The following Climate and Environment sessions will be discussed during the Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Weeks 19 April – 07 May 2021.
The Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Weeks (HNPW) is co-hosted by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
To access sessions, please register at the HNPW site where you will be able to access the connection details and more information about the sessions.
If not specified, meetings in the programme below take place at Geneva local time (UK time+1 hour).
Beirut Port Explosions – International Frontline Response in a Pandemic
Monday 19 April, 14:00 – 15:00
The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the work of humanitarian response. International response teams have adapted and adopted new approaches and guidance to ensure the continuation of an effective and safe response to support the people in need.
The session will be hosted under the priority topic “emergency response in a pandemic” which will be facilitated by OCHA Peer-to-Peer project. It will provide participants a perspective through the lens of international front-liners and experts mobilized as part of the international response to Beirut port explosions on 4 August 2020.
Environment and Humanitarian Action Network (EHAN) – Annual Meeting
Tuesday 20 April, 9:00 – 12:30
The annual Environment and Humanitarian Action Network (EHAN) meeting will discuss environmental policies, operational approaches to the climate crisis as well as current initiatives on plastics, energy and environmental assessments. The EHAN composition work plan and visibility for 2021 will also be discussed.
High-Level Panel on Greening the Humanitarian Response Challenges and Opportunities
Monday 26 April, 10:00 – 11:15
This high-level event will open the HNPW Climate Crisis topic, putting the spotlight on an issue of pressing importance in the humanitarian space: reducing aid’s climate and environmental footprint. It will bring together high-level representatives from the NGO, UN and IO communities as well as the donor community. The session will set the scene and demonstrate both the importance of addressing environmental concerns and building environmental resilience, as well as the opportunities for improving the quality and impact of our collective work by doing so. The panelists will discuss what is meant by “greening” the humanitarian response, why humanitarians need to address the environmental impacts of their activities, how the greening agenda can be put into practice, including the potential cost implications and – even more importantly – what benefits can be gained from climate and environment friendly humanitarian action – for affected populations, beneficiaries, the environment, economically and for our collective future.
This changes everything: climate catastrophes and humanitarian action
Monday 26 April, 16:15 – 17:30
For humanitarians, the climate emergency changes everything with more and more severe disasters, and disasters for which there is little precedent. This session will introduce key areas where change is needed, actions that are under way, and key questions that humanitarians need to answer.
This changes financing: Formal humanitarian funding may decline significantly in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic. At the same time, financial needs are set to massively increase. The session will consider current discussions around Loss and Damage financing and how they might affect humanitarian budgets.
This changes structures: The formal humanitarian system has struggled to adapt to ‘new’ types of regional and global crisis. Panelists will identify emerging characteristics of an international architecture to manage global threats.
This changes localisation: COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of national and local civil society organisations. Facing the far greater global catastrophe of climate emergency, we will explore how the next decade might see a north to south and global to local rebalancing.
Climate and crisis – what do we need to know to improve response to the unknown future?
Tuesday 27 April, 13:00 – 14:00
The climate crisis is already having profound effects on the location, scale and nature of crises requiring humanitarian action and these effects only continue to increase. In particular, the world will see: increased flooding in urban areas; multiplication of droughts with increasing and widespread food insecurity; cyclones of increased intensity and frequency, with abnormal trajectories; wildfires of increased scale; heatwaves; and an increased number of public health emergencies. While it is harder to predict human behaviour in the face of environmental changes, it is also extremely possible that these conditions will lead to significantly increased levels of conflict and human migration.
Given the range of crises influenced by the climate emergency and the importance of predicting its future effects, it is important for humanitarian actors to analyse and learn from previous crisis to understand what would be relevant for anticipated scale and type of disasters.
This session will focus on the climate crisis from the perspective of evidence. It will explore two main sets of questions: 1. What can we already know about unprecedented events? How can we collect useful evidence on events that have not yet happened?; 2. What is the scope of the climate impact on humanitarian action? What do we need to know to understand the full breadth of a topic that ‘changes everything’?
Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations
Tuesday 27 April, 14:00 – 15:00
At the 33rd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in December 2019 the ICRC, IFRC, and a number of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies pledged to lead a consultative process to develop a Climate and Environment Charter for the humanitarian sector. This pledge reflected a growing recognition of the key role humanitarian organizations will have to play to address the climate and environment crises facing our planet. Humanitarian organizations must be a part of the solution, by helping people adapt to a changing climate and environment and by increasing our own environmental sustainability. The Charter is intended to provide a clear vision and principles to guide humanitarian action in the face of these crises. Consultations on the Charter have been taking place since December 2020, and by the summer of 2021 a final text is expected to be available for organizations across the sector to sign.
This session will offer an opportunity to hear from local, national, and international NGOs and agencies on the contents and purpose of the Charter. Organizations will share insights and ideas about how the Charter can be used, tools that may be available to help implement it, and what organizations of different scale and capacities can do to support one another.
Connected Talks – Climate Crisis, Nexus, Anticipatory Action
Tuesday 27 April, 16:00 – 17:00, Wednesday 28 April, 9:00 – 10:00 and Thursday 29 April, 13:00 – 14:00
These sessions of the Connected Talks focus on the priority topics: Climate Crisis, Nexus, Anticipatory Action.
Reducing the environmental footprint of aid: best practices and lessons learned
Wednesday 28 April, 12:00 – 13:00
As the environmental crisis deepens, humanitarian actors, from donors to local volunteers, are faced with a collective responsibility to ensure that their work does not further contribute to deteriorating the environment people live in and rely on for their livelihoods and, ultimately, their health and well- being. This calls for taking all necessary measures to reduce the climate and environmental footprint of humanitarian aid. DG ECHO decided to develop resources to help raise awareness among humanitarian organizations about their impacts on the environment and the climate. A compendium was developed to provide examples of good practices that have been successfully tested by various organizations around the world. The compendium includes factsheets on 12 different projects. The session will provide an overview of the work that has been done and will inspire organizations who are curious about the technical and financial aspects of environmentally sustainable projects. The session will also explore what the sector still needs to do to integrate environmental sustainability into humanitarian practices.
Climate Change Adaptation in Humanitarian Hotspots: The Power of Data
Wednesday 28 April, 13:00 – 14:00
Humanitarian crises continue to grow in scale and complexity, with 235 million people worldwide in need of humanitarian assistance in 2021. This represents an increase of 40% in just one year, with the figure pushed to a record high under the COVID-19 pandemic, which has further highlighted the links between environment and emergencies.
While the root causes of many of the most urgent humanitarian emergencies today are political, the climate crisis is a primary intensifier of humanitarian crises. It will lead to more extreme disasters more frequently and is already intensifying conflict situations. The humanitarian implications of this unprecedented global environmental challenge are substantial. By exacerbating vulnerabilities, the climate crisis will put a further strain on existing capacities, acting as an environmental stressor on human and environmental health, food security and migration.
Transformational change is required to meet the challenge. There is just no room for inaction. The good news is that we live in a world of data. We have access to more data than ever before. Harnessing the power of data can help drive faster, risk-informed crisis response, contributing to shifting from short-term stability to long-term resilience.
This session will bring you on a journey exploring how artificial intelligence can help deliver on the data revolution and promote climate and humanitarian action alignment.
Towards a greener and climate smart humanitarian response
Wednesday 28 April, 14:00 – 15:30
In the current dramatic global context of environmental degradation and climate change, all sectors of society, including humanitarian action, need to reduce their environmental impact and adapt their responses to the effects of climate change. Much of the humanitarian assistance currently relies heavily on high-carbon emission and plastics interventions that have environmental impacts.
The Global Shelter Cluster (GSC) will work with the Global Logistics Cluster (GLC), other clusters and related bodies to green the humanitarian response and make it climate smarter. This will be done in a two-pronged approach. Firstly, in consultation with WASH, Education, and Health by greening the specifications of most common humanitarian items delivered in-kind. Secondly, by supporting country-level shelter clusters to plan and implement operations that are as climate smart as possible.
The Global Shelter Cluster will present this initiative during the HNPW and discuss potential interest from partners in contributing to it. This session will also explore what ‘‘greening the response’’ is for humanitarian agencies, map what initiatives are currently in progress and identify gaps in advancing the environmental and climate agendas.
Persons with Disabilities and Climate Action: how can we be more inclusive?
Thursday 29 April, 13:00 – 14:00
There is an urgent need to build bridges between Disability Rights and the Environmental and Climate Justice movements to ensure that no one will be left behind in the context of unpredictable weather behaviour. It is not until very recently that the subject was discussed in the context of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, and that the OHCHR launched an Analytical study on the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of climate change.
Humanitarian responders must consult people with disabilities and their organizations about ways to achieve meaningful inclusion in action plans to support populations who are already experiencing famine, lack of access to water, floods, wildfires and forced relocation.
Nature-based Solutions for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Humanitarian Contexts
Monday 3 May, 15:00 – 16:00
In this session, a panel discussion of participants across sectors in nature-based solutions for disaster risk reduction will explore the contribution of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) to developing cost-effective, novel and durable solutions within crisis-hit areas and building immediate and long-term resilience. Interactive small group discussions will follow, exploring different themes and deliverables (e.g. policy briefs, a toolkit and guidance) of the working group’s learning agenda and promoting collective problem-solving and partnership.