Humanitarian arm of the Adventist Church will coordinate sessions and panels.
Published on: 12-05-2023
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is present at COP28 to highlight its experience in building resilience and sustainable development that helps vulnerable worldwide communities to anticipate, adapt, and mitigate the effects of climate change.
COP28, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, is taking place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from November 30 to December 12. ADRA will be officially recognized as a collaborating humanitarian agency at the annual event. COP28 serves as a platform for world leaders, scientists, and environmental experts to exchange ideas and solutions for tackling the impact of climate change.
“The consequences are far more widespread than many of us realize,” Imad Madanat, ADRA’s vice president for humanitarian affairs and network standards, said. “ADRA is at the forefront of battling the consequence of climate-related disasters that impact livelihoods and health in communities we work with, as well as prolong injustice and poverty.
“As the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, ADRA is dedicated to supporting communities from all walks of life by implementing sustainable development initiatives that increase socioeconomic resilience and enable people to anticipate, mitigate, and adapt to climate-related hazards to save lives and have hope for dignified, fulfilling lives,” Madanat said.
ADRA’s field teams have gained invaluable expertise over the years to support climate change mitigation and adaptation, Madanat explained. In that regard, he said, “COP28 will present another opportunity for us to share this knowledge as we have done in the past, to make sure the interests and needs of those vulnerable communities are taken into account when decisions are made.”
ADRA’s Climate-Smart Strategies
For more than 20 years, the humanitarian organization has developed and implemented nature-based initiatives in tandem with engineered climate-resilient solutions, as well as provided resource management capacity-building to assist communities in absorbing, adapting, and transforming in the face of climate change. It has launched dozens of initiatives to encourage climate-smart practices in underserved communities around the world, including climate-resilient warm and healthy houses to prevent disease in indigenous communities; drip irrigation systems in agricultural parcels to conserve water and fertilizer during dry cycles; and drought-resistant seeds to grow sustainable crops.
ADRA has also implemented farming techniques for replacing chemical weed killers and pesticides with safer and more economical organic environmentally friendly alternatives; greenhouses to increase income and improve the nutrition of children in rural areas; and hands-on-training for marginalized groups and women, to access better livelihood opportunities through resilient farming techniques. Moreover, it has built houses from recyclable plastic bottles for displaced and disabled people affected by leprosy.
ADRA Moves to Net Zero
ADRA is implementing environmental initiatives to achieve Net Zero, or almost zero greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. According to NASA’s climate research, greenhouse gases raise sea levels, elevate the earth’s surface temperature, reduce snow accumulation, and increase the likelihood of droughts and forest fires. The global agency published a Carbon Reduction Guide in 2021 and shared lessons learned at the previous COP26 and COP27 conferences. Many country offices within the ADRA network have already signed the Climate Environmental Charter, which provides a set of guidelines to direct humanitarian action in response to climate change. In 2022, ADRA offices in Germany and Canada were also part of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and EcoAct pilot project to establish the Humanitarian Carbon Calculator. The effort has helped ADRA calculate the gas emissions from projects in different parts of the world.
“ADRA can create a better roadmap for reducing the carbon footprint in our operations by sharing our knowledge with COP28 leaders and working with governments, reliable partners, faith-based groups, communities, and other climate-focused organizations,” said Carina Rolly, advocacy and policy advisor for ADRA Germany.
ADRA’s Role at COP28
December 5: Carbon Accounting for Humanitarian Actors. ADRA hosts the “Carbon Accounting for Humanitarian Actors” thematic session at COP28 to address the humanitarian responsibility toward environmentally conscious operations, and how offices and programs employ carbon reduction methods. The session is moderated by Rolly and includes panelists Anne Bergh, secretary general of the Norwegian Red Cross; Stephen Cornish, general director of MSF-Switzerland; and Avish Raj, associate director for programs of ADRA Canada.
December 10: Resilient and Inclusive Food Systems: Strengthening Climate Adaptations for Global Food and Nutrition Security. ADRA Joins World Vision and Welthungerhilfe to host the “Resilient and Inclusive Food Systems: Strengthening Climate Adaptations for Global Food and Nutrition Security”session. The panel discussion will explore how the effects of climate change on food security and nutrition produce a higher risk of malnutrition among vulnerable groups and populations. The session moderator will be Rupa Mukerji, senior advisor on climate change adaptation of Helvetas. Panelists will include, among others, Cem Özdemir, federal minister for Food and Agriculture of the German government; Elizabeth Gulugulu, African Youth Initiative on Climate Change; and McLarence Mandaza, Climate Action Technical Lead, World Vision.
December 10: Food Insecurity: Climate-induced Shocks and Humanitarian Response. ADRA climate advisors are taking part in the“Food Insecurity: Climate-induced Shocks and Humanitarian Response” panel discussion to underscore the intricate relationship between food security, climate change, and humanitarian efforts. The discussion will highlight the significance of creative solutions and collaborative strategies to navigate these complex challenges.
“By implementing culturally relevant and climate-sensitive programs that uplift women, girls, and families, we can achieve our goal of building safe, equitable, and resilient communities,” said Rachel Beagles, business development and climate advisor for ADRA International.