Engaging with the global process on climate

Throughout more than 20 years of its life, the Climate Centre has played an important role in helping to shape Red Cross Red Crescent policy on climate, adaptation, resilience and early action (glossary), drawing on the best available science, evidence and experience.

In close collaboration with the IFRC secretariat – for which we are one of six global reference centres – and the ICRC, we bring humanitarian perspectives to global climate policy processes like the UN climate talks (the annual COP meetings), alongside dialogue on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework.

We also support National Societies with domestic discussion of policy on climate so the voice of the most vulnerable is heard in national adaptation planning and climate action has the best prospect of being taken where it is most needed.

Key messages to COP28

Climate has risen higher and higher on the agenda of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, evidenced nowhere more than in the Statutory Meetings. For example, the 33rd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in 2019 called for “[e]ffective disaster laws, policies, strategies and plans that address climate change”.

In the first of 13 adopted resolutions, the 2022 Council of Delegates endorsed the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations.

And at the 2022 General Assembly of the IFRC, its supreme policy-making body that meets every two years, Secretary General Jagan Chapagain listed the biggest humanitarian issues affecting the world today as “the three Cs: Covid-19, climate change and conflict” (photo).

The IFRC’s Strategy 2030, first published in 2018, places climate change and environmental crises at the top of a list of five global challenges that must be addressed in the coming decade. Most recently, it distributed six key messages to the COP28 meeting in Dubai:

  • Act urgently to address the humanitarian impacts of the climate crisis. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to prevent worsening humanitarian impacts, whilst vastly scaling up adaptation action at the local level, reaching the most at risk and impacted people and communities.
  • Scale up anticipatory and early action to prevent extreme-weather events becoming disasters, to save lives and livelihoods. Invest in early warnings and other systems for early action at the local level, reaching last-mile communities before disasters strike.
  • Prioritize locally led action. Support meaningful engagement and participation to implement solutions by and with communities which builds resilience to climate impacts. Adopt and implement principles for locally led adaptation.
  • Strengthen climate-resilient health systems, investing in primary health care, WASH, and community-level preparedness to respond to evolving climate risks and achieve universal goals for health coverage.
  • Increase adaptation finance for quality, quantity and accessibility. Prioritize funding for the most impacted countries and communities that reaches the local level.
  • Avert, minimize and address loss and damage with new, additional, and predictable finance to support comprehensive action. Responses to loss and damage must reach the local level to people and communities most impacted.
Development and Climate Days (is back)

Development and Climate Days (is back)

Join us in Dubai on 7 December 2023 for Development and Climate Days: a day of honest discussions and open dialogue to put the spotlight on the slow progress and inaction hindering our progress towards meeting the world’s climate goals,say the main organizers IIED (complete agenda).

A Climate Centre session at the last in-person D&C Days at COP25 in Madrid in 2019 explored anxiety, depression and loss of a sense well-being driven by feared impacts of climate change. (Photo: IIED)

Read more and register

Policy initiatives

In close collaboration with the IFRC and the ICRC, the Climate Centre brings an important humanitarian perspective to global policy processes, especially the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations.

Our engagement with the UN climate takes various forms: contributing to the 2022 IFRC submission to the UNFCCC on the operationalization of the Santiago Network, for example, and side-events at COP venues. The Climate Centre also provides support to the IFRC in the latter’s capacity an official observer to the UNFCCC.

Most recently Climate Centre and IFRC experts have contributed to two important reports by partners of the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance (see links box top right), on gaps in planning for resilient recovery and ways in which early warning early action can reduce loss and damage – the latter being absorbed by the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage.

In partnership with others, we jointly facilitate the Development and Climate Days for the COPs, bringing together grassroots representatives, researchers, development practitioners and policy-makers from all over the world to discuss how to build a climate-resilient future for all (see above). 

Photo: an intergenerational workshop at COP27 that included the Climate Centre and called for the international community to “get past the hand-shaking to life-saving action” on early warning early action. (Photo: Climate Centre)


Climate finance for National Societies

Global climate funds are difficult for National Societies to access, involving a costly and demanding accreditation process, so developing partnerships with accredited international organizations is vital.

National Societies can explore options for accessing climate finance through smaller funds, such as the Global Environment Facility or the French Facility for Global Environment, up to about 50,000 US dollars and intended to support community-level initiatives.

Some countries have national climate funds which may be accessible to National Societies: in their role as auxiliaries to government, they can make a strong case for accessing such finance to implement local adaptation projects.


'Smart, risk-informed, locally led finance'

This 2022 IFRC report sets out what it calls a vision for a smart, risk-informed and locally led approach to making money count for those hit hardest by climate change. To achieve this, urgent action is needed to prioritize the most vulnerable. This requires collective effort in mobilizing, governing and spending money for addressing climate risks. Donors and fund managers, humanitarian and development actors must all step up and work together.

Read the report
'Smart, risk-informed, locally led finance'

Should they stay or should they go?

People who live on small islands: should they stay or should they go? Regie Gibson’s and Wade Stephens’s song for the Climate Centre and the global audience is inspired by The Clash classic and was developed by our innovation lead, Pablo Suarez.

The song helps us realize exactly what we’re talking about when we speak of loss and damage: “it makes us feel the urgency and the pain”, say the makers.

About Regie Gibson