Press Release by H.E Mousa Faki, Chairperson of the African Union Commission for World Humanitarian Day – 19 August 2021
Theme – ‘’ In the race against the climate crisis, we can’t leave anyone behind. A global challenge for climate action in solidarity with people who need it the most
World Humanitarian day is upon us once again and it is a time to reflect on the humanitarian challenges faced by nations globally and especially in Africa. The 2021 theme depicts the challenges of climate change amid a global pandemic which has impacted on the humanitarian landscape and grossly affected the 27.5 million refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons in Africa, most of whom are in protracted situations. The interventions measures put in place have become a challenge to displaced persons who are incapacitated and too vulnerable to meet their health safety and livelihood needs. Humanitarian financing has also reduced as resources are diverted towards COVID-19 interventions. Therefore, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate Change has become an exacerbating challenge on the African Continent. I call on African leaders to address the consequences of COVID-19 and climate induced emergencies of the most vulnerable people in a wholistic and integrated manner and ensure that their needs top our development agenda. I also call on the International Community to support with distribution of the much needed COVID-19 vaccines especially to Africa.
Centering on climate change, Africa has been affected greatly in recent time by El Nino-related droughts, floods, erratic rainfalls, desertification, and the attendant humanitarian disasters, including food insecurity, internal displacement of populations, and loss of livelihoods of farming communities. I therefore call on Member States to build their national resilience capacity and to mainstream climate change in their national development agendas.
Leaders must all take responsibility to eliminate the causes of climate change if we are to have any chance of meeting current and future humanitarian needs. If we fail, the consequences will be greater human suffering and larger humanitarian needs than we can ever hope to meet, no matter the responses.
It is important to note that no country or region is immune to climate change and that no country or region can solve climate change challenges individually. Joint and coordinated efforts in mitigating the adverse effects of climate change becomes a must. To this end, I call on the international community to provide support to local, national, and regional efforts to build resilience while providing humanitarian assistance to the populations in countries affected by climate change-related emergencies. I also call on Member States, RECs/RMs and AU partners to actively pursue integrated approaches to boost climate change resilience and to pay particular attention to prevention and further improve communication on climate change phenomena so as to effectively enhance disaster preparedness and risk reduction.
I commend AU Member States for their continued efforts in handling humanitarian induced displacements, while calling on development partners, and Member States, which are in a position to do so, to continue providing humanitarian assistance to the countries most affected by climate-change related humanitarian crises in Africa.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union (AU).
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