Office for the Coordination
of Humanitarian Affairs
MMA & Smarties Awards
World Humanitarian Day – The Human Race
The climate crisis is a global emergency, but it doesn’t affect everyone equally. People in vulnerable communities in developing countries–those who have contributed least to the crisis–are already losing their homes, their livelihoods and their lives. Time is running out. And in the race against the climate crisis, we can’t leave anyone behind. World Humanitarian Day 2021 offered a key opportunity to focus on the climate emergency, turning a global spotlight on the plight of those facing the immediate consequences of the climate crisis on their doorstep, and calling for global solidarity to hold world leaders to their commitment to climate action in developing countries.
In the lead up to World Humanitarian Day (WHD) 2021, Rooftop partnered with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) to develop and drive an ambitious campaign focused on the climate crisis, seeking to build global solidarity on behalf of vulnerable communities facing the immediate and devastating consequences of climate change. With the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) taking place in November, the campaign would be driven by a single-minded goal: raising support to pressure world leaders to take meaningful climate action for those who need it most, and holding them to their decade-old pledge of $100 billion annually for climate action in developing countries.
#TheHumanRace campaign for WHD was conceived on the back of United Nations Secretary – General, António Guterres inspired statement, “The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race that we can win.” The intersection of sport or individual activity, and humanitarian action, presented a unique concept to inspire people around the world to join #TheHumanRace challenge, which asked them to give 100 minutes of an activity of their choice, as a show of solidarity to hold leaders to their $100 billion annual pledge. The challenge was hosted on STRAVA, the world’s leading exercise platform, allowing anyone with a fitness device or smartphone to participate and log their minutes during the last two weeks of August. For those who didn’t wish to or could not participate physically, an online petition on the campaign microsite provided a simple alternative to add their voice and help spread the word via social media.
Rooftop worked to develop a comprehensive suite of online campaign materials, including 5 campaign videos, along with a partner toolkit and sustained flow of key social media assets to promote participation and campaign messaging, all made available in 6 official UN languages.
We knew that the success of the campaign would hinge on strategic partnerships in the right corners to help spread the word, raise support and garner active participation within large existing networks. Working with UNOCHA, we were able to partner with at least 30 key influencers, including star athletes, climate activists, celebrities and other people of influence. Traditional WHD partners and supporters–from humanitarian organizations to UN celebrity ambassadors–were also activated to rally behind #TheHumanRace.
The strategy quickly began to yield the necessary traction to build campaign momentum, with the launch film featuring elite athlete Fernanda Maciel and Nigerian youth climate activist Adenike Oladosu, gaining 1.7M views, while Olympic and World Champion, Haile Geberselassie’s bespoke call to action film reached over 635K views.
From 16 to 31 August, 622,261 people from 183 countries signed up for #TheHumanRace, with 570, 782 completing the challenge. A total of 6,808,804 hours (or 777 years) of activity were logged–averaging to 12 hours per person–7 times the initial ask. Over 100 billion metres were covered for $100 billion–a distance equal to a round trip to Mars. Close to 50 000 people from 178 countries also added their voices to the online petition. #TheHumanRace was also picked up and covered by an estimated 180 global news outlets.
All in all, it’s safe to say that #TheHumanRace campaign touched all corners of the globe, encouraging everyone it reached that we need to come together individually and corporately to make every action count, because we are all in this together–the most important race of our lives.
hours of activity
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