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Help win #TheHumanRace against climate change, UN Chief urges


UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres

By Cecilia Ologunagba

New York, Aug. 2, 2021

UN Secretary-General António Guterres is encouraging everyone across the world to participate in the literal race against the climate emergency, inaugurated by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

OCHA, on Monday launched #TheHumanRace campaign, a global challenge to show solidarity with people in the most disaster-prone countries and those hardest hit by climate change.

Organised in partnership with the popular exercise app Strava, the challenge encourages participants to log 100 minutes of physical activity, and culminates in the week of World Humanitarian Day, celebrated annually on Aug. 19.

“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,” Guterres said.

The campaign aims to carry an urgent message to world leaders attending the UN climate summit, COP26, in Glasgow in November.

It is an urgent message to the leaders that solidarity begins with developed countries delivering on their decade-old pledge of 100 billion dollars annually for climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.

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

Droughts, heatwaves, raging wildfires and horrific floods are shattering the lives of millions of people, causing them to lose their homes, livelihoods and sometimes even their lives.

Top athletes from across the globe are backing the campaign.

Brazilian ultramarathoner and environmental lawyer Fernanda Maciel explained why she is part of #TheHumanRace.

“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,” she said.

To join the #TheHumanRace, just log your 100 minutes of running, cycling, swimming, walking or other activity, on the Strava app during the week of 16-31 August.

Anyone unable to take part physically can also sign up and show their support on the campaign’s microsite: https://www.worldhumanitarianday.org/

OCHA said whether or not participants log 100 minutes of activity, each sign-up will help in delivering the campaign’s message to global leaders.

Strava CEO Michael Horvath underscored that there is strength in numbers.

“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,” he said.

“That’s why we invite athletes everywhere to join this challenge to raise awareness of climate change and its disproportionate impact on marginalised communities,” Horvath said.

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