Annual Report 2018

Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre

Ugandan Red Cross volunteers visit a valley dam last year renovated with German Red Cross support. The German government through the Red Cross has now funded a major expansion of forecast-based financing, launched in Uganda in 2015, with the adoption by the IFRC of a new action fund. (Camera: Denis Onyodi/URCS-DRK)

Ugandan Red Cross volunteers visit a valley dam last year renovated with German Red Cross support. The German government through the Red Cross has now funded a major expansion of forecast-based financing, launched in Uganda in 2015, with the adoption by the IFRC of a new action fund. (Camera: Denis Onyodi/URCS-DRK)

THIS ANNUAL REPORT covers our 2018 investments in science, policy, practice and innovation in support of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change and extreme-weather events on vulnerable people.

The Climate Centre provides technical inputs to Red Cross Red Crescent actors and their partners in integrating climate risk management into their work. We contribute to discussions on policy and investments by drawing on both practical experience and scientific research; this includes support to the Movement’s statutory meetings and processes to promote climate risk management as an area of focus.

The Climate Centre also seeks to advance understanding of climate risks and how these risks impact the most vulnerable, partnering with scientific bodies and sharing Red Cross Red Crescent experience to shape research agendas and promote evidence-based policy and action.

PREFACE

In a year of firsts one stands out: the historic Climate Science and Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva – held in the same week of October as the IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C report was published. The meeting was intended to unpack the alarming findings of this report and the impact on vulnerable communities and people around the world. IFRC Secretary General Elhadj As Sy stated that for many people climate change had become “a matter of life and death, it’s that simple”.

The timing was no accident. The dialogue was the fruit of months of work by officials from Switzerland, Fiji and the Netherlands, as well as the IFRC, the Climate Centre, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) itself, and the Climate Action Network. The meeting hosted representatives of nearly 30 states as well as UN agencies, international organizations, NGOs, and academic staff and students.

It formed the centrepiece of our latest efforts to bring humanitarian perspectives and a framing on risk to bear on the IPCC process, and in one significant achievement three scientists from the Climate Centre were last year selected to be Coordinating Lead Authors for Working Group II on impacts of the IPCC’s next assessment report.

Such impacts, of course, are becoming more evident in our daily work, identifiable impacts of climate change, not just extreme weather. An attribution study released to the world’s media in July, for example, said man-made climate change made the drought in South Africa’s Western Cape province about three times more likely.

In the first intervention of its kind at the Security Council, the ICRC’s Permanent Observer at the UN, Robert Mardini, said the international community “must consider how the simultaneous shocks of climate change and armed conflict affect people’s livelihoods”. His comments directly reflected the ICRC’s new institutional strategy, invoked by Switzerland at the Geneva dialogue in October.

Another first last year, was the integration of the forecast-based financing operating model – with vital ongoing support from Germany and a major new donation from the Netherlands-based IKEA Foundation – into the multilateral Red Cross Red Crescent system as a forecast-based action fund coupled with the DREF. Announced at a news conference in Geneva in May, it was quickly described as a “game-changer” by the IFRC and constituted direct, and arguably prompt, implementation of its own strategy for climate action, finalized a few months earlier at the Bonn COP talks. 

Several encouraging firsts last year also from Africa – a continent everyone now agrees is disproportionately affected by climate impacts. Ten national meteorological services were represented at the first FbF dialogue platform to be held in Africa, for example, which also hosted its first biennial Adaptation Futures meeting.

We have been stepping up our efforts to help the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement innovate in the climate area, by working with our colleagues at the Global Disaster Preparedness Center on the Business Preparedness Initiative, for example. Programmes like BRACED and Partners for Resilience (PfR), meanwhile, continue to demonstrate that it is possible to build resilience in a climate-smart way and, over time, at scale. 

So now we are gradually gearing up for 2020, sure to be a critical year with the global stocktake on the Paris rule book; as things stand it’s clear the world will not be meeting its ambitions. Much-needed impetus emerged last year from the Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA), however, and we hope there’ll be more this year from the UN climate summit in September. In 2019, we will continue our high-level engagement to spur increased ambition and commitments in resilience, embracing local perspectives and action in the context of both the GCA and the summit.

So let’s take all these various cues and make this a year of significantly raised ambition. We have the ideas, we have the volunteers, we have the drive. We can be proud of the groundwork in 2018, and look forward now to serving the humanitarian Movement as it steps up to address the rising risks of climate change.

by Ed Nijpels and Maarten van Aalst 

At right: Yo me adapto workshop, Guatemala, that also included a strong message on rolling back plastics pollution, November 2018

(At right: Yo me adapto workshop, Guatemala, that also included a strong message on rolling back plastics pollution, November 2018.)

Humanitarian diplomacy

‘Climate change will shape tomorrow’s humanitarian needs, tomorrow’s conflicts, tomorrow’s vulnerabilities, and it will shape tomorrow’s humanitarian response’

– Monique van Daalen, Netherlands ambassador to the UN in Geneva, opening remarks at the science-humanitarian dialogue

IFRC Secretary General ElHadj As Sy joins other new commissioners at the October 2018 launch of Global Commission on Adaptation, The Hague

IFRC Secretary General ElHadj As Sy (back row, far left) joins other new commissioners at the October 2018 launch of Global Commission on Adaptation, The Hague

IFRC Secretary General ElHadj As Sy joins other new commissioners at October 2018 launch of Global Commission on Adaptation, The Hague

The year 2018 was a pivotal one for global climate action, including some progress in the form of the rule book for the Paris Agreement, finalized at the COP24 meeting in Katowice, but also a scientific wake-up call with the IPCC’s 1.5 degrees report.

The Climate Centre continued to support the Movement’s engagement in discussions around these events and worked with National Societies on national and local level linkages, to ensure bottom-up messaging is featured in international negotiations and forums.

In collaboration with the IFRC, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Fiji and others we jointly hosted the first ever Climate Science and Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva in October (see below, IPCC), where the Haitian Red Cross presented a video with messaging on climate change through the eyes of local people.

IFRC Under Secretary General Jagan Chapagain, high-level round table on resilience at COP 24

IFRC Under Secretary General Jagan Chapagain, high-level round table on resilience at COP 24

IFRC Under Secretary General Jagan Chapagain, high-level round table on resilience at COP 24

The IFRC delegation at COP24 was led by Under Secretary General for Programmes and Operations and Climate Centre board member, Jagan Chapagain, who memorably told a high-level round table on climate action that “we need to move from debating value for money to value for people”.

Like earlier COPs the Climate Centre engaged in the technical expert meetings on adaptation (TEM-A), dialogues on loss and damage, and several other agendas. We continue to argue for more local action and increased participation by vulnerable groups in investments in adaptation. (Currently only 10 per cent of climate finance goes to adaptation at the local level.)

Once again, the Climate Centre played a lead role in jointly convening the 16th Development and Climate Days, which gathered some 350 policymakers, researchers and development practitioners alongside the UN climate talks in Poland. The interactive D&C Days sessions centred on the idea of delivering climate resilience for all.

In May, while formal negotiations took place in Bonn on operationalizing the Paris Agreement, the Climate Centre took part in the Talanoa Dialogue; we also helped convene a TEM-A session and joined a Suva expert dialogue session on loss and damage.

The IFRC and Partners for Resilience (PfR) delegations that included the Climate Centre at the July Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) in Ulaanbaatar, joined technical sessions on community resilience, risk financing, insurance and early warning, and we contributed to case studies. An IFRC statement of action for AMCDRR set out actions by National Societies across Asia.

The IPCC

‘One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea-levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice’ 

– Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair, Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) Working Group I (SR1.5 press release)

Climate Science and Humanitarian Dialogue, October 2018 (IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair Debra Roberts at far left)

Climate Science and Humanitarian Dialogue, October 2018 (IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair Debra Roberts at left)

Climate Science and Humanitarian Dialogue, October 2018 (IPCC Working Group II Co-Chair Debra Roberts at far left)

In addressing risk, the Climate Centre continues to link scientific advances, practice on the ground, and dialogue on policy. Given the continuing importance of helping scientists frame humanitarian risk in generating projections, forecasts and warnings, we work for better usability and accessibility of the research and data that potentially help humanitarians make life-saving decisions.

Three scientists from the Climate Centre will join more than 700 experts from some 90 countries who will work on the next IPCC assessment of the global climate, the sixth, ‘AR6’, it was announced last year. They will contribute to chapters on risks, including decision-making for managing risk, and small island states.

The IPCC, meanwhile, released a special report setting out predicted impacts of 1.5°C and 2.0°C rises in the global temperature, discussed in detail at the Climate Science and Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva.

Summer 2018 heat and fires in California

Summer 2018 heat and fires in California

Summer 2018 heat and fires in California

That meeting, historic in its way, included representatives of nearly 30 states as well as UN agencies, international organizations, NGOs, and academic staff and students.

Humanitarian realities were difficult to assess in a report like SR1.5, explained Climate Centre Director Maarten van Aalst, because “so little of it gets formally documented…properly, scientifically written down.”

In addition, in terms of the knowledge gaps the IPCC still faced, it was also the case that “the most vulnerable places had the poorest science”, and more investment in science and scientists in the developing world was essential. He called for humanitarians to be ambassadors for climate action by telling stories of impacts on the ground.

PROGRAMMES

Partners for Resilience

‘We need large-scale initiatives that can transform whole landscapes, rural and urban, into safer and more prosperous places’ 

– PfR agencies’ joint statement for COP24 in Katowice

PfR educational module, April 2018: Ashley, Cindy and Irma make souvenirs out of discarded bottles, Instituto Nacional de Educación Básica de Telesecundaria, Las Lisas, Guatemala

PfR educational module, April 2018: Ashley, Cindy and Irma make souvenirs out of discarded bottles, Instituto Nacional de Educación Básica de Telesecundaria, Las Lisas, Guatemala

PfR educational module, April 2018: Ashley, Cindy and Irma make souvenirs out of discarded bottles, Instituto Nacional de Educación Básica de Telesecundaria, Las Lisas, Guatemala

It was another successful year for Partners for Resilience (PfR annual report), with climate-related dialogues taking place on all levels and leverage from our approaches reflected in policies and outcome documents.

The high-level Global Commission on Adaptation was launched in October with Elhadj As Sy among nearly 30 commissioners. The Climate Centre supported the IFRC in this process, and initiated dialogue on a GCA action track toward greater political commitment to prevent extreme events from becoming disasters.

PfR supported the organization of a series of road shows, sharing lessons from programming and emphasizing the scale of the challenges faced, and took similar messages to the major international climate events of the year: the first Adaptation Futures conference in Africa in Cape Town, the NAP Expo in Sharm El-Sheikh, Understanding Risk in Mexico City, and COP24 in Katowice, where links were consistently made with on-the-ground realities.

At UR, for example, we joined forces with representatives of PfR Haiti and the Haitian and Dominican Republic Red Cross, as well as Haitian environmental officials and staff from the Péligre dam on the River Artibonite to discuss an early-warning system for the basin.

At COP24, a special meeting was organized with civil society groups and Sigrid Kaag, Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, where we argued for a shift to large-scale initiatives to transform whole landscapes.

In South Sudan, PfR supported development of the government’s strategic plan 2018–20 that emphasizes the “integration of community resilience into humanitarian assistance and disaster risk reduction.”

In India, the PfR team contributed to the revision of the National Disaster Management Plan, and new guidance on heatwaves that includes adaptation and reduction of the urban heat-island effect through public parks and ponds.

In Indonesia the PfR team engaged in high-level policy dialogues on climate, disaster management, adaptation, spatial planning and development, while Cordaid and the Climate Centre discussed tools for local authorities in the Philippines to use with their plans for action on climate change (provincial authorities later allocated nearly US$ 300,000 for this).

These are only a few of our 2018 highlights, which also included inter-country learning exchanges and youth empowerment (Y-Adapt) initiatives.

At right: PfR beneficiaries Ms Kamann and Ms Boiday, fishing and cycle transportation, August 2018

PfR beneficiaries Ms Kamann and Ms Boiday, fishing and cycle transportation, August 2o18

Forecast-based financing

‘We think this [new forecast-based action fund] is a game-changer, not only for the Red Cross and Red Crescent, but for humanitarian action as a whole’

– Pascale Meige, IFRC Director of Disaster and Crisis Prevention, Response and Recovery

FbF flood preparedness assessment, Peruvian Amazon, February 2018

FbF flood preparedness assessment, Peruvian Amazon, February 2018

FbF flood preparedness assessment, Peruvian Amazon, February 2018

Closely interlinked with our humanitarian dialogues, we continue to push for funds to be made available before a disaster strikes and we have seen major advances in this area of work, especially with our concept of forecast-based financing. Many donor initiatives and institutional changes within and outside the Movement are turning this concept into reality.

The IFRC launched the new FbF action fund in May 2018, again supported by Germany, and is now seen as a ground-breaking  humanitarian fund designed to mitigate and even prevent the damage and trauma caused by natural disasters.

National Societies are agreeing protocols on what early action they plan to take using which forecasts, and at least 20 countries were working on FbF by the end of the year.

Red Cross Red Crescent teams are now planning to use forecasts of the movement of volcanic ashfall (in Ecuador), and cyclones, floods, droughts, cold snaps and heatwaves to reduce the risks of associated disasters and prepare for effective response.

In January the Netherlands-based IKEA Foundation announced it was donating 10 million euros to assist the National Societies of Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to develop early-action protocols for droughts and floods, focused on the large refugee populations in the three nations.

With parts of Peru suffering extreme cold and heavy snow in June, the authorities declared a state of emergency in an area that included two districts where the Red Cross had already carried out an FbF distribution.

Earlier FbF operations in Mongolia and Bangladesh were detailed at the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in July.

Actual implementation of FbF was also accompanied in 2018 by research initiatives, including the SHEAR programme that’s working with more than 30 research institutions and humanitarian organizations.

Three regional dialogue platforms and one global platform were convened in 2018; ten African national meteorological services were represented at the first African dialogue platform in Nairobi.

At the Berlin platform, Germany pledged to intensify strategic cooperation on FbF in the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Attribution of extreme events

‘The current heatwave is just extraordinary – unprecedented in the historical record’

– Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, Senior Researcher, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (on summer heat in northern Europe) 

The Climate Centre has continued to advance its work on attribution of extreme events, work that greatly supports our advocacy and informs practice on the ground.

One highlight from work on climate attribution last year was a study of the drought in the Western Cape which found that climate change increased its likelihood by a factor of three. The findings were shared at the Adaptation Futures conference in Cape Town, resulting in discussions on how best to manage water resources in a changing climate.

Climate change made drought in South Africa’s Western Cape about three times more likely, according to a study released in July 2018

Climate change made drought in South Africa’s Western Cape about three times more likely, according to a study released in July 2018

Climate change made drought in South Africa’s Western Cape about three times more likely, according to a study released in July 2018

Other studies focused on storms and heatwaves in Europe in January and cold waves in North America. World Weather Attribution scientists said man-made climate change had made heatwaves in most of northern Europe “more than twice as likely”.

NLRC and Ready2Help personnel lay down sandbags on the Dutch island of Kampereiland after a warning for Storm Eleanor, January 2018

NLRC and Ready2Help personnel lay down sandbags on the Dutch island of Kampereiland after a warning for Storm Eleanor, January 2018

NLRC and Ready2Help personnel lay down sandbags on the Dutch island of Kampereiland after a warning for Storm Eleanor, January 2018

Learning was another focus, with the WWA team documenting lessons from many studies that included input from the Climate Centre on human vulnerability and exposure.

At right: Italian Red Cross volunteers help elderly people cope with summer heat in 2018

Italian Red Cross volunteers help elderly people through the intense summer 2018 heatwave

Building Resilience Against Climate Extremes and Disasters

‘[F]indings suggest that enhancing resilience requires a more targeted approach to disseminating climate information and early warning of extreme events’

– Juliette Perche, Linking climate and early warning information with resilience: insights from Myanmar, BRACED Knowledge Manager, 2018

Myanmar rice farmers, BRACED Rapid Response Research study, November 2018

Myanmar rice farmers, BRACED Rapid Response Research study, November 2018

Myanmar rice farmers, BRACED Rapid Response Research study, November 2018

At the BRACED annual learning event in Kathmandu, Nepal we heard a multitude of inspiring stories of building resilience on the ground in Africa and Asia. Partners from 13 programme countries shared their successes and challenges through a learning marketplace, a film festival, a photo exhibition, interactive sessions, and a range of field trips that linked grass-roots activities to discussions in the conference.

In April, BRACED entered an 18-month extension phase with the Climate Centre leading on the use of information on climate risk and adaptation.

The Climate Centre plays a key role in a working group on learning and communications which supported the development of strategic plans for engagement with target audiences in science, practice and policy.

In addition, drawing on BRACED experience, the Climate Centre continued to advise the UK Department for International Development (DfID) on preparations for the UN climate summit this September.

In 2018, BRACED hosted 11 discussion forums and webinars, reaching over 300 practitioners and decision-makers. Highlights include Can we scale up early action through social protection?Key findings from IPCCs special report on 1.5 degrees, and a High-level panel discussion reflecting on COP24

Climate risk management in The Pacific

‘Now I understand when a drought is likely and I can explain that information to communities in terms they understand’

– Fiji Red Cross disaster manager, Maciu Nokelevu (at Pacific National Societies annual forum in Fiji)

The year saw the early warning early action agenda in the Pacific gain significant momentum, with the IFRC and Climate Centre engaged in relevant dialogues with National Societies, as well as raising the profile of the key concept of reaching the last mile to communities.

In Kiribati, for example, low-cost and low-tech awareness kits were developed to help Red Cross volunteers prepare communities for drought, while a joint IFRC-Climate Centre brief defined priorities for early warning early action at regional level. The Climate Centre forged inter-agency partnerships to help Pacific national met services to provide products for the sector.

With the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, for example, the centre undertook training on drought with the met departments of (alphabetically) Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

As part of the Pacific Islands Climate Services Panel, we jointly facilitated the annual Pacific Islands Climate Outlook Forum, with training on climate games for met staff.

At left: Inter-agency workshop on drought monitoring, Solomon Islands, May 2018

Inter-agency training in Solomon Islands on monitoring for drought, May 2018

Special attention to the cityscape

‘We’ve invited people into science and we’ve also invited science to engage with people’  

– Dr Debra Roberts, Sustainable and Resilient City Initiatives Unit head, Ethekwini, Durban (at the CitiesIPCC conference, March 2018) 

For several years now the Climate Centre has maintained a special focus on cities, which by 2030, and without significant investment in resilience, studies show may face costs from disasters of more than US$ 300 billion a year, up from around US$ 250 billion today; climate impacts may push nearly 80 million more people in cities into poverty.

In 2018, we helped organize the IFRC’s annual Urban Collaboration Platform meeting in Nairobi and promoted urban resilience through sessions at D&C Days and with other partners at the IPCC Cities Conference in Edmonton, Canada.

We collaborated on two research projects in Kampala, Uganda, on flood resilience and, with local government, on improving understanding of heat risks in the city.

We conducted a study on the need for better information on adaptation by small and medium enterprises in seven urban areas in Kenya and Uganda and one refugee settlement.

We continued to engage in learning labs as part of the consortium behind the Future Resilience for African Cities and Lands programme, and our input has now contributed to the development of a new climate strategy for Windhoek and policy discussions in Lusaka.

As a contribution to the IFRC’s Strategy 2030 process we drafted a paper focused on “the future of urban” with the American Red Cross and Institute for Social and Environmental Transition–International.

At right: PfR-supported urban kitchen-garden, Jakarta, August 2018

Social protection

‘Despite coverage challenges social protection interventions have grown substantially over the last two decades, especially in developing countries, benefiting 1.9 billion people worldwide’ 

– World Bank, 2015 (quoted in 2018 Climate Centre brief, Resilience, Social Protection and Integrated Risk Management)

Bangladesh Red Crescent briefing for cash support, people from Rakhine, October 2018

Bangladesh Red Crescent briefing for cash support, people from Rakhine, October 2018

Bangladesh Red Crescent briefing for cash support, people from Rakhine, October 2018

The Climate Centre continued to support policy and advocacy on making social protection sensitive to climate. In collaboration with the World Bank, we supported some Sahelian countries in implementing a programme focused on forecast-based action and financing.

In Niger, an analysis of the landscape around early warning early action highlighted the continued need for predictive models for food security and other hazards, and we helped examine the potential for cash-centred forecast-based action to reduce the impacts of floods in Kenya.

We renewed a partnership with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and this generated a paper on the contribution of social protection to the management of climate risk that will contribute to FAO’s overall strategic thinking.

We also supported the development of interactive learning tools and a training course on social protection’s role in climate risk and disaster management.

Chikwawa district, Malawi, January 2018, cash relief for people affected by El Niño-related-drought 

Chikwawa district, Malawi, January 2018, cash relief for people affected by El Niño-related-drought

Chikwawa district, Malawi, January 2018, cash relief for people affected by El Niño-related-drought

In June a new brief – Resilience, Social Protection and Integrated Risk Management – concluded that “resilience policy frameworks can be created in tandem with national social protection programmes”.

As the proportion of people worldwide who live in cities increases, so it’s increasingly important to understand how to make social protection work in urban settings. In 2018 we started a review of how social protection can address climate risks.

At the Adaptation Futures conference in Cape Town, we led sessions centred on IRM and a well-attended session on social protection, where Maurine Ambani, Climate Science Research Project Manager with the Kenya Red Cross, said her country had “activated its national social-protection system in response to weather forecasts, but there’s still work to be done on impact-based forecasts and what actions to include”.

Exploration through innovation

‘Science and technology are powering the design of innovative financial products…helping developing countries recover more quickly after...disasters’ 

– UK Department for International Development press release,
16 April 2018, Lloyd’s of London,
innovation and finance event

NASA hyperwall, Understanding Risk Forum, May 2018

NASA hyperwall, Understanding Risk Forum, May 2018

NASA hyperwall, Understanding Risk Forum, May 2018

Work during 2018 further consolidated the Climate Centre’s reputation as the go-to partner for innovations in the management of climate risk.

We partnered with NASA on their programme on disasters in a workshop that improved their scientists’ ability to address the needs of local stakeholders, linking remote sensing with disaster management.

In support of IFRC specialists working on global financial innovation, we contributed technical know-how to an exploration of volcano catastrophe bonds.

We continue to engage in the growing field of geoengineering, and a journal article explored links with human rights.

At the Understanding Risk Forum in Mexico we jointly facilitated a session with the Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative, and NASA’s hyperwall projected our new geoengineering works, an animation featured art and culture from Easter Island Moai to Monet and Lord of the Rings, and there was a poetic response to Hamlet’s existential question and the first-ever geoengineering crossword puzzle.

A workshop in Paris showcased our collaboration with artist Tomas Saraceno, while an interactive video experience shared the stories of eleven Haitians during D&C Days and at the Geneva Climate Science and Humanitarian Dialogue.

Session on humor at D&C Days, December 2018

Session on humor at D&C Days, December 2018

Session on humor at D&C Days, December 2018

An exciting new area of work is harnessing humour for humanitarian work, which can address the gap between what is and what could be. Successful humour-infused events included a session at D&C Days and a youth training in Solferino, which included use of machine learning developed by the MIT Media Lab to read facial expressions.

There is now growing demand for this approach from the ICRC, the World Bank and other partners and in a testament to our growth in this space, the Climate Centre’s new business cards carry the statement, Science Policy Practice Innovation.

Games and interaction for understanding climate

‘The games were extremely valuable in drawing the group together and ensured a relaxed atmosphere while illustrating key ideas’ 

– Donald Lemmen, Co-Chair of the UNFCCC Adaptation Committee

A Buzz about Dengue game, Reunion (prefecture chief Marie Amélie Vauthier-Bardinet pointing), September 2018

A Buzz about Dengue game, Reunion (prefecture chief Marie Amélie Vauthier-Bardinet pointing), September 2018

A Buzz about Dengue game, Reunion (prefecture chief Marie Amélie Vauthier-Bardinet pointing), September 2018

The Climate Centre’s programming for young people has grown consistently in recent years, and we have created a suite of new tools, infused learning and dialogue with existing tools, and reviewed their effectiveness.

New games include The Island and Decisions for the Season, developed for the EIT Climate-KIC agency to engage the private sector in climate-smart decision-making.

The Social Protection Shuffle game, developed for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, lets players experience climate-sensitive social protection. The Climate Centre’s collaboration with NASA’s programme on disasters (see above) also led to the game Piloting the Perils, linking satellite information with early action.

Within the EU’s PLACARD project we have led the creation of Participate – an online training module supporting events centred on science, policy and practice.

Games were also integrated into technical training at 4th Pacific Islands Climate Outlook Forum, and together with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) we trained trainers in Kenya who went on to engage with farmers. 

First Adaptation Futures in Africa, the community kraal, June 2018  

First Adaptation Futures in Africa, the community kraal, June 2018  

First Adaptation Futures in Africa, the community kraal, June 2018

Our partners at the Engagement Lab received the award for games at the 2018 International Society for Neglected Tropical Diseases Festival, which recognized the Handwashing with Ananse game for outstanding impact on reducing the spread of diseases associated with poverty, while in Reunion A Buzz About Dengue was used in a campaign against the disease there. 

Y-Adapt was piloted in Haiti, Guatemala and the Philippines and with partners we created a session on environmental awareness in the context of climate change.

Many international conferences were enhanced with our interactive approaches: Adaptation Futures included a community kraal, while the role of cooks in eradicating world hunger was highlighted at D&C Days in collaboration with IFAD.  

Communications

‘This [drone technology] is something new we are trying in the face of these intense disasters that gain strength each year. We cannot be looking at these future disasters from the same angle we used to. The dynamics are changing and the response should too’  

– Sri Lanka Red Cross Society Colombo branch chairman,
Dr Amila Kankanamge 

Audience reach continued to expand in 2018, quite dramatically in the case of social media, and at the time of writing our Twitter audience is rapidly approaching 5,000.

Nearly 150 web stories detailed almost every aspect of Climate Centre work in 2018, including a mix of original content, cross-promoted material generated by the IFRC, and write-ups of external partners’ work.

Director Maarten van Aalst continued to be an extremely effective, and increasingly sought-after, spokesperson on the humanitarian aspects of climate change for the entire Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, deputizing for Elhadj As Sy when required.

Message in a bottle: PfR youth enagagement in Haiti included this winning design for a public litter bin, making the point that not all trash is waste.

Message in a bottle: PfR youth enagagement in Haiti included this winning design for a public litter bin that says not all trash is waste.

Message in a bottle: PfR youth enagagement in Haiti included this winning design for a public litter bin that says not all trash is waste.

Over the course of the year he engaged directly with Dutch media outlet such as NOS, RTLNews, Nu.nl, BNR, and internationally with the Thomson Reuters Foundation and The Economist.

The potential of drone filming, which the centre has helped pioneer in the Movement, to simultaneously meet both operational assessment and communications needs was further developed by the Sri Lankan Red Cross in May when the National Society used an amphibious drone to help volunteers gauge the full extent of a monsoon flood disaster believed to be the first in the world to do this (video).

Developing areas

Working with the ICRC

‘Short-term humanitarian problems caused by conflict and violence are made worse by longer-term trends like climate change, population growth, urbanization and uneven economic development’

– ICRC Strategy 2019–2022

In June the ICRC made a new strategic commitment to “reinforce conflict-affected communities’ ability to absorb the combined consequences of conflict and climate shocks.”

The Climate Centre increased its collaboration with International Committee operational teams through its briefing of the annual meeting of economic security coordinators in March, and contributing to their thinking on the intersection of climate, conflict and resilience in the Sahel.

We moderated a session on resilience in fragile and conflict-affected states at the Africa-Arab DRR Platform in Tunis that included Red Crescent speakers, and we helped organized an event at D&C Days on climate and conflict that included the ICRC’s Alima Arbodou, a specialist in its Policy and Humanitarian Diplomacy Division.

At left: ICRC President Peter Maurer visits Chakmarkul camp, Cox’s Bazar, July 2018

Heatwaves

‘Urbanization is exacerbating global warming and cities like Hong Kong are heating up fast. And the most vulnerable, such as elderly people, are paying the higher price of hotter weather’

– Elena Pedrazzani, IFRC, in ‘Hong Kong: mega cities, mega heat’

In 2018 the Climate Centre increased its focus on extreme heat, as heatwaves gripped many countries during the northern summer; working with the WWA team we found the risk of deadly heatwaves is increasing in Europe with climate change.

North Korea heatwave, August 2018

North Korea heatwave, August 2018

North Korea heatwave, August 2018

At the Adaptation Futures conference, for example, the Climate Centre facilitated a ground-breaking session highlighting extreme heat as a growing risk, as well as another at ICLEI’s Resilient Cities conference in Bonn.

Hong Kong Red Cross beneficiary Lee Kit-wan, IFRC case study, 2018

Hong Kong Red Cross beneficiary Lee Kit-wan, IFRC case study, 2018

Hong Kong Red Cross beneficiary Lee Kit-wan, IFRC case study, 2018

The Climate Centre has been helping to develop a guide for municipal authorities to reduce the risks to human health associated with extreme heat, and in Hong Kong we helped organize the first-ever global expert forum on heatwaves in December.

ICRC President Peter Maurer in Australia on “perfect storm” of violence, terrorism, underdevelopment, injustice, exclusion and climate change, October 2018

FINANCE

The Climate Centre – an independent foundation under Dutch law – remains grateful to its hosts, the Netherlands Red Cross in The Hague, who continue to provide support with human resources and legal affairs.

In 2018, most of the Climate Centre’s income came from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UK Department for International Development, the German Federal Foreign Office and Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the IKEA Foundation. We were also supported by:

Australian Red Cross
Belgian Red Cross
British Red Cross
Danish Red Cross 
German Red Cross 
Iranian Red Crescent 
Netherlands Red Cross 
Swiss Red Cross.

We are grateful to the New Zealand Red Cross which funds two Climate Centre staff in the Pacific, and to the American Red Cross with which we also share staff.

Other contributors were the WMO, FAO, Climate-KIC, University of Cape Town, ODI, the UK Natural Environment Research Council, the World Bank, NASA, Deltares, IFAD, the Zurich Flood Risk Alliance, the European Commission, the Carnegie Climate and Geoengineering Governance Initiative, and GFDRR.

Below is an overview of our income and expenditure for 2018 with 2017 data added for reference:

More detailed information can be found in our full Annual Report 2018.

As always, we thank all our supporters for their generosity and collaboration.