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The Climate Crisis and its impact on an already struggling Humanitarian sector

by Charlotte Colombeau, Research & Communications Executive (F4ID)

The dust settles…

With COP 27 concluding last week, climate crisis is likely to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds. The event welcomed over 35,000 attendees representing governments, businesses, civil society groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). It created talking points including but not limited to an agreement to provide ‘loss and damage’ funding for vulnerable countries affected by climate disasters. This was of particular interest to NGOs who play a key role in supporting disaster-stricken communities and face enormous pressure to provide solutions to meet the growing need of people affected by these disasters.

How does climate change impact the humanitarian sector?

Humanitarian need is greatly exacerbated by climate change, especially in the world's poorest nations – nations who contribute the least to its triggers. If the 1.5°C and 2°C targets are not hit, humanitarian consequences are projected to increase exponentially and, according to the European Parliament, climate change is expected to impoverish millions. This puts an ever-increasing strain on the humanitarian sector to create new fast and sustainable approaches to the delivery of assistance.

The effect of climate change on L20 pilot countries

This year F4ID piloted L20 in 3 countries: Afghanistan, Kenya and Nigeria. The digital solution allows NGOs to deliver humanitarian assistance to a vast number of people quickly and anonymously whilst stimulating and strengthening local markets. Assisting people whilst driving money back into the local economy is essential to rebuild communities.

Kenya, especially our pilot areas Garissa and Dadaab, has been severely affected by drought which has led to reduced grazing land for animals, unsuccessful harvests and severe water shortages. Farmers have reportedly lost 90% of their livestock and many women, girls and herders must travel vast distances in quest of water. Additionally, the drought crisis which has been worsened by climate change, has exacerbated already existing gender inequalities, with increased rates of gender-based violence and reports of families marrying-off young girls to preserve resources.

Afghanistan has been home to a range of disasters including droughts, earthquakes and floods, and climate change has caused these disasters to increase both in frequency and severity. In a country where 80% of the population rely on agriculture to survive, these increased environmental disasters have a detrimental effect. In Nigeria, the number of families depending on agriculture is also extremely high, at 70%, and more than half of this population are currently at risk of poor food supply from low farming yields as a result of climate change.

humanitarian innovation

Humanitarian organisations must innovate to cope

The above examples of the increased severity and frequency of natural disasters highlight the importance of innovation within the humanitarian sector. Innovations such as L20 are essential to ensure assistance can be delivered quickly working in union with the local economy rather than providing a temporary fix to a much longer-term disaster.

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