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More Tasks, More Resources, More Inclusion – Requirements for humanitarian assistance in times of increasing climate risks

By Oliver Müller

A worsening of living conditions and food security in the world’s regions most affected by climate change poses enormous challenges for humanitarian assistance, particularly since these regions often also have the lowest capacity for adaptation. The expected continued increase in weather-related disasters, which can already be observed today, forces commensurate adjustments in terms of infrastructure and the scope of emergency aid measures. Moreover, the consequences of climate change overlap with conflicts in many respects, causing and amplifying complex crises. Resource scarcity due to rising temperatures and a diminished capacity for self-sufficiency can result in vicious cycles of uprooting, impoverishment and violent conflicts. Internal migration spurred by climate change increases the number of refugees and displaced people, and not infrequently leads to a loss of cultural identity and social status.

Knowledge of the contexts described above, consideration of local traditions, the inclusion of civil society, and gender equity are all key elements that must be taken into account in humanitarian assistance activities as well as in crisis management and prevention. For aid organizations, it will be more important than ever, moving beyond technical and infrastructural adaptation possibilities, to ensure that responsibility for disaster preparedness is deeply embedded in the affected societies. Yet this can only succeed if financing issues are resolved at the global level and combating climate change in accordance with the Paris Agreement, as well as financial compensation of the immense damage and losses, are accorded top priority. 

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