05 October 2023

Climate Change Impact on Adolescent Girls

UNICEF and Karama recognize that there is no child sensitive climate action without explicitly focusing on girls.   Climate change is not gender neutral, rather it amplifies already existing gender inequalities with the most marginalized communities experiencing the greatest impacts. For example: Girls’ household responsibilities and distance to school in increasingly harsh conditions challenges their access to learning. The lack of water and sanitation services may affect girls and adolescent  girls’ reproductive health, with a potential negative impact on their psychosocial and well-being, In some contexts, risks associated with climate change exacerbate possibility of gender-based violence, including child marriage which is reported as a negative coping mechanism due to climate change induced economic insecurity. Indeed, the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance, notes that gender-based violence is prevalent where there is both conflict and risk of experiencing extreme weather events, for example in Yemen. Climate change may also increase food insecurity thereby contributing to high anemia rates for adolescent girls. In 2022, UNICEF in partnership with Karama and the Wa’ed Network of adolescent girls supported the development of a Technical Cohort to Advance Adolescent Girls and Young Women’s Leadership in Climate Change. The Technical Cohort consists of members Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Yemen, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and UAE, representing over 25 different girl-led community initiatives and organizations. This Advocacy Brief is is developed through the Technical Cohort to Advance Adolescent Girls and Young Women’s Leadership in Climate Change, with support from Karama, UNICEF Middle East and North Africa Regional Office Gender Section to amplify the key messages and recommendations from adolescent girls and young women across the region. We call upon key stakeholders to:   PROTECT GIRLS BY ADAPTING THE SOCIAL SERVICES THEY RELY ON Increase climate adaptation finance for social services and ensure girls’, adolescent girls’, and young women’s access to vital social services in health, nutrition, and education, by recognizing gendered considerations and barriers noted in this Brief. Prevent gender-based violence, including child marriage, in the context of climate change by increasing services for timely and confidential response. The Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls highlighted the relationship between climate change and increased gender-based violence, and calls for robust gender approaches to monitor and evaluate climate mitigation, adaptation, and disaster risk reduction policies. Set up measure to implement the CRC General Comment 26 guidance related to the right of all children to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as well as gender responsive education, environmental complaints mechanism and adaptation measures. Ensure girls’ gain skills for 21st century green jobs and climate platforms through adequate education including climate resilient education integrating indigenous and cultural knowledge, within the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This includes ensuring that any developed or adapted climate/environment/DRR curricula is gender-responsive with a specific gender module.   PREPARE GIRLS BY IMPROVING THEIR CAPACITIES AND ENSURING THEIR VOICES ARE HEARD Ensure girls’, adolescent girls’ and young women’s agency in climate change advocacy by amplifying their voices and opportunity to inform climate change policies in order to frame a gender equal just transition, including the NDC and NAP. COP28 and COY offers an opportunity for intentional participation by girls, adolescent girls and young women in climate decision making, for example through defining the Glasgow Work Programme on Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE). Enable adolescent girls’ and young women’s leadership and active role to design community-based adaptation and mitigation responses, for example by aligning in intergenerational dialogue with women’s organisations, adapting indigenous technology and supporting peer-to-peer awareness raising and active engagement. Girls, adolescent girls and young women and their locally led organizations should be recognized as active participants in decision-making on loss and damage, including as agents and rights-holders in decision-making processes on loss and damage. PRIORITIZE GIRLS IN CLIMATE FUNDING, POLICIES AND RESOURCE ALLOCATION Accelerate the Global Goal of Adaptation by promoting and scale-up female-led and gender responsive adaptation strategies, vital traditional knowledge and indigenous technologies and investing in strategies on sound water usage and fisheries management, traditional composting/recycling practices as well female land stewardship for reforestation and agriculture via planting native seeds. Ensure the Global Stocktake (GST) address the unique and heightened vulnerabilities of girls, adolescent girls and young women to climate change impacts and amplify the perspectives and solutions from girls-led organisations. Address intergenerational inequity via the development of the Loss and Damage facilities to unlock greater funds to protect marginalized and vulnerable girls, adolescent girls, and young women in MENA, in all their diversity, by addressing gendered unequal access to resources and decision-making. National climate change policies, including NAPs and NDC’s, should promote gender-responsive energy approaches to facilitate a Just Transition, including integrate women and girls’ experiences, expertise, decision making and meaningful participation for local governance. Expand and replicate girl-developed platforms and networks, such as the Wa’ed network, through programmes and policies to support community-based climate change strategies as well that tap young women and girl-led innovations via creating opportunities for young women to engage in private sector initiatives to address climate change, and a just energy transition, including in leadership positions.
05 October 2023

Growing Up in a Changing Climate

Coming soon   The world has already warmed by 1.2° Celsius (C) compared to pre-industrial levels and greenhouse gas emissions are at record levels and still climbing. On our current trajectory, the increase in global average temperature will rise to 2.7°C by the end of the century. Climate change impacts in the MENA region will inevitably increase as the capacity of human and natural systems to adapt fails to keep pace. Climate change disproportionately impacts children. Children and youth account for nearly half of MENA’s population, with adolescents making up 26 per cent of the population.  Climate change exacerbates threats that are already significant in the MENA region. Armed conflict, socio-political unrest and instability, poor environmental management and massive forced human movement can all increase the vulnerability of children in an uncertain climatic future. Between 2016 –2021, there were an estimated 1.1 million child displacements across the region due to weather-related events (e.g., floods, storms, droughts and wildfires) which are exacerbated by climate change.  Key messages contained in this report include:  In the MENA region, climate change is raising temperatures at a faster rate than the global average.  More than 82 million children in MENA face either high or extremely high climate risks.  Climate change will result in increased heatwaves, vector-borne and other infectious disease morbidity and mortality , water stress, and air and water pollution.  Children are more vulnerable than adults to climate events, both physiologically and psychologically.  Children across the MENA region are affected by extreme weather events including, droughts and floods that result in displacement, food scarcity and a myriad of challenges facing their families.  Migrant and displaced children are at heightened risks of dropping-out of school, exploitation, child trafficking and abuse.  Achieving long-term, regional success for children requires coherent climate policy and action across the region. Iterative and ‘no regrets’ risk-informed approaches are needed to address emerging and novel risks, the scope and scale of which are unprecedented in human history. Establishing child-critical services and systems (health, education, child protection and social protection) that are shock-resistant, portable and inclusive will be critical. Effective early warning systems coupled with multisectoral disaster preparedness actions will be required to ensure effective response to climate shocks. Finally—and crucially—children and youth must be empowered to contribute to the solutions that will help them survive and thrive.  Children have the right to inherit a world that they can prosper in. The climate crisis is an existential threat that we hand to the children of today (and future generations) – who have made the least contribution to the climate crisis, and often have the least say in how it is mitigated and managed.  Immediate action needs to be taken to protect child rights and ensure their healthy development. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) urges governments, donors, development partners and the private sector to take the following actions:  Protect children and their environment by adapting critical services that children rely on and strive to ensure clean air and non-exposure to pollutants that are dangerous for their health.;  Build on the region’s young population, providing them with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to move the climate change agenda forward, for the transition to a climate resilient future.  Conduct specific research on the impact of climate change on children.
06 June 2023

Talking to your child about climate change

Climate change is happening and nearly every child in the world will be affected. Talking about climate change with our own children can feel hard for many parents. It’s natural to want to protect kids from harm and worry. But if your child is a certain age, chances are they are already hearing about climate change, whether at school, online or…, 1. Do your homework, No one has all the answers about climate change and it’s okay if you don’t either. There are many reliable resources available online including talks, videos and articles that can help you brush up on the science. NASA has some great child-friendly resources on the topic. Speak with other parents to find out how they approach the topic with their…, 2. Listen, To start the conversation about climate change with your child, find out what they already know and how they feel about the topic. You might be surprised by how much your child already knows and can express. Use it as a chance to listen to their fears and hopes for the planet. Give them your full attention and don’t dismiss or try to minimize any…, 3. Use simple science, You know your child best, so make sure the information is appropriate for them. A good starting point can be to find ways to relate climate change to their daily lives and explore the basic facts together. For example: “Humans are burning fossil fuels like coal and oil to run cars, fly planes and light homes. These all release greenhouse gases…, 4. Go outside!, Try to expose your child to nature as much as possible. Encouraging them to play outside helps nurture their enjoyment of and respect for nature. When you’re outside together pause and point out interesting sights, whether it’s a tree, a cloud, a cobweb or a bird. The simple act of slowing down and taking the time to appreciate nature can help…, 5. Focus on solutions, For every problem you discuss, try to show a solution. Explore with your child examples of people who are working on ways to address climate change. Discuss positive and inspiring stories you see on the news or in your own community. Talk about what steps you are taking as a family, such as reducing waste in your home, saving water, recycling, or…, 6. Empower action, Young people around the world are taking climate action into their own hands and to the doorstep of governments . Others are building new ways to use energy more efficiently, sharing solutions on social media and walking in weekly climate marches. Let your child know that many young people are standing up for our planet and they can too. If they…