National Societies, climate action and the environment: an IFRC survey

National Societies, climate action and the environment: an IFRC survey
4 April 2022

By the Climate Centre

IFRC survey results from nearly 70 National Societies show they are planning or implementing action on climate, including, as top priorities, scaling up climate-smart risk reduction, preparedness, and early action, followed by reducing the health impacts of climate change.

But they also flag the need for increased knowledge of and capacity for climate action and promoting environmental sustainability, as well as increased access to climate finance.

The societies were canvassed last July and August and the IFRC Climate Action and Environmental Sustainability survey results have just been published.

The survey also sought to understand how National Societies’ work in these areas fits with relevant strategic documents of the IFRC and the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement – the Movement Ambitions to Address the Climate Crisis, for example, and the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations.

‘Heat Action’

It concludes that many National Societies have engaged in “dedicated climate change initiatives, especially since the establishment of the Climate Centre in 2002”.

For instance, from 2005, at least 60 National Societies invested in national climate risk assessments, communication campaigns and action plans.

Since 2010, targeted programmes on resilience and anticipatory action have been rolled out in at least 40 countries, while National Societies “have had lower engagement in climate displacement, heat action in cities and towns, as well as adaptation work in coastal cities.”

Funding for National Societies to undertake work in “critical areas” is lacking, the survey indicates: “There has been very limited access to climate finance for adaptation in the last two years.”

Good practice

The results demonstrate the need to increase “capacity-strengthening opportunities reaching branch level, and tailored towards specific National Society needs and contexts.”

The survey demonstrates that the IFRC network “has enormous potential and ambition to drive climate action, and focus now needs to be placed on supporting National Societies to develop and implement climate and environment activities as an integral part of their organization-wide strategies and plans.”

The IFRC secretariat and the Climate Centre, it says, will continue to strengthen their support based on the needs and demands from National Societies.

Good practice examples included as a technical annex to the survey come from (alphabetically): Armenia, Jamaica, Japan, Montenegro, Mozambique, Myanmar and Spain.

Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross teams prepared seedlings for enhanced food security during the Covid pandemic. The photo appears in the IFRC Climate Action and Environmental Sustainability survey, which has just been published online. (Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross via IFRC)