Climate adaptation—a new global imperative
Storms, drought, rising temperatures, season creep—the impact of global warming can be felt in every corner of the planet. But the intensity of these crises varies enormously from one country to the next. In fact, the world’s most vulnerable populations also face the largest exposure to climate risks—those in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, etc. “Climate change has already transformed living conditions in several regions of the planet,” says Sébastien Baijard, Head of the Rescue & Recovery Fund at BNP Paribas. “In these areas, the main challenge is less about fighting climate change and more about finding ways to adapt to these new conditions.”
Increasing awareness of this climate emergency by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has led to the creation of think tanks to determine needs, identify responses, build teams and lead missions. The goal is to prepare and support populations before, during and after natural disasters.
Prevention before action
BNP Paribas is fully committed to this movement through a partnership policy that supports the initiatives of three NGOs: CARE, Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross. For Sébastien Baijard, “Climate change is a crucial issue at BNP Paribas, which set up several initiatives in 2010, while the BNP Paribas Foundation also supports climate change research through its Climate Initiative program. Our NGO partners informed us about their climate adaptation programs and invited us to sponsor various initiatives.”
Through the Rescue & Recover Fund and in conjunction with the three NGOs, three projects were selected for co-financing:
In Madagascar with the NGO CARE—preparing populations for the threat of cyclones
Climate change has transformed northern Madagascar into an area of high cyclone risk (two cyclones hit the area in 2018, Ava and Eliakim). Largely rural and agricultural, the island’s population is ill-prepared for this new phenomenon.
The aid program put in place by CARE focuses on two priorities: training residents in risk prevention and providing the resources needed to bounce back after a cyclone strikes. “CARE is working to improve the resilience of these populations, that need to know how to react after a cyclone hits.” This includes building shelters and stockpiling resources and emergency medical supplies, as well as maintaining reserves of basic needs, especially for schools. “The goal is to enable populations to get back on their feet as fast as possible after a disaster,” says Baijard. The program begins this month.
CARE is working to improve the resilience of these populations, that need to know how to react after a cyclone hits.
“Climate change is a crucial issue at BNP Paribas, which set up several initiatives in 2010, while the BNP Paribas Foundation also supports climate change research through its Climate Initiative program.”
Head of the Rescue & Recovery Fund at BNP Paribas.
In Niger with Doctors Without Borders—preventing and treating child malnutrition
Niger is facing recurring natural disasters (drought and flood) and chronic food insecurity. The months of the “hungry gap” (corresponding to the gap between the exhaustion of food reserves and the start of the new harvest) have long proved extremely difficult for the region’s inhabitants. Every year, the shifting wet season has extended this period, which has dramatic consequences for many children suffering from acute malnutrition, notably by making them more vulnerable to other diseases, such as malaria.
The project we are currently sponsoring plans to treat more children than last year, which was already a record year, with more than 110,000 children receiving care
In Madarounfa, the teams from Doctors Without Borders are leading a pediatrics program focused on managing the primary causes of infant mortality, especially malnutrition and malaria, by emphasizing the role of prevention, and treatment for the most severe cases.“The project we are currently sponsoring plans to treat more children than last year, which was already a record year, with more than 110,000 children receiving care,” says Baijard. “There is a massive need for medical care, but it can be met with a vast mobilization campaign. For example, a donation of €170 enables the NGO to cover the nutritional needs of five malnourished children for the duration of their treatment.”
In Haiti with the Red Cross: ensuring the continuity of education
In 2010, an earthquake demolished 80% of the country’s infrastructure. The following year, two hurricanes combined to flatten the rest of the country. Aside from the material and human damage, these disasters wrecked the entire administrative system, especially the educational system, in a country that remains one of the most vulnerable to climate risks. “It’s an enormous problem,” says Baijard. “How can we ensure the continuity of education and training in such a vulnerable country? Preventing these risks is imperative so that entire generations are not deprived of an education.” In response, the Red Cross has planned an awareness campaign in schools.
The project’s main goal is to reduce disaster risk and improve the ability to adapt to climate change at schools in the Artibonite department (West Haiti). It’s also a starting point to reach schoolchildren, teachers, families and, by extension, the entire community. Together with education authorities, the program carries out simulation exercises in schools. For children in target communities, the goal is to adopt best practices and follow rules within these establishments. On a broader level, it aims to empower children to become the key players in improving risk awareness within their families, thereby changing behaviors.
it aims to empower children to become the key players in improving risk awareness within their families, thereby changing behaviors.
BNP Paribas doubles your donation
For each individual donation (BNP Paribas employee, former employee or customer) made through the Rescue and Recover Fund, BNP Paribas will contribute a matching donation. That means a €50 donation becomes €100 donated entirely to the NGO. With the tax incentive, a €50 donation ultimately costs just €17. Since BNP Paribas covers the operating costs of the Rescue and Recover Fund, all donations go entirely to the NGOs.
Crédit photo header ©CARE // ©ozphotoguy