Is climate change just another humanitarian challenge or a game changer for the entire humanitarian system? What are climate-related disasters? In this CHAtroom episode Paul Knox Clark, director of the ADAPT Initiative, provides answers.
Paul Knox Clark is principal of the ADAPT initiative. He was a practitioner in humanitarian action and is now a researcher, leader and thinker in the humanitarian sector.
“Climate change will be a game changer because of new kinds of emergencies, cascading emergencies and a different environment.”
“A huge wave of disasters is bearing down on us. Humanitarians are not really prepared for the scale or nature of that.”
“The ways that we are used to responding may become less effective or even dangerous.”
“The real challenge is the challenge of uncertainty. We won’t know how things are going to change, necessarily, until they change. And so that’s going to mean a quite fundamental change in the way that humanitarian response works in terms of being much more flexible, much more adaptive.”
Regarding funding: “Firstly, there needs to be more money. […] Currently the money that is available and relates to climate crisis related disasters is split into humanitarian, development and climate financing. That is not very efficient, it prevents linkages happening. So, rethinking and reworking the silos and allowing, particularly for donors to allow funding to be flexible across these areas is very important. Finally, in all of these areas […] mechanisms are required to allow organisations [on the frontline], who often have best knowledge to have direct access to that funding.”
“We have to be very careful not to believe that any single approach – resilience, response, anticipation – is the magic bullet for this. It is much, much too big for that. Really, we are going to need to be better, all the way of the spectrum.”
Twitter: @Adapt_Init @pknoxclarke
Report ‘Climate Change and Humanitarian Action, 2021, Groupe URD
ALNAP Lessons Paper: Adapting humanitarian action to the effects of climate change
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