Are climate change policies child-sensitive?

A guide for action

Mother and children stand near area polluted by plastic waste


The scientific community has sounded the alarm. Climate change is a global emergency and we have little more than a decade to undertake the urgent and unprecedented action required to limit global temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Beyond that time, the risks of deadly drought, flooding, heatwaves, extreme weather and poverty will significantly worsen for hundreds of millions of people.

Children will continue to suffer the most under the impacts of climate change. However, despite the many ways climate change impacts them, children are consistently overlooked in the design and content of climate policies and related processes.

In order to overcome this lapse, this report assesses the current landscape of national climate change policies and plans and the degree to which these are child-sensitive. It provides recommendations on how to strengthen the focus on children’s rights, including actionable and measurable results for children. To that end, UNICEF analyzed 160 NDCs and 13 NAPs comprising a quantitative and qualitative assessment.

The key principles and approaches identified in this paper provide guidance to decision-makers and others involved in determining climate policies on the steps required to ensure that these policies are child-sensitive and contribute to urgent efforts to tackle the climate crisis. This is especially relevant this year as countries update or revise their Nationally Determined Contributions, ensuring no child is left behind.

Are Climate Change Policies Child-Sensitive?: A guide for action (summary)
Joni Pegram, Cristina Colon
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