Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Africa: Children Most Vulnerable to Climate Crisis

Nairobi — The United Nations Children’s Fund is calling for action to guarantee the right of children in Africa to live in a safe and healthy environment.

This follows a report published by UNICEF on Friday indicating that children in the continent face extraordinarily high climate change-related hazards and risks. The report’s publication came in the runup to the Africa Climate Summit, due to open in Nairobi on Monday.

Despite the risks, the report said, children are neglected in climate financing that could help them adapt to, survive and respond to the climate crisis. Only 2.4 percent of global climate funding targets children, it said.

The report, “Time to Act: African Children in the Climate Change Spotlight”, said children in 48 out of 49 African countries assessed are categorized as at high or extremely high risk of the impacts of climate change.

The analysis assesses countries based on children’s exposure to climate and environmental shocks, such as cyclones and heat waves, as well as their vulnerability to those shocks, based on their access to essential services.

“It is clear that the youngest members of African society are bearing the brunt of the harsh effects of climate change,” said Lieke van de Wiel, deputy director at the UNICEF eastern and southern Africa region.

Stronger funding

“They are the least able to cope, due to physiological vulnerability and poor access to essential social services. We need to see a stronger focus of funding toward this group, so that they are equipped to face a lifetime of climate-induced disruptions.”