As a former runner, the way I think about it is that if we can show that we can outrun the pace of climate change by finding better ways for communities to adapt, even in the toughest places, and share this knowledge with anyone who wants it, we will make an important contribution to the global race for survival that humanity faces. But adaptation alone won’t be enough. Our opponent, climate change, is running faster and faster. We must also slow it down to win the race.
Though no one organisation alone can slow down climate change, AKDN can show that aggressive mitigation is possible, even in the most remote areas in the world. We can even show that getting to Net Zero does not mean that we cannot provide quality health care, education, mobile phone services, energy, or the many other things we want to do. On the contrary, we can show that achieving Net Zero will actually improve services, as we will partner with countries to diversify their sources of energy and find new and better ways to do business.
During the conference we focused on showcasing and raising awareness for some practical issues. Our health team showed how they are doing amazing work to reduce the emissions of all our health facilities, while continuing to provide great health services. This is a major achievement, as the health sector causes heavy emissions that are difficult to avoid because there is no room to compromise on quality. Similarly, our education team made the case for mainstreaming climate into education systems to create a new generation equipped with the knowledge and skills to cope with the climate crisis. And my own Aga Khan Agency for Habitat team raised awareness for the plight of mountain communities at the frontline of climate change and showed how these communities can build resilience despite rapidly advancing climate change.