Eleventh issue – July 2019


Humanitarian aid workers and the challenge of climate change

By Christophe Buffet - "Are humanitarian aid workers ready to tackle the challenge of climate change?”  We were already asking ourselves this question in 200 on the eve of the COP15 in Copenhagen. Where do we stand now, ten years on? [Read more]


Anticipating uncertainty, preparing for the unknown: humanitarian actors in the face of issues linked to climate change

By Guillaume Devars, Julien Fouilland, François Grünewald, Thuy-Binh Nguyen et Julie Mayans - This first article provides an overview of the issues facing humanitarian workers and points out the ambiguities that persist. Insufficient and non-binding normative frameworks do not prevent actors who, themselves, generate a significant environmental impact, from setting up their own anticipatory tools. [Read more]

For the climate, end the distinction between humanitarian aid and development aid

By Runa Khan, Marc Elvinger and William Lebedel - Can the consequences of climate change on vulnerable populations contribute to rethinking the structure of aid ? Drawing on the example of Bangladesh and an innovative partnership with Luxembourg development cooperation, three directors of the NGO Friendship argue just that. [Read more]

From carbon offsetting to climate solidarity

By Marie-Noëlle Reboulet - The story of GERES is interesting in many ways. This association of scientists, created to promote solar energy, became a development NGO and then got involved in carbon finance before joining the popular movements. We look back on a trajectory that could cross that of humanitarians. [Read more]

Choices at the time of the climate emergency

By Bruno Jochum, François Delfosse, Maria Guevara, Léo L.  Tremblay, Carol Devine - Knowing about the discussions in progress at Médecins Sans Frontières, as well as the actions it intends to implement to adapt to climate change, provides precious insight. Though they speak in their own names, the five authors – from the Swiss and Canadian sections – say a lot about the ongoing debates within the movement, about the actions taken and about the possibilities for procrastination. Lessons that apply to the entire humanitarian community. [Read more]

How to take care of humankind at +2°C?

By Audrey Sala - On 15 and 16 April 2019, on the 100th anniversary of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the French Red Cross held a conference entitled “Health and Climate Change: taking care of humankind at +2°C”. This “first humanitarian COP” aimed to take stock of the main challenges posed by climate change in terms of health and on the humanitarian sector. The conference, which brought together participants from the academic and humanitarian fields, was organised into fifteen debates and workshops. Our editorial team was in attendance and provides here a non-exhaustive summary. [Read more]

The difficult legal consideration of climate migrants

By Arjun Claire and Jérôme Élie - Arjun Claire and Jérôme Élie invite us to the arcane debates that led to the adoption of the two Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees. If these texts express a “watered down” view of climate issues, it is partly because of fears expressed by some States that the international definition of refugees might be expanded. Nevertheless. Nevertheless, they open the way to more extensive protection. [Read more]


What does the future have in store for humanitarian aid logistics?

By Manon Radosta Often neglected, or at least “accessorized”, logistics is nevertheless essential to the success of humanitarian missions. Not to mention that it represents 60 to 80% of their costs. Based on this observation, and the need to optimise operations traditionally conducted in isolation while also integrating climate issues, eleven international NGOs have reflected on what the logistics of tomorrow could be. A single guiding theme: mutualisation.[Read more]


The geopolitics of homophobia

By Michel Maietta - Homophobia, understood as discrimination of all kinds against LGBT people (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender), is still too widely used for internal policy purposes, when it is not part of an international strategy. Michel Maietta describes the grip of homophobia as a (geo)political priority against which it is important to reaffirm that the rights of LGBT people are human rights. [Read more]


Yemen: living with bombs and landmines

By Agnès Varraine-Leca - Four years of war, with more than 19,000 air strikes by the Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates-led coalition and conservative estimates suggest a human toll of 90,000. Civilians are paying a heavy price, the first victims of the coalition’s strikes as well as the ground battles between loyalist forces – loyal to President Hadi and supported by the coalition – and Ansar Allah’s troops. The latter are themselves responsible for heavy civilian casualties, especially due to their intensive use of landmines in the west of the country. [Read more]


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Climate - gone with Tambora

By Philippe Ryfman -Research on “natural disasters” has been growing exponentially over the last few years. The remarkable work of Sandrine Revet(1) has previously been discussed here. This book by American historian and University of Illinois professor, Gillen D’Arcy Wood is an attempt to provide a complete, global-scale overview of a long-concealed catastrophe that could today be referred to as an “environmental disaster”. [Read more]



Greenpeace: the roots of wrath

Recounting the history of Greenpeace in France is a review of modern history in the light of the environmental concerns that seem as unescapable today as they were nascent forty years ago. [Read more]





U-Man, a new humanitarian radio programme

Pierre-Alain Gourion is the founder of Bubble Art, a Lyon-based multi-cultural association that has launched “U-Man” a radio and video programme on humanitarian action that intends to become a sounding board. [Read more]


With this photo of Yannis Behrakis on the cover of this issue, we want to evoke as much the reality of migrants who risk and still lose their lives in the Mediterranean as this so-called alliance of man and nature, largely fissured since the first has clearly decided to subject the latter to all its excesses. [Read more]


Thérèse Benoît • Méline Bernard • Fay Guerry • Alain Johnson • Juliet Powys  • Benjamin Richardier  • Derek Scoins

Retranscriptions: Frédérique Morin-Bironneau

Acknowledgements for their voluntary contribution to this issue:

Brax • Christophe Buffet • Damian Gonzalez Dominguez (CIRC/ICRC) • Fay Guerry