Red Cross/ Red Crescent Climate Centre

Humanitarian diplomacy

Our humanitarian diplomacy agenda, closely aligned with the IFRC’s, focuses on ensuring that the voices of the most vulnerable are firmly embedded in wider policies for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA).

Building on efforts by National Societies, the IFRC secretariat and external partners from academia, think tanks and implementing agencies, the Climate Centre has made progress in integrating DRR and CCA into humanitarian decision-making and planning.

From its role in the Partners for Resilience (PfR) alliance, we have been able to promote lessons learned for building resilience in an increasingly uncertain climate.

The core of our humanitarian diplomacy agenda is threefold:

  • In climate policy and finance, disasters and extreme-weather events should be considered.
  • Climate adaptation should focus on the most vulnerable groups.
  • Adaptation should go beyond national planning and prioritize strengthening local capacities.

We contributed, for example, to a joint report published by the ICRC and International Federation, Istanbul and beyond, published ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul (photo), that affirmed the Movements key messages for the global conference.

As part of a discussion in that report on operational diversity in the humanitarian system, it pledged to “rapidly scale up our use of forecast-based financing by…doubling the existing coverage of this mechanism within the Movement by 2018”.

Other collaboration with the IFRC secretariat includes a new framework for resilience, an action plan on climate change 2013–16, and guidance for National Societies on how to engage in National Adaptation Plans.

The Climate Centre contributes importantly to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and to the interaction between IPCC findings and Red Cross Red Crescent work on policy and practice.

Our director Maarten van Aalst was Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC’s 2012 Special Report on Extremes and Lead Author of its Fifth Assessment Report (“AR5”).

The most important recent IPCC report for the Red Cross Red Crescent, Working Group II on impacts and adaptation (to which Dr Van Aalst also contributed to), was released in March 2014 in Yokohama, Japan.

We collaborated with the UK-based Climate and Development Knowledge Network to produce simple regional summaries with key IPCC information, following a similar and very well-received set of products released after the 2012 SREX report.