On 9 and 10 September 2020, the network of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), including the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and the Solferino Academy, convened its first ever virtual climate summit – Climate:Red. The Summit ran over 30 consecutive hours and engaged over 10,000 participants from 195 countries, including many global and national leaders. The virtual format enabled a more inclusive conference, with participation by a wider set of people and stakeholders than an in person conference, and successfully demonstrated that a truly global conference can be organized without the greenhouse gas emissions of a traditional meeting (in this case, we saved 25,412 tonnes of CO2 in flights).
The 220 sessions, primarily crowd-sourced from the IFRC network, and largely led and facilitated by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, provided a platform to exchange, debate and inspire climate action on a wide range of themes including climate-smart disaster risk reduction, health, early warning early action, conflict, climate-induced, youth engagement, disaster laws, nature-based solutions, gender and greening our ways of working. In addition, participants were able to connect for brief and spontaneous exchanges in about 3,000 ‘coffee chat’ sessions. All this without a single flight required!
The first of its kind, Climate:Red was a unique opportunity to bring people together to discuss the most important issue of our time – climate change, and to promote the critical work of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and our partners in this space. Together, we created a space for humanitarians and their partners to act, empower, influence and transform – and also to learn about bold new ideas to help us be more fit for the future.
Recorded sessions can be found on the Climate:Red site. Check out some summit highlights from this video. See also the winners of our Climate Change Innovation Competition here. A summary of the many insights and lessons learned from hosting a virtual summit of this scale are set out in the report How to host a virtual summit and get away with it, as a resource for others to learn and benefit from.