate change is a much more serious problem for humanity than the new type of coronavirus and literally threatens our long-term survival. We must address this threat by taking action to reverse climate change. At the same time, we must work to limit the deaths and damage that climate-related disasters have already increased. We must all act effectively as governments, donors, humanitarian and development sectors, and the climate and environmental community.

The report offers some suggestions on climate change and global warming. These recommendations are aimed at various segments.

For governments 

  • Design investments, including COVID-19 financial stimulus packages, to support a green, resilient and inclusive society, investing in climate change mitigation and adaptation. 
  • Ensure that major infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, child and senior care facilities, seawalls, power plants and water and sanitation facilities, is designed (and where possible retrofitted) to withstand projected climate and weather extremes and rising sea levels, making use of environmental impact assessments as a regulatory tool. 
  • Review disaster risk management laws, policies and plans to ensure they are climate smart, understood and implemented. These should also consider key innovations such as forecast-based action and financing, linked to shock-resistant social protection systems. 
  • Invest and design integrated and people-centred early warning and early action systems that assure timely delivery of actionable warnings at community level, as well as an adequate protective response.
  • Ensure decentralized access to funding for adaptation and disaster risk management activities, particularly at the local level. 

For humanitarian (and other relevant civil society) organizations 

  • Embrace and strengthen climate adaptation, in particular in urban settings, as well as in contexts where development practitioners may be less present, such as complex crises. 
  • Scale up use of forecast information in planning and learn from successes in forecast-based triggers for early action Executive summary
  • Continue to strengthen rapid response and scale up capacity for disasters that cannot be avoided. 
  • Take responsibility to transparently report and improve on global and local climate and environmental footprints, strengthen the environmental sustainability of humanitarian activities and impact, and make stronger links to the environment throughout humanitarian work.

For multilateral and bilateral donors 

  • Design COVID-19 support packages to enable a green, resilient and inclusive recovery, investing in climate change mitigation and adaptation. 
  • Increase ambition to match the adaptation needs of the most vulnerable developing countries. 
  • Ensure allocation of climate and disaster risk reduction finance prioritizes countries that are at the very highest risk and lowest capacity. 
  • Change procedures so that multilateral climate finance can be accessed at local level for community-led resilience building as well as for strengthening long-term institutional and response capacities.
  • Scale up support for anticipatory approaches so that many more people can receive assistance ahead of predictable shocks. 
  • Support humanitarian organizations to achieve a greener approach (which should include adequate budgeting for strengthening systems and allow for sustainable procurement) and coordinate among themselves to avoid contradictions in their demands on funding recipients. For climate change institutions and experts 
  • Embrace and promote more effective management of disaster risk caused by climate change as a critical element of adaptation and thus an important goal of global and domestic climate action, alongside mitigation. 
  • Connect analytical tools (as well as policy and financing instruments) for long-term adaptation with short-term forecast-based action and post-disaster response. 
  • Redouble efforts, in cooperation with humanitarian and development partners, to ensure that communities receive timely and understandable scientific information about climate-driven risks. 
  • Build on the experience of the humanitarian and disaster risk reduction communities in managing shocks, which includes the need for multi-stakeholder approaches, and a strong focus on implementation at local level. 

For everyone 

  • Ensure that the most vulnerable people are addressed as a matter of priority in climate change adaptation and disaster risk management. 
  • Listen more closely to the voice of communities, to understand local knowledge, coping mechanisms, practices and needs related to climate risk, and to design culturally appropriate programmes.
  • Support and empower the leadership of local civil society and communities in climate change adaptation and disaster risk management efforts. 
  • Work together across silos to address climate-driven disaster risks.

Full Report:

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