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Jean-François Berger

ICRC editor

Jean Milligan
Federation guest editor

 
  Spring in Switzerland this year looked a lot like winter. Snow was falling in what normally should have been the season when the trees blossom. This harsh spring came after the warmest winter on record. And yet Switzerland is not the only place where weird weather is happening. From Honduras to India, the earth's environment seems to be changing with reported rises in sea levels, more intense rainstorms, melting glaciers, longer droughts and stronger and more devastating wind storms.

A UN report on climate change, released in February of this year, provided the scientific confirmation of what people had been noticing for some time: global warming is real and changing the planet's climate. It also made clear that while global warming is to some extent a natural event, the level of warming in the past decade is exceptional and without a doubt attributable to the release of man-made pollutants resulting in the "greenhouse effect".

What does all this mean for us? Coping with the consequences of global warming is not new to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Every day we are helping people recover and rebuild their lives after natural and man-made disasters. And we too have noticed that the world's weather is becoming more volatile and severe, causing increased hardship for the vulnerable populations seeking our assistance. Yet until recently the Movement has only had limited discussion about the issue. That is why we decided to focus in this issue on global warming and the Red Cross and Red Crescent's role in helping communities to learn to adapt to the altered climate. Our hope is that the magazine can be part of the larger effort to promote a Movement-wide strategy to assist the most vulnerable to better cope with the effects of global warming.

This issue of Red Cross Red Crescent magazine is dedicated to the six ICRC staff members assassinated on 26 April in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - Aduwe Boboli, Julio Delgado, Rita Fox-Stuecki, Jean Molokabonge, Véronique Saro, Unen Ufoirworth - to Ole Friis Eriksen, ICRC co-pilot killed on 9 May in southern Sudan, to Rugnesh Uttakumar Geewala, Anand Shukla and Kalpesh Patel, three volunteers with the Indian Red Cross killed while travelling to the earthquake affected region of Gujarat and to Raul Ariza Sanchez and Johan Umana Guevara, two Colombian Red Cross staff killed in an auto accident after visiting the region of Casanare.

Jean-François Berger
ICRC editor

Jean Milligan
Federation guest editor



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