A Red Cross Red Crescent road map for ‘urgent climate action’ in Europe and Central Asia
By the IFRC Regional Office for Europe and the Climate Centre
The IFRC has today published a new road map for climate action in the Europe region – the fastest-warming continent in the world, where climate change is taking a major human, economic and environmental toll.
It frames how the 53 National Societies in Europe and Central Asia will expand climate action over the next few years and is the product of an extensive consultation involving over 30 of them.
Regional Director Birgitte Bischoff Ebbesen said today: “This road map reflects a joint commitment to act in response to the climate crisis in the region.
“During a validation workshop in Athens in June, we collectively discussed the urgency and importance of the role of National Societies faced with the impacts of extreme heat, wildfires and floods on people in the region.”
After record-breaking heat and wildfires this summer, National Societies in several southern European countries found themselves grappling with the opposite extreme in early September: intense rainfall and dramatic flash floods.
Europe had its warmest September on record, 1.1°C higher than the previous record for the continent set in 2020, with the heat lingering into last month.
Bischoff Ebbesen continued: “Focusing on our shared commitment and responsibility, urgent action is needed to address the rising humanitarian impacts of the climate crisis that we experience in Europe and worldwide, including reducing emissions while supporting communities to adapt and strengthen their resilience.”
The road map, which is also available in Russian, will inform discussions that will take place at the third global youth climate action summit on 16 November, coordinated online by the Climate Centre.
Ani Gevorgyan, Armenian Red Cross representative for youth and climate, said: “The active participation of young individuals highlights the roadmap’s strength. They are not just the leaders of the future – they are the driving force for transformative change in the present.
“Their ideas, energy, and commitment are indispensable to implementing the ambitious goals of this road map. We must continue to prioritize their perspectives and engagement in climate-related activities, recognizing that their involvement is not just an option but a necessity for a sustainable and resilient future.”
To scale up climate action, the IFRC network at the regional level will: support awareness raising, advocacy and communications; facilitate peer-to-peer exchanges and youth- and volunteer-led initiatives; provide technical support; broker strategic engagement; and assist the channelling of funds through joint initiatives.
The road map itself says: “As the IFRC network in Europe region we base our climate action work on the latest science, research, and climate and environmental risk assessments.”
Underpinning the road map are a set of targets related to the Climate and Environment Charter, reporting on numbers of at-risk people reached, especially with guidance on heatwaves, factoring climate and environmental risks into all programmes, and reducing emissions.
It also highlights several examples of climate action that are already being taken, as well as identifying the foundational milestones for National Societies to further scale-up urgent action.
Regional Director Birgitte Bischoff Ebbesen visiting the Slovenian Red Cross after floods earlier this year that were described as the country’s worst-ever natural disaster. “The impact on families and local communities is heartbreaking to witness,” she said, but there was impressive coordination and solidarity from all sides, including an IFRC team supporting the National Society. (Photo: IFRC)