A fundamental change - climate change and humanitarian action #2

The new reality of climate change requires the humanitarian sector to fundamentally adapt. However, practice shows that it is extremely difficult to move towards a more sustainable mindset and humanitarian practice. So: what is holding us back? And how can we overcome these barriers?

Climate hazards – from extreme heat waves and wildfires, to floods, droughts, and storms – are happening everywhere with an increasing frequency and intensity. Moreover, climate change is a major driver for conflict and migration. Climate change thus affects the security and livelihoods of those in already fragile contexts in many ways. Humanitarian NGOs acknowledge that climate change has a huge impact on humanitarian action. However, for many NGOs, adapting their practices to this changing reality while at the same time diminishing their own ecological footprint is a challenge. Nevertheless, the urgent challenges climate change brings, will have consequences for humanitarian practice; consequences for what we do and how we organize our work.

Making sustainable practice natural and common

Although there is a general awareness in the humanitarian sector that climate change is important and also a willingness to do something about it, green and sustainable action is not yet standard practices. When setting up an emergency response it is, quite logically, not the first thing that comes to mind. However, as long as green humanitarian aid is not the standard, no big changes will be made.

The aim for this event is to engage all levels of the humanitarian sector in reflection and discussion on the need to innovate the humanitarian principles that our work is based on, and how we can change humanitarian practice so that sustainability becomes intrinsic to the work. We are looking for an answer to the question of how to make sustainable practice natural and common. Furthermore, we will present existing organisation-wide methods to green humanitarian aid.

About this event

This particular session was organized in cooperation with partners CHA Centre for Humanitarian Action, Groupe URD and IECAH Institute of Studies on Conflicts and Humanitarian Action.

The webinar was the second session in the series on climate change and humanitarian action. Click here for more information on the series and to find out more about the other sessions.

Event format
Humanitarian professionals leading in greening the humanitarian sector kicked-off sub-themes. The main part of the event, however, consisted of an open discussion on how green humanitarian practice could be supported by basic commitments, standards or rules (like the climate and environment charter etc.).


  • Karolina Kalinowska, Policy Officer at DG ECHO.  Ms Kalinowska is leading on DG ECHO’s approach to reducing the environmental impacts of humanitarian aid.
  • Aline Hubert, researcher and environment expert of URD Groupe (France). URD initiated in 2012 the Humanitarian Environment Network.
  • Bruno Jochum, director Climate Action Accelerator, that is providing concrete solutions for NGOs.
  • Kathrine Vad, Environment and Climate Change Adviser of the Executive Office of the Director-General, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • Roberta Borgognoni, Project Manager of the Environmental Impact Project of the Operational Centre Amsterdam, Artsen Zonder Grenzen – MSF the Netherlands
  • Narendra Singh Kachhotiya, Humanitarian Aid International (India).


Read the report of this event here.

Video of the event

More events