According to a new analysis by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), global efforts to tackle climate change are currently failing to protect the people who are most at risk.
IFRC’s World Disasters Report 2020: Come Heat or High Water shows that the countries most affected by climate-related disasters receive only a fraction of the funding that is available for climate change adaptation and thus struggle to protect people from the aggravating effects of climate change.
IFRC’s Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain stated, “Our first responsibility is to protect communities that are the most exposed and vulnerable to climate risks. However, our research demonstrates that the world is collectively failing to do this.”
Mr Jagan added, “There is a clear disconnection between where climate risk is greatest and where climate adaptation funding goes. This disconnection could very well cost lives.”
The failure to protect the people most vulnerable to climate change is especially alarming given the steady increase in the number of climate and weather-related disasters.
According to the World Disasters Report, the average number of climate and weather-related disasters per decade has increased by nearly 35 percent since the 1990s.
Over the past decade, 83 percent of all disasters were caused by extreme weather and climate-related events such as floods, storms, and heatwaves. Together, these disasters killed more than 410,000 people and affected a staggering 1.7 billion people.
The World Disasters Report also argues that the massive stimulus packages that are currently being developed around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are an opportunity to address and reduce climate vulnerability.
A recovery that protects people and the planet would not only help to reduce today’s risks but would also make communities safer and more resilient to future disasters.
Smart financing – with a focus on early warning and anticipatory action to reduce risks and prevent disasters before they happen – and risk reduction measures would both play a major role in protecting the most exposed communities.