COP 26: ‘More than vague promises are needed to save millions of lives’
by the Climate Centre
(This joint statement by IFRC President Francesco Rocca and Secretary General Jagan Chapagain was first published on the International Federation’s website on Saturday. The climate crisis may be growing faster than the potential solutions to it, says Climate Centre Director Maarten van Aalst.)
No country in the world can ignore the catastrophic impacts of climate change. Big and small, from the global North and South, they all came together in Glasgow to address the greatest threat of our time.
Our message over the past two weeks has been loud and clear – promises are not enough.
We welcome the commitment to stay below 1.5 degrees of warming but worry that specific commitments to meet this target remain too vague.
We are particularly disappointed that COP 26 did not deliver the finance needed to support communities at the front lines of the climate crisis.
While new commitments to increase adaptation finance for the poorest and most vulnerable countries were made, we need a much stronger will to provide accessible, high-quality finance to address the challenges that will only multiply in the years to come.
We must make sure that this funding reaches the local communities that are hit first and worst so that they can prepare for, adapt and respond to the ever-increasing threats.
We will do our best to support communities
facing the devastating impacts. We ask the same
of our world leaders. We cannot do this alone
More support is also needed to help countries and communities that are already struggling to cope every day; where the limits of adaptation have been reached and losses and damages has already been experienced.
Our volunteers and staff across the world have been confronting these consequences for years, so it is an illusion to believe that we are not already paying the price of inaction.
We will do our part. Together with the International Committee of the Red Cross we developed the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations, which now has over 170 signatories.
In this charter we all commit to greening our operations and to scaling up our climate action, building resilience wherever we work.
As the world’s largest humanitarian network present in 192 countries, we will do our best to support communities facing the devastating impacts. We ask the same of our world leaders. We cannot do this alone.
Glasgow opened the door to further discussions and we are committed to working together with governments and other organizations to find effective solutions to address this growing crisis.
COP 26 represents a small step in the right direction. What the world needs is a massive leap. It is time to hold our leaders accountable. We need pledges to be realized and commitments turned into action.
Millions of lives are at stake but it’s not too late. Yet.
The Red Cross Red Crescent cartoon wall was a big hit at COP 26. (Photo: Doug Peters/UK government)