IASSW initially set up the Disaster Intervention, Climate Change and Sustainability Committee in 2010, following the failure of the UNFCCC COP meeting in Copenhagen in 2009. Its aim was to prepare policies, materials and inputs into the United Nations’ discussions on climate change and other disasters.

The Disaster Intervention, Climate Change and Sustainability Committee has organised side events linked to COP meetings since that time. These have highlighted the roles that social workers play in climate change disasters, with an emphasis on upholding people’s rights and social justice in poor communities most affected by climate disasters ranging from floods, droughts, extreme weather events, storm surges, and hurricanes. These include displacement of people, loss of lives of people and livestock, destruction of the environment and debris clear-up.

Now, the Disaster Intervention, Climate Change and Sustainability Committee has contributed to the understanding and addressing the impact of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that has spread to 180 countries across the world endangering lives and economic development.

For this new crisis, the committee would like to hear from you and learn how you have contributed to dealing with the crisis in your school, community, and family. Please contact the Committee Chair, Lena Dominelli by email at lena.dominelli@stir.ac.uk

Social distancing can still include communicating with and sharing our stories with one another. The human spirit, kindness, compassion, and solidarity will defeat the coronavirus! Social workers have these characteristics in abundance. Let us share this optimistic message with those we encounter virtually or otherwise.