An online workshop by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and the Singapore Red Cross Society.
The climate and environment crises are humanitarian crises, threatening the future of humanity. They are already affecting people’s lives and livelihoods around the world, and their impact is growing all the time. While these crises are affecting all of us, the consequences are even more devastating for the poorest and most marginalized communities, whose capacity to adapt is already often strained, owing to armed conflict, disasters, displacement, weak governance, unplanned urbanization or poverty. All of these situations are exacerbated by structural inequities and by people’s individual characteristics, such as age, gender, disability or livelihood.
Between December 2020 and March 2021, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and guided by an Advisory Committee of 19 people, including representatives of local, national and international NGOs, UN agencies and National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, as well as academics, researchers and experts in the humanitarian, development, climate and environmental fields, developed the Climate Charter to send a clear signal that humanitarian organizations have a key role to play in addressing these crises. We must be a part of the solution and help people adapt to a changing climate and environment, while also increasing our own environmental sustainability. This needs to be a collective endeavour, as no organization can tackle this alone. The Climate Charter (310 signatories as of September 2022) intends to provide a clear vision and principles to guide humanitarian action in the face of the climate and environment crises.
Building on this, this workshop aims to bring together Senior Management from the humanitarian community to discuss the issues and challenges related to the seven core commitments of the charter, specifically: (1) Step up our response to growing humanitarian needs and help people adapt to the impacts of the climate and environmental crises; (2) Maximize the environmental sustainability of our work and rapidly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions; (3) Embrace the leadership of local actors and communities; (4) Increase our capacity to understand climate and environmental risks and develop evidence-based solutions; (5) Work collaboratively across the humanitarian sector and beyond to strengthen climate and environmental action; (6) Use our influence to mobilize urgent and more ambitious climate action and environmental protection; and (7) Develop targets and measure our progress as we implement our commitments.
By the end of the workshop, attendants from organizations signatories of the charter will release a public statement supporting the implementation of the charter as an essential document providing a common vision and principles that guide humanitarian actions in the face of climate and environment crises in the Sub-Region, and encouraging other organizations to sign the charter and adopt it.