Climate change affects children most, rights experts warn

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The UN Human RIghts Council in Geneva, where Member States and non-government organizations discussed the threats posed by climate change. Photo: UN Photo/Jess Hoffman

Climate change poses "an existential threat" to children, the UN Human Rights Council has heard.

At a discussion in Geneva, Member States and rights experts warned that climate change jeopardized youngster's access to food and water, as well as to health and education.

Solutions should involve low-emission projects to promote sustainable development, the Council heard.

Daniel Johnson has more.

The deadly impact of climate change on children took centre stage at the Human Rights Council, which heard that food crises it causes could claim the lives of an additional 95,000 youngsters by 2030 – an estimate from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Speakers highlighted how the most vulnerable children – the poor, those with disabilities, indigenous children and girls – are most at risk from changing weather patterns.

The Deputy Permanent Representative of the Philippines, Maria Teresa Almojuela, said that the issue was "deeply important" to her country, as it was among the most at risk.

From 1995 to 2015 the Philippines had been affected by more than 270 natural emergencies which also affect more than 250 million people a year around the world, Ms Almojuela said:

"The scientific community has warned us that climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of natural disasters in countries like the Philippines. This will put more people at risk."

Peggy Hicks, from the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, told the Council that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals agenda called on governments to take action on the issue.

She also highlighted that those countries and consumers who had contributed most to climate change should do most to address it.

And she added that rather than children be seen as something to protected, they should be empowered through education to cope with the challenges the changing environment presents.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1’30″


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