ADRA Network calls on holistic climate action and shares experience at COP28 in Dubai
In the theater of our world’s history, 2023 emerges as a pivotal act in the climate action narrative. The impending GlobalStocktake is poised to affirm what we already understand: The time for decisive action is rapidly dwindling.
This crisis has far-reaching consequences. As humanitarian actors on the frontlines of the crisis, we are witnessing health and livelihoods in jeopardy and the enduring challenges of poverty and injustice exacerbated.
ADRA’s network of 117 global offices work in unity to provide support to 30 million people worldwide. Together with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, our global footprint includes 22 million church members and a vast network of medical facilities, schools, and more. In our humanitarian aid and development projects we work in close partnership with the local population and stand shoulder to shoulder with communities grappling with the harsh realities of climate change. Our teams have built valuable expertise in mitigation and adaptation over the years, responding to climate disasters and building resilience and sustainable livelihoods in areas where climate change negatively affects communities. Our global regenerative agricultural programs have a track record of more than 20 years, long before concepts like nature-based solutions were discussed on a larger scale. Within the ADRA network, offices have started to move towards net zero, a growing number signed the Climate Charter, we shared our knowledge at the COP26 and COP27, and published the comprehensive Carbon Reduction Guide in 2021. In April 2022, ADRA Canada and ADRA Germany took part in the pilot of the Humanitarian Carbon Calculator developed by ICRC and EcoAct. Through this pilot, office emissions at both offices as well as two projects in India and Mozambique were measured. Our projects range globally from youth and women empowerment to livelihoods and disaster risk management with countless examples from the whole network in the area of climate-sensitive project design and environmental protection.
As a civil society and faith-based organization, we serve within the most marginalized communities, but we also see the bigger context. We must prevent catastrophes and protect communities.
For holistic climate action, we need change on a larger scale in favor of climate and biodiversity protection. In Dubai, we should seize this opportunity of coming together and driving to combat the climate crisis to ensure a safer future for our global family. In the following three recommendations, we want to share our learnings for inclusive and effective action in the hope that they will find consideration in the policy decisions.
1. Stronger consideration of civil society actors and affected population
The active inclusion of local groups and marginalized voices is an essential component of effective climate action. It is imperative to engage affected target groups to understand their needs. ARDA firmly believes in the principle that adaptation measures must be locally-led from the community’s lowest possible level. For us, this also includes the promotion of local food security systems and small-holder farmers, and the protection of indigenous communities and ensuring access to land. We are acutely aware of the disproportionate impact of climate change on woman and other marginalized groups, further exacerbating existing vulnerabilities and inequalities. In our projects, we prioritize the empowerment of individuals as experts of their own lives. Transformative education and the allocation of sufficient resources support sustainable change. In this context, we emphasize the essential role that smaller actors and civil society organizations play in the UNFCCC climate discussions. We advocate for continuous and equitable representation through more in-person attendance at the UN Climate Conferences.
2. Beyond Adaptation – considering the entire cycle of climate action
At ADRA, we advocate for a comprehensive approach to climate action that extends beyond mere adaptation. We support people in many stages of relief and development. We know the importance of the nexus approach, interlinkages between programs, sustainable response, quick recovery and people-centered design. A holistic view on a problem brings the most sustainable solution. As the effects of climate change are evident on so many levels – economic, environmental, human conflict, migration, to name a few – the response must consider multiple challenges at once. People who are hit hardest by slow and sudden onsets should receive quick and sustainable relief to rebuild their homes and lives in a better, more sustainable efficient and safe way. We firmly believe in the leadership of local communities and actors in designing and implementing loss and damage programs as their knowledge and insights form the foundation of effective climate action. While the adaptation measures are important, they represent just one facet of our broader strategy. Immediate support for the most vulnerable is paramount, and we commit to assisting affected regions in implementing their adaptation measures. We strongly support the quick establishment of the Loss and Damage fund, its access to civil society actors, and the pillars of climate justice that should form the fund. At the same time, adaptation is only sustainable if we rapidly restrict emissions. Every adaptation plan should aim to mitigate as well. The entire cycle of climate action needs to be considered in policy talks.
3. Considering the interdependence between food, nutrition, and climate for building sustainable and resilient communities.
Sustainable land use projects and sustainable food production are a strong suit of ADRA. We see it in our projects everyday: There are major and increasing interdependencies between climate change, climate shocks, and global access to adequate and nutritious food. Extreme weather events such as drought have a direct impact on food security, especially for the most marginalized, and therefore cause hunger and malnutrition with extreme effects on health and physical development. The right to adequate food must serve as both a decisive and guiding principle in our climate action. Holistic approaches that understand interdependencies and work at intersections, e.g., agroecology, Nature-based Solutions and One Health, and take into account climate compatibility and social aspects. Restructuring of food systems must be based on these approaches. We eagerly anticipate the central focus on food systems at the upcoming COP and urge funding mechanism that mirrors the importance of these interactions. ADRA joins COP28 as an Observer in Dubai, marking our commitment to climate action. As humanity faces the climate crisis, collective action is our greatest asset. We eagerly anticipate collaborating, gaining insights, and forging solutions alongside other experienced actors. Together, we pave the way for a sustainable future.