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CLIMATE CHANGE – A CHALLENGE FOR US ALL
Climate change is a complex global problem, that requires unprecedented global cooperation to solve. We know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that significant climate change impacts are now unavoidable. Simply, because we haven’t done the work required to transition our economies away from a reliance on fossil fuels. And it is the poorest and most vulnerable people and communities who are paying the highest price. This means that we need to work even harder to make sure the impressive development gains achieved in recent times are not undermined as climate change impacts escalate.
NGOs already work in many of the places hardest hit by the climate crisis. As a sector, we’re helping children and their communities to address key challenges, from staying healthy and accessing a quality education, to staying safe and bouncing back after a disaster. But, as the climate crisis worsens, we are realising we need to think differently if we are to truly tackle the systemic challenges facing these communities.
A ’BUSINESS UNUSUAL’ APPROACH
That’s why Save the Children is shaking up our approach and working to foster resilience in the face of the climate crisis. First, we’re ensuring that everything we do factors in climate change risks and resilience building – regardless of sector or location. We’re building on our child-centred approach – putting children at the centre of solutions – to help drive change and integrate climate responses across our programmes. This is a necessary step, but it is insufficient to meet the growing challenge climate change presents to communities around the world.
To tackle the challenge head on, we’re taking community-based, locally-led approaches to helping communities build their resilience to climate change to scale – working to bridge the yawning gap between global flows of climate finance and needs at the local level. Our partnership with the Green Climate Fund is a key element of this approach. Together we can help ensure that a growing share of climate finance makes it to the people who need it most – disadvantaged communities in climate-vulnerable places.
We are also supporting the growing call to ensure adaptation finance is locally-led – putting communities in the driver’s seat in decision-making about how climate finance is allocated and what it is spent on.
CLIMATE FINANCE – A GAME CHANGER BUT NOT A SILVER BULLET
While official development assistance (ODA) is under strain, some rich countries are living up to their promise to provide $100 billion a year in public finance to support developing countries to manage the climate crisis. As aid volumes decrease, a number of these countries are holding firm on their climate finance commitments. Regrettably, the $100 billion figure wasn’t met in 2020 and likely won’t be met in 2021 either, but flows of global climate finance are continuing to trend up – bucking the downward trend of ODA.
Despite this positive trajectory, the share of climate finance allocated to adaptation – to helping people prepare for and cope with the impacts of climate change that can no longer be avoided – remains woefully low and the gap between growing adaptation needs and available finance is not closing. Even worse, the amount of climate finance allocated to adaptation that is targeted to directly supporting community-based adaptation is miniscule – less than 10% of total flows.
In this context, leveraging significant flows of climate finance from institutions like the Green Climate Fund to address current and future climate change challenges at the local level can catalyse a step change in the way adaptation is conceived and implemented by communities. However, the adaptation challenge at the local level is inextricably interlinked with other drivers of vulnerability (like health impacts, economic shocks and discrimination) that climate funds aren’t established to address.
This means that climate finance alone won’t get us to where we want to be. We need to see significant increases in investment in local communities from all partners to support climate-smart skills development for the next generation. We need to accompany climate finance with broader, more flexible flows to ensure we can tackle all the drivers of local vulnerability at the same time. That’s why private sector and philanthropic investments in local resilience have never been needed more. Simultaneously, these social investors have never had a greater opportunity to leverage the global climate finance flows now available to catalyse the change that we need to see if we are to ensure that the climate crisis does not derail global efforts to eradicate poverty and inequality one and for all.