The Climate Change Crisis is a Child Rights Crisis. Climate change is impacting the lives of children worldwide, also in Zimbabwe. It creates scarcity in access to safe water and food, impacts on the health of children, increases children’s vulnerability to exploitation and abuse, and jeopardises their well-being, even threatening their survival.

Everywhere children are increasingly exposed to climate or environmental hazards, such as flooding, drought, heatwaves, cyclones, and air pollution.

As these extreme weather events increase in frequency and ferocity, they threaten children’s lives, jeopardise children’s access to healthy food they need for their development and destroy infrastructure critical to their well-being such as schools, health care facilities and children’s playgrounds.

For the most vulnerable children, climate impacts worsen their situation placing additional risk to their rights and further reducing their access to basic services. 

Zimbabwe too is impacted. Climate change is causing frequent occurrences and increasing severity of floods, tropical cyclones, droughts, and heatwaves. The Country is ranked high risk in the 2021 UNICEF Children’s Climate Risk Index.

While children are the least responsible for climate change, they suffer the biggest brunt of climate change. Still children are largely missing from the climate dialogue.

UNICEF yesterday launched a communication campaign to raise awareness on the impact of climate change on children; put children at the centre of the climate change debate; and to make the climate budget child focused.

Today, only 2.4 % of Multilateral Climate Funds globally is set aside for children and young people. There is a need for more funds allocated directly to interventions that benefit children.

UNICEF’s website will be dedicated to the campaign on climate, with studies, research and stories. The campaign will centre around children by providing them with a platform for to share their views and make calls for more child centered climate funding and will run a petition campaign for everyone to join.

To deal with the challenges of climate change, energy and environment UNICEF calls for urgent action on four fronts:

• Put children at the centre of climate change policies, strategies, plans and budgets and make them child sensitive.

• Empower children and young people to be environmental stewards and climate change agents, allowing them to realise their potential with full participation.

•  Enable children’s participation in the climate agenda, critical to ensure the future is fit for today’s children and today’s children are fit for the future.

• Provide climate resilience services in health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and protection, so children can survive, develop and thrive.

In Zimbabwe, UNICEF works with Government and partners to ensure children are an essential part of climate change strategies and disaster response plans.

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