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Monday, February 6, 2023

World Humanitarian Day: OCHA, partners launch campaign in solidarity with vulnerable people

To get the world racing against the climate crisis clock, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) and humanitarian partners have launched #TheHumanRace – a global challenge for climate action in solidarity with people in the world’s most disaster-prone countries and those hardest hit by climate change.

Mark Lowcock
Mark Lowcock, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

The climate emergency is said to be wreaking havoc across the world at a scale that people and humanitarian organisations on the front lines cannot manage.

Droughts, heatwaves, raging wildfires and horrific floods are shattering the lives of millions of people. News media is filled with stories of people losing their homes, their livelihoods and their lives. And this is just a glimpse of what lies ahead if we fail to act on climate change. Time is running out.

#TheHumanRace is taking place with support from some of the biggest names in sports, and in partnership with other UN agencies, non-governmental organisations, the Red Cross Movement and climate activists.

Hosted on the leading exercise app Strava, #TheHumanRace will challenge users around the world to run, ride, swim, walk or do any activity of their choice for a cumulative 100 minutes between August 16 and 31, 2021 in solidarity with the world’s most vulnerable people.

Anyone unable to take part physically can also sign up to support our call to action via the campaign microsite, according to the organisers.

#TheHumanRace culminates in the week of World Humanitarian Day, August 19. In the race against the climate crisis, no one should be left behind, including those already facing humanitarian crises, disclosed UN OCHA.

United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said: “The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win … let’s lace up our running shoes and win the climate race for us all.”

Brazilian ultramarathon athlete and environmental lawyer Fernanda Maciel, one of the supporting athletes, said: “I am excited to run for the most important goal in our lifetime: to save our planet and the people living on it. We run every day, for ourselves. Why not run for something bigger? Everybody should join this campaign because we need compassion. It is time to run together.”

Strava CEO, Michael Horvath, said: “With over 88 million athletes in 195 countries, the Strava community has the power to help unlock solutions to some of the world’s most critical problems. That’s why we invite athletes everywhere to join this challenge to raise awareness of climate change and its disproportionate impact on marginalised communities.”

“Whether or not participants log 100 minutes of activity, each sign-up will help carry our message to world leaders at the UN climate summit, COP26, in November: Solidarity begins with developed countries delivering on their decade-old pledge of $100 billion annually for climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries,” said the UN.

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