We believe that people have both the responsibility and the ability to create a sustainable society with respect for each other and our planet. The climate crisis reminds us of our task to steward creation for future generations.
The climate crisis highlights global injustice
Today, we know that environmental degradation and climate change affect people living in poverty and vulnerability most severely, even though these people contribute the least to the problems at the global level. The climate crisis is not only the most urgent of our sustainability issues – it is also one of the greatest injustices of our time.
Our responsibility for God’s creation
Healthy ecosystems and sustainable natural resource management are essential for the fundamental right to life. We believe that every individual is created in the image of God and we humans are tasked with caring for God’s creation by taking responsibility for each other and the world in which we live.
Local partnerships provide sustainable solutions
The international aid efforts we support must contribute to climate and environmental sustainability in accordance with our environment and climate policy. Most often, it is local people who are the most affected who can contribute with the best solutions. Through local and long-term partnerships, we believe it is possible to reverse the negative trend.
This is how we work on climate
This is how others work on climate
In vulnerable parts of the world, much of what is being built up through international development cooperation risks being destroyed by recurring natural disasters. These are caused or exacerbated by climate change and other human activities. To reduce the risk of disasters we need to work with prevention by, for example, strengthening resilience.
What is resilience?
Resilience means that an individual, a society or a country has the resilience and adaptability to deal with negative changes, shocks and uncertainties while at the same time continuing to develop.
- Climate change, soil degradation and chronic malnutrition are examples of negative changes.
- Shocks include natural disasters, armed conflicts that have flared up, and epidemics.
- Uncertainty is about unforeseen changes or consequences of climate change and environmental disasters.
Resilience is an overall approach challenging and improving the efforts we support in both international development cooperation and humanitarian work.
What is disaster risk reduction?
Disaster risk reduction (DRR) is about what we can do to prepare for, avoid or mitigate the consequences of disasters. A disaster is often described as a combination of high exposure to danger, high vulnerability and insufficient capacity to deal with the negative consequences.
The most important way to reduce the risk of disasters and crises is to build strong local communities where committed decision makers and effective authorities are able to work preventatively and respond to ongoing crisis.
We invest in resilience and disaster risk reduction
Our work for strengthened resilience and disaster risk reduction is based on our climate and environmental policy. During 2017-2021, we received extra funding from Sida to focus on this work. We therefore encourage our member organisations together with their partner organisations to work for strengthened resilience and disaster risk reduction around the world.
Humanitarian efforts are often carried out in areas where long-term international development cooperation is already underway. Nevertheless, these two forms of assistance are often kept apart. By working for increased resilience, we create bridges between long-term international development cooperation and humanitarian work.
Local contacts and international networks
Our broad network of member organisations and their local partner organisations worldwide are an asset in the work for increased resilience. By working with local religious representatives who have religious literacy on the specific context, we can find and support solutions relevant to the context. In this way, people’s ability to prepare for, adapt to and recover from various forms of negative change and shocks increases.
The Sendai Framework is a global agreement that calls on each country to develop strategies to reduce the risk of disasters. We encourage our member organisations and partner organisations located in countries at high risk of disasters to cooperate with the country’s national agencies to reduce the risks.
We and several of our member organisations are members of The Global Network of Civil Society Organizations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR). This large international network is advocating for increased engagement on disaster risk reduction and resilience, and for better coordination when disasters occur. Membership in GNDR does not cost anything.
This is how we work on resilience and DRR
This is how others work on resilience and DRR
Conflict is necessary for all social development. However, we do not want our development cooperation to have negative consequences. That is why we work with conflict sensitivity.
When we work with interventions in long-term development cooperation, humanitarian aid or peacebuilding, we want to, in some way or another, influence the contexts and communities in which we work. We want our efforts to contribute to positive change. The challenge is that when we do this we also affect communities and contexts in more ways than we intend to. And if we are not aware of this, we risk exacerbating already destructive conflicts, or contributing to the emergence of new ones.
One way to avoid unintentional negative impact is to work with conflict sensitivity. Conflict sensitivity requires that we regularly, throughout the intervention cycle:
- analyse social tensions and conflicts in the context
- analyse how the intervention is affecting social tensions and conflicts in the context, so-called conflict impact assessments
- adjust the intervention based on these analyses
Otherwise, we risk contributing to the emergence of new destructive conflicts or exacerbating already destructive conflicts. We also risk damaging social mechanisms that sustain local conflict transformation.
Are cnflicts necessary for social development?
The struggle for justice, peace and universal human rights challenges the power and privileges of individuals or groups. These challenges can lead to both negative and constructive conflicts. From both a Christian theological perspective and a rights perspective, conflict is necessary for social development. The Christian message also carries with it an experience of restoration, reconciliation and constructive conflict transformation based on Jesus’ example, which goes beyond the rights perspective. Despite our shortcomings, God invites us to his kingdom and to work for peace and reconciliation. This is a strong foundation for a conflict-sensitive approach in everything SMC do.
Conflict prevetion are fundamental to reduce poverty
Armed conflicts represent the most serious obstacle to the development of many countries today. Armed conflicts increase the risk of human rights and international humanitarian law being violated and people being forcibly displaced. Extreme poverty and starvation are increasingly concentrated in failing and conflict-affected states. Approximately 1.8 billion people are estimated to live in these affected states. If no action is taken, the OECD-DAC estimates that 80 percent of the world’s poorest people will be living in failing or conflict-affected areas by the year 2030. Conflict prevention and peace building are therefore fundamental to human rights and poverty reduction efforts.
Today’s climate change is contributing to increasingly protracting humanitarian crises. The fact that the crises are also affected by long term and complex armed conflicts highlights a growing need to link humanitarian work, development cooperation and peacebuilding. Extreme and dramatic events reveal a society’s internal vulnerability and exposure to risk. It is therefore important to actively work with and understand the linkages between climate change, conflict and resilience within the framework of a conflict-sensitive working method.
Working with a conflict sensitive approach is therefore about ensuring the understanding that all development interventions affect the peace and conflict dynamics in the context in which the work is carried out.
A conflict-sensitive approach strives to:
- prevent the intervention from having negative effects, which could lead to the conflict developing in a destructive direction or to new conflicts
- strengthen local capacity for peace for the purposes of prevention and peace-building, as far as is possible within the mandate and purpose of the intervention
- Work in conflict areas requires good risk awareness, therefore risk analysis should include how social tensions and conflicts affect the effort.
This is how Christian Study Center in Pakistan works to create peace. Listen to Jennifer Jag Jivan when she explains more about their work.
This is how we work with conflict sensitivity.
This is how others work with conflict sensitivity