Climate Change & Humanitarian Action 2021

Knox-Clarke, P.
Publication language
Date published
30 Nov 2021
Research, reports and studies
Development & humanitarian aid, Environment & climate, Climate Action (SDG)
Groupe URD

This report considers the relationship between climate change and humanitarian action. It asks how climate change will affect humanitarian needs; outlines the current state of readiness to meet these needs; proposes changes that are required to improve readiness and response capacities; and suggests a series of activities that would support these changes.

The report is based on a literature review of peer-reviewed and other high-quality documents, and on two consultation meetings and over 70 interviews with a range of disaster management, humanitarian and climate experts and practitioners.

The main focus of the report is the ‘humanitarian system’: the loose structure of organisations that provide support to people affected by ‘natural disasters and other emergencies’ when the emergency is ‘beyond the response capacity’ of a country’s own government. It was this system and its activities that were the focus of the literature review. However, as responding to disasters and crises related to climate change is a task well beyond the scope of the international humanitarian system alone, interviews and consultations were also conducted with representatives of national-disaster management agencies, development organisations and civil society groups (including women's and youth groups) who would not normally be considered or consider themselves as part of the system.

Thus, while the recommendations made at the end of the report are primarily directed at formal humanitarian actors, they also have relevance to a broader set of organisations working at local, national, regional and international levels.