What’s next for Sounding the Siren?

Tacloban, Philippines - The devastating Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 damaged 1.1 million houses and killed thousands. Because the Philippines is at high risk for natural disasters and climate-sensitive diseases, OCHA has begun setting up an anticipatory action pilot that should help direct support even before disaster strikes. (Photo credit: Amy Hughes, 2013).

Ahead of COP26, UK-Med helped publish the Sounding the Siren Report that asked aid workers – how do we prepare the aid system for the climate emergency? You can learn more about the report’s findings and recommendations at soundingthesiren.com

With the long-term impact of the COP26 climate negotiations unclear, many communities were left disappointed with the lack of transformational action. For us, and other members of the Sounding the Siren project, we know this is just the start.

The climate crisis is adding stress to an already overwhelmed humanitarian system which creaks under the strain of responding to simultaneous and protracted responses across the globe. Climate- related disasters further exacerbate demand placed on the system and action is required now.

UN Secretary -General Antonio Guterres states: “Climate change is the defining issue of our time – and we are at a defining moment. We face a direct existential threat.” In order to meet one of the greatest challenges of our time, “The climate crisis demands a transformational change of the humanitarian sector.”

We must act now to save lives now, in five years and fifty years’ time.

What’s next?

Through the research, HCRI, UK-Med and Save the Children UK identified the need for a new, funded and proactive alliance that can guide the aid sector through the decisive actions needed to make the seven changes Sounding the Siren highlighted.

Adapting the humanitarian sector to the increased demands on it posed by climate change requires deliberate, concerted action. Climate change is a cross-cutting topic with multiplying effects. The challenges in distinguishing and attributing climate within emergencies can mean that action is often slow, ad-hoc, and disparate.

Our vision is a Humanitarian Climate Action Alliance developed to inspire, inform and assist organised action for the most crucial humanitarian challenge ahead of us. A collaboration, which draws on existing work, expertise, and capacity of civil society, national governments, NGOs, private sector, and academia will help to fill the significant information gap on the impacts of climate change in vulnerable contexts, support and strengthen capacity, address gaps in funding and magnify advocacy on the topic, focussing on the following three areas:

  1. Filling in information gaps and developing a framework for practical action. 
  2. Improving funding, access to essential supplies and building greater capacity at the local level. 
  3. Magnifying the voices of those most impacted by the climate emergency and advocating for more effective humanitarian action. 

Right now, we are building partnerships, speaking to donors and working on the turning this vision into an operational plan for action. The aim is to use the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2022 as another moment to accelerate action behind the proposal.

Thank you for Sounding the Siren!

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