Environment and Climate
Climate change and environmental degradation undermine the rights of every child
The climate crisis is a child rights crisis.
Children bear the heaviest burden of the mounting climate crisis now and in the long-term while being the least empowered in climate and environmental policymaking and strategies.
In Malaysia, accelerated climate change and environmental degradation present serious risks for children, especially from marginalised communities. According to UNICEF’s Climate Change Risk Index, Malaysia ranks 61st place on least performing countries where children are most at risk as projected impacts of climate change rise. 9 out of 10 youth in Malaysia were also found to have experienced climate and environment-related effects, based on findings from the National Youth Climate Change Survey Malaysia conducted by UNICEF and UNDP. From floods and vector-borne diseases to worsening air quality and improper disposal of hazardous wastes, children and all young people will bear the brunt of the impacts, with consequences seen in terms of health and well-being, education, and future income.
Based on the ‘Impact of Climate Change on Children: A Malaysian Perspective’ Report produced by UNICEF, UKM, and UMS, not all aspects of children’s rights have been adequately considered in Malaysia’s governance framework on climate and environment. While all children and young people are impacted by climate change, those living in marginalised communities are more vulnerable to climate and environmental risks. Impacts of climate change on children also vary according to gender, with girls being more vulnerable than boys.
Children and young people in Malaysia are actively taking climate action to protect their surroundings and home from climate change. Together with UNICEF, children and young people join hands to call on policymakers and governments to lead the change towards a safer, cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable environment and future.
The realisation of child rights and the Sustainable Development Goals are contingent on the protection of child rights in climate change. Towards this goal, UNICEF is committed to achieving the societal transformation necessary for children to live in a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment.
UNICEF Malaysia’s Climate and Environment Programme aims to support the government, young people, and private sector partners to develop and accelerate the implementation of child-centered climate, environmental, and disaster risk recovery policies and actions in Malaysia.
UNICEF’s climate and environmental sustainability strategy is structured around four main pillars:
1. Evidence generation by implementing thought leadership initiatives on understanding environmental and climate change impacts on children in Malaysia.
2. Child-sensitive climate policies and plans by ensuring that climate change and environmental risks and opportunities that affect children’s rights, development and well-being are integrated into key policies, planning and budgeting systems.
3. Climate awareness and education by increasing awareness, education and positive behaviour among communities, young people, governments, private sectors, civil society organisations and other stakeholders on climate adaptation and mitigation.
4. Innovation and youth participation in climate action by designing, piloting, and scaling up innovative climate actions through close engagement with young people, the public, private sectors, academia and others.