Global Resources

The challenges of climate change: children on the front line

Publisher: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
Publication Date: Jan 2014

UNICEF ebook on the challenges of climate change facing children around the world.

Representing 30 per cent of the global population, children are the largest, and most vulnerable, group of people currently affected by climate change. Not only that, but children represent the generation that must grow up dealing with the future impacts of climate change, and deliver the deep cuts to carbon emissions required in the coming decades. This ebook published by UNICEF brings together the knowledge and opinions of forty contributors - scientists, development workers, and experts in health, nutrition, and children’s rights - to try and build a clear picture of what climate change means for children both today, and in the future.

Section one introduces the reality of climate change, explaining what is happening to the climate, and discussing the present and future climate realities for children. The impacts of climate change on children is explored in more depth in section two, looking at health risks, the need to change agricultural and food systems, and mitigating the impacts of environmentally driven migration on children. Section three concerns adaptation and children, asserting the need for a children-centred approach to adaptation. Urban and disaster risk reduction contexts are also covered in this section.

Child rights and climate change is the topic of section four, including inter-generational justice, and some critical thoughts on casting a gender lens on children in climate change. Section five discusses child participation and climate change, such as partnering with young innovators, engaging youth in games for learning about climate risks, opportunities for child empowerment through participation at United Nations climate conferences, and engaging children in the African climate change discourse. Finally, ‘Where Next?’ is the title of the concluding section, with contributions on the latest scientific verdict on climate change, and inequality, climate change, and children’s development.