01 September 2023

Time to Act: African children in the climate change spotlight

This report highlights the disproportionate impact of climate change on children in Africa, a region that has contributed minimally to global carbon emissions. Drawing on data from the Children’s Climate Risk Index (CCRI) developed by UNICEF, the report emphasizes how children are biologically less equipped to handle the effects of shocks such as water scarcity to vector-borne diseases and flooding, to name just a few - whose frequency and intensity is increasing due to the effects of climate change. The sheds light on how African children face extraordinarily high levels of exposure and vulnerability to climate-related hazards. According to the CCRI, 39 out of 49 African countries for which CCRI data is available, fall under 'extremely high' or 'high' risk categories. In this context, new evidence show that international climate finance does not prioritize children, with only 2.4 per cent of the multilateral climate funds (MCF) allocated to projects that are child-responsive. The report calls on relevant stakeholders to prioritize five key sets of actions: 1) Strengthen climate resilience of essential service systems to protect children and communities; 2) Allocate more domestic and international funding for child-responsive climate programs; 3) Equip children with climate education and green skills; 4) Involve children in decision-making processes; and 5) Reduce carbon emissions globally. Failure to act now, the report warns, not only exacerbates immediate risks but also threatens long-term resilience and contributes to social inequality and political instability.