UNICEF has said that around one billion children worldwide are at “extremely high risk” from the consequences of climate change.

A UNICEF senior adviser on climate, energy, and environment Gautam Narasimhan told a press conference at the UN climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland that two-thirds of countries’ climate plans don’t address the needs and priorities of children,”

The senior advisor cited a World Meteorological Organization assessment documenting how the years since 2015 have been Earth’s six warmest years on record.

He added that 2021 is expected to be one of the warmest years on record, according to our colleagues at WMO. But while leaders are once again talking about the impact of the climate crisis on children, too few are yet to turn these words into meaningful actions that actually consider children.

The UN official said that of the 103 country plans for climate change, UNICEF considers just 35 of them –about one-third – to be child-sensitive.

The senior adviser said that in August, UNICEF published The Children’s Climate Risk Index, which revealed that 99% of the world’s 2.2 billion children – virtually all of them – are exposed to at least one environmental threat, including heatwaves, cyclones, flooding, drought, vector-borne diseases, air pollution, and lead poisoning.

He added that roughly 1 billion children live in countries that are at ‘extremely high risk’ of the threats of climate change. These children face multiple, compounding climate shocks, threatening their health, education and very survival.

Gautam Narasimhan urged a response to the climate crisis, with the interests of children at the centre, and implored governments to boost investment in climate adaptation and resilience.

He said that children in communities that have contributed the least to global emissions will face the greatest impacts of climate change. These are communities that will see the greatest growth in the child population over the coming decades.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.