The climate crisis is a child rights crisis with grave implications for current and future generations of children, who are already bearing the brunt of its impacts. Children from lower-income countries and those affected by inequality and discrimination are particularly impacted, Save the Children said.
In Australia, the renewed flooding in the country’s east coast in recent weeks, which forced schools to close and families to evacuate, is just the latest evidence that Australian children are among those globally facing more severe and frequent disasters driven by the climate crisis.
Recent research by the child rights organisation showed that one in three children around the world are also facing the double threat of high climate risk and crushing poverty.
At a press conference hosted by Save the Children to launch the new report for the aid agency’s Generation Hope campaign, children from around the world spoke about how they feel about the climate crisis.
Pohamba, 15, from Zambia said: “Due to climate change and the drought we are facing here in Zambia, a lot of children have not been having a proper meal because the farmers are being impacted by climate change, because our crops have been dried up.”
Durra, 11, who is Syrian but living in Egypt, said: “Climate change has negatively impacted me personally and the children around me. I’ve been deprived of my basic rights, like playing and going to school. I’ve really sensed this in the past few years, because we’ve faced extreme weather in Egypt like heavy rainfall and floods.”
Ridhima, 15, from India, said: “Kids want to live a carefree life, which we can’t really live. And thinking about the future, it’s going to be us kids only who are going to be suffering.”
Save the Children International CEO Inger Ashing said: “Listening to these children – all from different corners of the world – speak about how their lives are already impacted by he climate emergency really brought home how the rights and lives of billions of children - now and in the future – are dependent on the actions that leaders take at moments like this. We hope they have the courage and willpower to do what is needed for children.
“This COP leaders must listen to children’s views and recommendations as they make these life-altering decisions.”
Save the Children Australia CEO Mat Tinkler said:
“We only have to look at the events of recent years to see that children are facing increasingly severe climate-related disasters, including the recent flooding in Australia’s east. Young people have spoken up on the climate crisis and the impact it is having on their lives, and they can’t wait any longer for action.”
Save the Children Australia is working across Australia, the Pacific and beyond to help communities increase their climate resilience and recover from the impacts of climate change.
Save the Children is asking leaders at COP27 to:
- Ensure a focus on children’s rights and equity, especially children impacted by inequality and discrimination and based on children’s own views and recommendations, in climate negotiations, policies and financing. Increase financial commitments to help communities and children impacted by inequality and discrimination deal with and recover from climate impacts and shocks. This includes going beyond the unmet pledge to provide at least $100 billion climate finance annually and to spread it 50/50 between adaptation and mitigation.
- Provide new, additional, and ambitious funding to address rapidly escalating loss and damage and support the creation of a new climate finance mechanism to help address the cost of the irreversible impacts of the climate crisis to children’s rights. This includes supporting communities already hit by irreversible climate impacts.
- Act urgently to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in the best interests of children and rapidly phase out the use and subsidy of fossil fuels. Delayed actions will literally cost lives.
- Recognise the crucial stake children have in addressing the climate and environmental crisis and make provisions for the safe and meaningful participation of children at COP 27 and in other climate related decision-making forums and summits and act on their recommendations.
MEDIA CONTACT: Mala Darmadi on 0425562113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Save the Children has spokespeople available at COP27, including a climate expert from Australia and others from global climate hotspots.