Settlement Services International (SSI) is among the first organisations in Australia to sign the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations.
The Charter, adopted by 25 organisations worldwide since its launch in May, sets out seven commitments to galvanise and steer collective humanitarian action in response to climate and environmental crises that threaten the survival of humanity.
It is the result of a collective effort of a wide range of humanitarian organisations and climate and sustainability experts, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said humanitarian organisations like SSI must understand the long-term effects of refugee displacement induced by climate change.
“We can already see worldwide that disasters and climate change are forcing millions of people to relocate and are now displacing more people within their own countries than conflict,” she said.
“As humanitarian organisations, we recognise that we have a collective responsibility to support climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as environmental sustainability, to alleviate the burden placed on the most vulnerable communities.”
SSI has committed to four goals of The Charter to influence the sector in Australia and drive change nationally. While guiding the humanitarian sector’s approach to the increasing risks resulting from climate change, SSI will address its own carbon and environmental footprint, including maximising the climate and environmental sustainability of its programs and operations.
SSI State Director Victoria, Sonia Vignjevic, said that SSI would work closely with local communities to raise awareness and take climate and environmental action.
“It’s important that organisations like ours, working in the resettlement sector, take both short-term and long-term steps to mitigate environmental risk by working with, and in, community.
“SSI will support the increase of community knowledge on climate change and help communities to better understand climate and environmental risks.”