Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

5 Ways to Be a Better Humanitarian

Popular
An internally displaced woman flees from drought in Dollow, Somalia. Zohra Bensemra / Reuters

By Annemieke Tsike-Sossah

World Humanitarian Day offers an opportunity to take stock of where the world stands on addressing humanitarian issues and highlight lessons for how to improve in the future. Here are five ways we all can commit to driving positive change for the world.


1. Commit to Maintaining a Livable Planet

Rapid environmental changes are threatening people's food sources, water and livelihoods. Climate change is at a crisis level, and we must commit to responding swiftly and effectively.

It is important to stay close to people's pressing, on-the-ground needs. But to maintain a liveble planet, we must also change how our global economy operates.

For example, We Mean Business, a coalition working with the world's most influential companies to take action on climate change, is spearheading a business case for decarbonization and helping the business sector to exemplify leadership. In addition, the European Climate Foundation strives to ensure that we fulfill Paris climate agreement targets and maintain the global temperature below 2°C of pre-industrial levels.

To enact meaningful change to combat the climate crisis, it's important that everyone acts as a climate advocate in their own organization, pushes for change and expresses solidarity with current and future generations who will share the planet.

2. Help the Most Vulnerable

To remove the threats to people's livelihoods and lives, the development sector should invest in long-term, durable solutions. Yet we must remain ready to fund short-term needs — disasters will always strike, and the most vulnerable communities will be worst affected.

For example, organizations such as the Start Fund and Médecins Sans Frontières are diminishing human suffering by responding to crises that could go unnoticed or be overshadowed by other events. But sometimes more support is needed to respond adequately to a humanitarian crisis.

The development sector must rely on a decision-making vehicle that allows humanitarian experts to allocate funding where they see the greatest need and provide core support to emergency organizations directly or through pooled funding mechanisms.

3. Invest in Refugee Livelihoods

Displacement has never before affected so many. Too many people are currently forced to keep moving until they find a safe place to call home.

We can support both refugee and host communities by working to dismantle barriers to job opportunities and invest in new ones, while abiding by the UN's Global Compact for Refugees.

For example, the Tent Alliance and the Business Refugee Action Network, two partnerships for mobilizing the private sector to support the livelihoods of refugees, show how the business sector is engaged and ready to be part of the solution.

Investing in refugee livelihoods boosts local markets and the economy. At the same time, investing in host community livelihoods helps them meet Sustainable Development Goals and hone skills for future generations to nurture peaceful communities.

4. Build Unprecedented Collaborations

One of the biggest opportunities in the humanitarian sector is mobilizing collective action. In bringing together well-positioned actors and thought leaders through efficient funding mechanisms, we can create unlikely alliances and partnerships.

Many organizations are effectively working to tackle climate change or support displaced people, and their best practices should be shared more. For example, the platform What Design Can Do exemplifies how to engage professional communities, such as designers, to apply their professional skills and creative thinking to complex issues, such as climate change.

Moving forward, organizations must embrace the natural inclination to evolve, constantly examine what they can do better, and encourage new collaborations with partners.

5. Develop a Sense of Urgency

We can all develop a sense of urgency by understanding the issues and learning how to engage.

At our foundation's 10-year anniversary conference held in June, the young Amsterdam artist Benjamin Fro gave a spoken word performance, capturing what was on many of our minds. "It might be hard, we might not always know how. But the right time to do right is always right now," he said.

Annemieke Tsike-Sossah is head of the special initiatives portfolio at the IKEA Foundation.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The sun shines over the Southern Ocean in Antarctica. Rebecca Yale / Moment / Getty Images Plus

Atmospheric researchers have pinpointed the spot on Earth with the cleanest air. It's not in the midst of a remote jungle, nor on a deserted tropical island. Instead, the cleanest air in the world is in the air above the frigid Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Brazil burnt, logged and bulldozed a third of the area lost, with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia placing second and third. Brasil2 / Getty Images

Satellite data collated for the World Resources Institute (WRI) showed primal rainforest was lost across 38,000 square kilometers (14,500 square miles) globally — ruining habitats and releasing carbon once locked in wood into the atmosphere.

Read More Show Less
People sit in circles to observe social distance in Domino Park amid the coronavirus pandemic on May 21, 2020 in New York City. New research says preventative measures such as social distancing and wearing face masks should not be relaxed as temperatures warm up. Alexi Rosenfeld / Getty Images

Researchers have found that warm temperatures in the U.S. this summer are unlikely to stop the coronavirus that causes the infectious disease COVID-19, according to a new study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease.

Read More Show Less
Protesters gather to protest the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota by police, on May 27, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The glaring numbers that show how disproportionately racial minorities have been affected by the coronavirus and by police brutality go hand-in-hand. The two are byproducts of systemic racism that has kept people of color marginalized and contributed to a public health crisis, according to three prominent medical organizations — the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and American College of Physicians, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
In a series of major wins for climate campaigners, New York regulators and Cuomo have repeatedly blocked construction of the $1 billion Williams Pipeline. Michael Brochstein / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

With the nation focused on the coronavirus pandemic and protests against U.S. police brutality that have sprung up across the globe, the Trump administration continues to quietly attack federal policies that protect public health and the environment to limit the legal burdens faced by planet-wrecking fossil fuel companies.

Read More Show Less
Photo credit: Black Birders Week seeks to highlight the experiences of Black scientists and nature lovers. Chad Springer / Image Source / Getty Images

A video of an incident in Central Park last Monday, in which a white woman named Amy Cooper called the cops on African American birder Christian Cooper after he asked her to put her dog on a leash, went viral last week, raising awareness of the racism Black people face for simply trying to enjoy nature.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Nationwide states struggle to recruit, hire and train game wardens. Jason Erickson / Getty Images

By Jodi Helmer

In Georgia there are just 213 game wardens to enforce state fish and wildlife laws, investigate violations, assist with conservation efforts and collect data on wildlife and ecological changes across 16,000 miles of rivers and 37 million acres of public and private lands. Statewide 46 counties have no designated game warden at all. The shortage could lead to wildlife crimes going undetected.

Read More Show Less