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Environment and climate change

Local action

Addressing the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation at national policy levels

UNICEF protects and advances children’s rights in relation to climate change and environmental degradation at the local level through its network of 130 country offices. 

In order to deliver improved results for children, UNICEF programming at the national level must take into account climate change impacts and the effects of environmental degradation. Through creating sustainable energy production for villages and schools, providing energy efficient and clean cook stoves for families, supporting children and youth climate advocacy efforts, or incorporating disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation efforts in emergency relief efforts, UNICEF works at the national and regional levels to respond to the needs of children in the face of climate change and environmental degradation.

In Bangladesh, UNICEF is helping to provide fuel-efficient cook stoves to 40,000 families to reduce indoor air pollution while slashing emissions with UK corporate partner, Marks & Spencer.  In Bangladesh, indoor air pollution is responsible for 49,000 deaths per year, 70% of which are children under five years old, according to the World Health Organization. Rising sea levels contribute to Bangladesh’s vulnerability to climate change; Bangladesh is one of the world’s most at-risk nations to climate change. Helping families to improve indoor air quality in Bangladesh is protecting children’s lives, while also decreasing its emissions.

In Burundi, UNICEF is providing thousands of families with light through the use of sustainable energy through Project Lumiére. The project enables community groups to purchase pedal-powered generators and LED lights, which, powered by the bicycle-run generator, provides light for a household for up to ten days. In Burundi, one of the world’s most energy-impoverished nations in which only 3% of people have access to energy, access to energy protects child health and safety, reducing harmful emissions from the burning of kerosene and firewood in homes, as well as providing light at night for children to study. UNICEF is protecting children’s lives by providing access to sustainable energy in Burundi.

Promoting youth needs and participation in climate resiliency and environmental degradation at national level

Children must be empowered at the local level to be involved in national policy dialogues and decision-making.

Based on country needs and priorities, UNICEF equips children and youth to participate in policy dialogues, monitoring and reporting on environmental issues and progress, and to take action.

In Zambia, UNICEF’s Unite4Climate programme has trained over 1000 young people to be Climate Ambassadors. Zambia is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change from floods and drought, expected to rise in frequency and intensity due to climate change. From training peers on the causes and potential solutions to climate change, to hosting radio shows on the topic, to creating a model for a floating school in an area of Zambia at-risk to intense flooding, to meeting with leaders on the global stage to explore youth perspectives on climate policy, Unite4Climate Zambia is an innovative model of climate change youth empowerment.



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