Environment and Climate Change
Climate change and environmental degradation undermine the rights of every child
The climate crisis is a child rights crisis. Climate change and environmental degradation are affecting the fundamental rights of every child and can erase much of the gains we have made on child health and well-being so far.
Children in East Asia and the Pacific are faced with multiple challenges posed by the climate crisis, environmental degradation and rising inequity.
This region is responsible for an increasingly large share of global greenhouse gas emissions, as it is home to fast-growing economies with high resource intensity and polluting industries. 92% of people are exposed to levels of harmful air pollution, a leading environmental cause of death and illness in the region. About 26.6 million babies in the region are estimated to live in areas with polluted air.
The effects of the climate crisis are already being felt in East Asia and the Pacific. The region is one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The scientific evidence is clear: the frequency, intensity and duration of climate-related extreme events and the slow onset changes such as sea-level rise will only escalate if the current path of inaction continues, affecting, in particular, the most vulnerable and marginalized children. Children and adolescents around the region are aware of it and are desperately calling for action.
UNICEF is committed to tackling the climate and environmental crisis in partnership with public, private, civil society and children/youth partners. UNICEF actions are structured around the following four areas of work, with a focus on most vulnerable and marginalized children in the region:
- Reducing the vulnerability of children, families and their communities to the current and projected impacts of climate change;
- Improving climate resilience of social services that are critical for children’s health, education, nutrition and well-being;
- Limiting anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and pollution, while delivering co-benefits on children’s health, nutrition, education and water& sanitation rights
- Integrating children’s needs and perspectives into climate change policies, finance and interventions through empowerment and participation of children and adolescents in climate actions