At Caritas Czech Republic we are oftentimes responding to man-made disasters that are affecting communities in different parts of the world. While wars or inadequate state administration tend to create more visible crisis, a growing number of issues we are facing are related to the environment and its deterioration. We know that if we do not change the way we live and work, the situation will only get worse. This is why we are introducing series of efforts to push for greater environmental sustainability of our work.
The challenges we face
Climate change, as a consequence of human impact on the environment, already has a significant influence on our daily lives. However, from our experience we are well aware that the communities we work with are far more severely affected by environmental degradation, which is causing series of climate disorders, from drought to floods to soil erosion. This can have catastrophic consequences on people’s livelihoods.
At the same time, all humanitarian work can have unintended negative consequences on the local environment. Whether it is deforestation caused by unsustainable shelter construction, water contamination due to inappropriate waste management or the overall loss of biodiversity. These problems will only grow exponentially. In order to overcome these challenges, we must act now.
What are we doing at this point
At Caritas Czech Republic, we believe that change must come from ourselves first. We have recently updated our environmental policy to be able to better address specific tasks related to our own impact on the environment. We are also leading efforts to address environment-related measures in our missions, from green office management, to a more sustainable procurement and climate considerations when travelling. But the main part of our efforts will now focus on how we design and carry out our projects.
Donors’ push for green aid and development
At the same time, our actions correlate with the growing efforts of international donors to reduce the environmental impact of humanitarian aid and development cooperation. This push for greater environmental responsibility is in line with the European Green Deal, a set of policy initiatives aimed at making Europe climate neutral by 2050. Donors are therefore promoting initiatives such as clean energy solutions, sustainable procurement or reducing the carbon footprint of international NGOs. By introducing these measures as requirements, we will finally be able do more for the environment by having resources in the right place.
Caritas Czech Republic is fully on board and ready to take part in this endeavour for better environment and perhaps, in addition, an improved life on our planet.
Photo credit: Michal Gálik