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Climate crisis is child’s right crisis: UNICEF

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    1st Sep, 2021

Context

Recently, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with Fridays for Future launched a report named ‘The Climate Crisis Is a Child Rights Crisis: Introducing the Children’s Climate Risk Index’.

About

About the Index

  • The report introduces the new Children’s Climate Risk Index (CCRI).
  • It is a composite index that ranks nations based on children’s exposure to climate shocks, providing
    • The first comprehensive look at how exactly children are affected by the climate crisis
    • Offering a road map for policymakers seeking to prioritize action based on those who are most at risk

Key-highlights of the Findings

  • Approximately 1 billion children — nearly half the world’s child population — live in countries that are at an “extremely high risk” from climate impacts.
  • Almost every single child on the planet has been exposed to at least one climate or environmental stressor, such as air pollution, flooding, heat waves, tropical storms, flooding or drought.
  • 850 million children — approximately one-third of the world’s child population — are exposed to four or more stressors.
  • The 33 extremely high-risk countries for children:  including the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. 
    • These countries collectively are responsible for a mere nine percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

Findings for India

  • India is one of four South Asian nations where children are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which jeopardise their health, education, and protection.
  • Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and India are among four South Asian countries where children are at extremely high risk of the impacts of the climate crisis, with a ranking of 14th, 15th, 25th and 26th respectively.

Mapping exposure of children to different type of pollution

  • 1 billion children are “highly exposed” to “exceedingly high levels of air pollution
  • 920 million to water scarcity
  • 820 million to heat waves
  • 815 million to lead pollution
  • 600 million to vector-borne diseases
  • 400 million to tropical storms
  • 330 million to riverine flooding
  • 240 million to coastal flooding

Recommendations:

  • Increase investment in climate adaptation and resilience in key services for children.
  • Countries must cut their emissions by at least 45% (compared to 2010 levels) by 2030 to keep warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Provide children with climate education and greens skills, critical for their adaptation to and preparation for the effects of climate change.
  • Ensure the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is green, low-carbon and inclusive, so that the capacity of future generations to address and respond to the climate crisis is not compromised.
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