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The Climate Crisis is a Child Rights Crisis. Introducing the Children’s Climate Risk Index

‘The Climate Crisis is a Child Rights Crisis: Introducing the Children’s Climate Risk Index (CCRI), utilizes data to generate new global evidence on how many children are currently exposed to underlying vulnerabilities and climate and environmental hazards, shocks and stresses. The resulting index gives us a comprehensive view of climate risk from a child’s perspective and provides a ranking of the places where children are at the most imminent threat

The report outlines multiple critical points, including that;

  • Already, almost every child on earth is exposed to at least one climate shock.
  • 1 billion children – nearly half of all children -  live in 33 countries and are classified as at ‘extremely high risk’ from the impacts of climate change because they face a combination of exposure to multiple climate shocks with a high vulnerability due to inadequate essential services, such as healthcare, water and sanitation.

The 33 countries are; Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Somalia, Niger, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mozambique, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Sudan, Togo, Cote D’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Senegal, India, Sierra Leone, Yemen, Haiti, Mali, Eritrea, Myanmar, Philippines.

The Children’s Climate Risk Index (CCRI) reveals:

  • 240 million children are highly exposed to coastal flooding;
  • 330 million children are highly exposed to riverine flooding;
  • 400 million children are highly exposed to cyclones;
  • 600 million children are highly exposed to vector borne diseases;
  • 815 million children are highly exposed to lead pollution;
  • 820 million children are highly exposed to heatwaves;
  • 920 million children are highly exposed to water scarcity;
  • 1 billion children are are highly exposed to exceedingly high levels of air pollution[1]

Importantly, the report also includes the voices and perspectives of young people, who are on the front line of both the crisis and calling for climate action, as well as two forewords – one from UNICEF Executive Director Fore and one from the youth climate movement Fridays For Future including Greta Thunberg and three young activists from Mexico, Bangladesh and Kenya.

Recognizing the criticality of children and young people in the climate change agenda, UNICEF has launched the report today - Friday 20 August  - as it marks the 3-year anniversary of the first School Strike for Climate/ Fridays for Future protests, which have become a key way young people are demanding climate action.  

While our report focused on the impacts on children, our strong asks to decision makers, business, governments are all actors are consistent with you all including;

  1. Increased investment in climate adaptation and resilience in key services for children.
  2. A drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions including by at least 45% (compared to 2010 levels) by 2030 to keep warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  3. Providing children with climate education and greens skills
  4. Including young people in all national, regional and international climate negotiations and decisions, including at COP26. 
  5. Ensuring the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is green, low-carbon and inclusive.

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