Frequently asked questions

This Charter has been developed by and for humanitarian organisations. Signatures will be accepted from not-for-profit organisations (whether they are Red Cross/Red Crescent, NGO, or inter-governmental) that provide humanitarian assistance and/or protection. Signatures will also be accepted from not-for-profit networks, think tanks, consultancies or academic entities whose primary work is centered on humanitarian action.

Several states, local and regional governments, government agencies and departments (such as NDMAs), and private foundations have expressed their desire to support the Charter. Any such organization wishing to formally express this support may sign up as a Supporter and will be listed publicly on the Charter website. Support to the implementation of the Charter is critical in many ways. Technical and financial support are key to turning commitments into reality. Calls for ambitious action at all levels to reduce risks and address the causes and consequences of the climate and environmental crises are equally important. Similarly, the development of donor policies that align with the Charter is also welcome.

There is no set deadline for signing the Charter. The signing period is open-ended –organizations should sign up when they are ready.

The Charter is not a legally binding document but a statement of commitment. Organizations adopting the Charter should be committed to addressing the climate and environment crises, both through their programmes and the way in which they work. Organizations will be expected to translate the commitments in the Charter into time-bound targets and action plans within a year.

Organizations adopting the Charter should be committed to ensuring they have specific targets (these could be new, existing or a mixture of both) that demonstrate how changes are being implemented and that lead to real reductions in their environmental impacts. Each organization will have its own specific targets, reflecting its scale, capacities and mandate. These targets may take time to develop. Organizations do not need to finalize their targets before adopting the Charter; they merely need to commit to doing so within a year of signing it.

Targets should be informed by international standards and agreements, such as the Paris Agreement, and be based on the latest scientific evidence. They may represent intermediate steps or long-term goals. See examples of suggested targets under Guidance.

In addition to the series of suggested targets, sharing tools and knowledge will be critical to the success of the Charter. Many organizations have been developing tools that will be valuable for fulfilling the Charter’s commitments. Other tools may need to be developed, especially in the area of carbon accounting. Many organizations have already committed to ensuring that existing tools are shared widely and to identifying potential gaps and ways to address them. See examples of tools and resources under Guidance.

Addressing the climate and environment crises is a priority for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and has been for some time. At the 33rd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in December 2019, the ICRC, the IFRC and a number of National Societies committed not only to adapting their ways of working but also to developing a charter to support and promote greater climate action within the humanitarian community at large.

The IFRC and ICRC act as the repository for the Charter and maintain a database of the organizations that adopt it, but there will not be a formal external monitoring mechanism. Organizations themselves are expected to monitor and report on their own progress.