Bonn/Geneva 14 November 2017 – The Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Elhadj As Sy, today described climate change as “a key driver of risk” in the modern world, adding that his organization’s role in addressing the needs of the most vulnerable people will be “still more pivotal” over the next few years.

Mr Sy points out that more than 90 per cent of natural hazards are now regarded as climate-related, and demand for Red Cross Red Crescent humanitarian services is likely to surge.

Writing in a foreword to the IFRC’s new Framework for Climate Action Toward 2020, Mr Sy says that in the last ten years “Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies have taken great strides in integrating climate risks in their operations and engaging with governments and other partners.”

The IFRC’s budget for the next four years provides for these Societies to continue to be “supported in their auxiliary role to contribute to the implementation of the Paris Agreement”.  Outputs include improving early-warning systems, awareness raising, and the adoption of values and practices that are both informed about climate risk and environmentally responsible.

The Framework is issued today to coincide with a cluster of side-events centred on resilience at the COP23 climate talks in Bonn.

Mr Sy writes that “community resilience is both our own institutional priority and

squarely at the intersection of global frameworks and commitments on humanitarian action, development and the environment.”

The Framework document represents the IFRC’s plan “to keep pace with the changing operational, scientific and policy landscapes on climate, defining a stronger role for the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement both through programmes in the field, and advocacy in the corridors of power.”

It was compiled together with the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, which is hosted by the Netherlands Red Cross in The Hague, and incorporates extensive input from Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies facing climate impacts around the world.

It sets out four main areas of work for the Red Cross and Red Crescent to focus on over the next few years, centred on knowledge, adaptation, partnerships, and mitigation and greening.

It also asks governments to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable are addressed in policy-making, to provide increased finance for adaptation and resilience, to ensure local actors play important roles always, and to practise integrated risk management that includes ecosystems.

“In the field of climate, as much as any other,” Mr Sy adds, “the Red Cross Red Crescent is the embodiment of the concept of ‘local to global’.

“This Framework document identifies how the Movement can make the most of its comparative advantages, mobilizing the power of humanity in the face of rising risks.”

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Media contacts

To schedule an interview in Bonn
Maarten van Aalst
Director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre
+31 615 086 199

In Geneva
Laura Ngô-Fontaine
+41 79 959 3662