Action on the climate crisis
The climate crisis is a child rights crisis.
The climate crisis is here and getting worse each year.
The world continues to get warmer at an alarming rate, putting almost every child at risk of more frequent and destructive climate hazards – air pollution, cyclones, disease, flooding, heatwaves and water scarcity.
As these hazards continue to intensify, more children will be harmed; more will die.
Over 1 billion children are at extremely high risk of severe and destructive climate hazards.
These crises will not affect everyone equally. Children will suffer more than adults, with those in the poorest communities bearing the biggest burden.
UNICEF at COP27
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For young people
For policymakers and partners
4 key asks for world leaders
- UNICEF urges leaders and governments to take immediate action to protect children from climate devastation by adapting the critical social services they rely on, such as water, health, nutrition and education. All social services must be climate-sensitive and all climate policies and plans must be child-sensitive.
- To help children prepare for the future, governments must provide them with climate change education, green skills training and opportunities to meaningfully participate and influence climate policy-making.
- Developed countries must deliver on their COP26 commitments to double adaptation funding to US$40bn per year by 2025 at a minimum, as a step to delivering at least US$300bn per year for adaptation by 2030.
- All governments must revisit their national climate plans and cut emissions by at least 45 per cent by 2030 to keep heating to no more than 1.5°C. G20 countries should take the lead.
What needs to happen
Rapid emissions reduction remains the only long term solution, however, because some impacts of climate change are now unavoidable and irreversible, we must immediately save and protect children’s lives by building the resilience of every child and young person to the impacts of this crisis.
UNICEF is calling for:
Governments to PROTECT the health, safety, learning and opportunities of every child by adapting the critical social services they rely on – water and sanitation (WASH), health, education, nutrition, social protection and child protection – so they are resilient to the immediate and expected impacts of climate change.
Governments to PREPARE children and young people to live in a climate-changed world by improving their ‘adaptive capacity’, ensuring their voices are heard and acted on, and their education and skills are enhanced so they can participate in creating a sustainable future.
Governments, businesses and decision makers to PRIORITIZE children and young people in climate funding and resources. Adaptation and resilience building remains critically underfunded and under resourced yet saves and protects lives.
For youth: Get inspired, share and act
To address the climate crisis, everyone needs to understand why it is happening and what can be done to defend against its impacts. Use these resources to introduce yourself to climate change and invite your friends, family and school to join in.
Join the community
Express your views and support for the issues that matter to you on Voices of Youth - UNICEF's digital community for youth, by youth.
For policymakers, researchers and partners
Did you know that the world has already warmed by approximately 1.1C since the 19th century? The years 2015–2021 were the warmest on record.
The world’s children are now more than ever vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate hazards.
With 4.2 billion children expected to be born over the next 30 years, there is an urgent need for action.
Addressing climate change requires international policy action. Addressing water security requires regional and national policy action. By linking climate and water, we can create new pathways to address climate change at a regional and national level.
Climate action around the world
UNICEF works tirelessly to protect children from the effects of climate change. We work at all levels including with governments to highlight and address the impact of climate change on children.