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GOAL calls for action on climate change


April 22, 2021 • 2 min read

As we mark Earth Day, we highlight the impact of climate change on the most vulnerable communities.

GOAL is calling for policy change at national and international level, and rapid delivery of global financial commitments, as part of action to tackle climate change.

In a Climate Change briefing paper launched to mark Earth Day 2021 the agency says Ireland should reduce its carbon emissions as per the Paris Climate Agreement. It is also appealing to Governments to use the Covid-19 recovery to take collective action for food systems that are more equitable, resilient and sustainable.

The paper highlights the impact that climate change is having on the communities that GOAL works with, and makes several key recommendations to tackle the issue.

Speaking at the launch of the paper, GOAL’s Deputy CEO Mary Van Lieshout said: “The UN predicts that the climate crisis will push an additional 120 million people into poverty by 2030. The devastating effects of climate change are adding to existing environmental, social, health, political and economic challenges. Our colleagues on the frontline are seeing these effects first-hand and we know that actions and solutions cannot be delayed.”

Earth Day is a UN designated annual event to demonstrate support for environmental protection. The climate crisis presents the single biggest threat to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

“While climate change is expected to affect every country in the world, its impact is disproportionally felt in communities in which GOAL works – communities which have contributed least to this acute global problem,” Ms Van Lieshout added.

In the paper GOAL highlights the impact of climate change in five key areas – Humanitarian Crises; Global Health; Food and Nutrition Security; Livelihoods and Gender Equality.

Key Recommendations

  • Ireland to reduce its emissions as per the Paris Climate Agreement
  • Ireland to increase its climate finance contributions
  • Ireland to support increasing action at EU level to ensure EU carbon reduction targets are increased to 65% from 55%
  • Donors, including the EU and Ireland, to release rapid and flexible funding to respond to climate-induced disasters
  • Governments to use the Covid-19 recovery to take collective action for food systems that are more equitable, resilient, and sustainable

The communities that GOAL works with have suffered numerous climate related disasters in recent months. In November, Honduras experienced two Category 5 hurricanes, just weeks apart. Communities in Ethiopia have been combatting recurring swarms of locusts with billions of pests wreaking havoc on an already fragile agricultural system.

Summarising GOAL’s recommendations, Mary Van Lieshout said: “If the international community is serious about tackling the climate crisis, policy change at national and international levels and global financial commitments must be delivered rapidly. Covid-19 recovery plans should include climate objectives to put the health and sustainability of the planet and its poorest people at centre stage.”

The full briefing paper can be accessed at