For any organisation, in any field, tunnel vision can easily take hold and stop us seeing the bigger picture about how our work connects to others.
It can sometimes take a cross-cutting theme like climate to bring us back to reality and join the dots.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also help with this. We know that all 17 goals interact with one another in quite profound ways, but arguably none more so than climate at this juncture in history.
The reality is that unless there is more co-ordinated global action to tackle the climate crisis, it will be increasingly hard to reduce poverty, in all its dimensions, particularly in the world’s poorest countries. The costs of adaptation will also rise steeply everywhere.
It is also the case that the climate crisis threatens to undermine hard won human development and other gains – indeed the impact of severe drought and flooding around the world suggests that it already is.
And crucially, it is becoming more and more unavoidable to think about the great paradox of development: The climate crisis is both the result of and a threat to current development patterns. To tackle climate change, the whole world must develop differently.
To illustrate this point, let us think for a moment about child marriage and girls’ education. If remote rural communities in southern Africa are to be encouraged to leave their girls in school, rather than take them out of school and force them into early marriage, then one would hope that the importance of ‘lobola’, or bride price, would diminish. But if rising temperatures result in increasing desertification, and reduction in grazing, then ‘lobola’ becomes harder to expect poor families, long accustomed to this tradition, to forego. Climate change even affects the rights of girls to receive an education. No area of human development is exempt.
At the Alliance, we think all development organisations including ourselves are duty bound to plan, implement and evaluate what we do with climate at the heart.
That is why COP26 coming to Glasgow has been such a catalyst for us and why we are planning much of our work this year around how we can work together to act on the climate crisis.
We have created a new page on our website here and are already planning a variety of climate focused activities throughout the year.
We are also planning to build climate action into our work plans across various streams of work including our effectiveness and learning programme. More information will be shared as our work plans firm up.
In the meantime, find out how to get involved with COP here.