Humanitarian action in the era of climate change: VOICE President editorial in the new VOICE out loud

We started preparing this edition of the VOICE out loud with the aim of hearing from our members about the effects of the climate crisis on humanitarian needs and about how humanitarian NGOs are dealing with this. The Green Deal was the flagship policy of the new European Commission, and climate change had been a theme that humanitarian NGOs had increasingly sought to address. Agencies were seeking to ‘go green’ by ensuring their operations and policies supported a sustainable response and a responsible relationship with the environment. Climate change was also driving a growth in humanitarian needs and transforming the responses required. And then came COVID-19.

We still do not have a full picture of the impact COVID-19 will have on the many vulnerable populations that we serve. However, coming on top of a record level of humanitarian need, it will compound the challenges faced by vulnerable people and communities – and for those trying to address those needs. Finding the funding to meet these needs will be challenging, but it is essential that it happens as this crisis will drive many more people into poverty and vulnerability. Encouragingly, what we have seen in the COVID-19 crisis is that our members and other humanitarian organisations are helping to address the impacts on the most vulnerable people, both in Europe and around the world. However, the virus has shown that it can spread far and fast if we do not mitigate it amongst those most vulnerable and most likely to be left behind – including the displaced, people living in slums, hard-to-reach communities, and less visible sections of the population…

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