Climate proof children: Putting the child first in climate finance

Climate change is an urgent challenge for the world’s
children. It is estimated that over the next decade,
approximately 175 million children a year will be
affected by climate-related disasters.1 Children are the
least responsible for the causes of climate change and
yet are the most vulnerable to its impacts. Climate
change presents numerous challenges to child
development: increased child malnutrition through
changing agricultural yields; greater risk of disease and
death through the higher frequency and intensity of
natural disasters; and the disruption of education due
to natural disasters and forced migration.
Increasing the money available to deal with climate
change is, therefore, both urgent and necessary. It
will provide the resources to protect children from the
worst impacts of climate change through adaptation,
and will also ensure a safer future for all generations
through low carbon development.
The international community, and in particular
developed countries, have recognised this need.
At the Copenhagen Climate Summit (COP 15) in
December 2009, developed countries agreed to
provide ‘new and additional climate finance’ that
must reach $100 billion per year by 2020. This will be
allocated, in equal measures, for climate adaptation
in countries most vulnerable to the impacts of
change, and for low carbon development in emerging
economies to help provide a long-term sustainable
path to development.
It is vital that developed countries commit a sufficient
amount to the collective goal of $100 billion a year,
and that this money be sourced from new, innovative
finance mechanisms. Currently, developed countries
have made no movement or progress towards
these goals. UNICEF UK’s recently published
report The $100 billion question explores what the
UK Government should do to mobilise long-term
climate finance for the world’s children to have a
climate-resilient future. Mobilising climate finance
and making sure that it is both new and additional
is, however, only one part of providing a safer future
for all children. Long-term climate finance must be
distributed and targeted in such a way that those
most vulnerable, such as children, have adequate
programming in place to cope with the growing
impacts of climate change.

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