NAIROBI, Nov 28 (IPS) – A catastrophic increase in the frequency, intensity and severity of extreme weather events has put children on the front lines of climate emergencies. Nearly half of the world’s children, or one billion, live in countries extremely exposed to the effects of the climate crisis. Most of these children face multiple vulnerabilities.
An estimated 80 percent of countries classified as extremely high risk are also classified as least developed countries (LDCs). More than 62 million children, almost a third of the 224 million children affected by the crisis and in need of educational support, are facing the impacts of climate-related events such as floods, storms, droughts and cyclones, which are further intensified by climate change. .
In this context and ahead of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, Education Cannot Wait (ECW), launched today an urgent call for 150 USD. million dollars in new funding to respond to the climate crisis.
“The very future of humanity is at stake. Rising waters, rising temperatures, increasingly severe droughts, floods and natural hazards are derailing development gains and tearing our world apart. As we have seen with floods in Pakistan and drought in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, climate change is causing an increase in forced displacement, violence, food insecurity and economic uncertainty around the world,” said Yasmine Sherif, executive director. The Director of Education can’t wait.
The new call highlights the urgent need to link education action with climate action. New ECW data indicates that 62 million children and adolescents affected by climate shocks are in desperate need of educational support since 2020. This appeal was prepared in November 2023 by the ECW Secretariat on the basis for estimates provided in the organization’s background study, “Futures at Risk.” : Climate-induced shocks and their consequences on the education of children affected by the crisis.
The study builds on the findings and methodology of the latest ECW Global Update, as well as the latest research, and seeks to fill critical knowledge gaps regarding the extent to which change Climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss impact and displace school-age children. on a global scale and influence access to education.
The study results show that over the past five years, more than 91 million school-age children affected by crises have faced climate shocks amplified by climate change. The effects were particularly pronounced in sub-Saharan Africa, affecting 42 million children, and in South Asia, affecting 31 million children. Among the various climatic hazards assessed, droughts appear to be the most serious and persistent, disproportionately affecting children in sub-Saharan Africa.
“The climate crisis is robbing millions of vulnerable girls and boys of their right to learn, their right to play and their right to feel safe. Facing the storm, we urge new and existing donors in the public and private sectors to support them. We call on you to act here and now to address the climate and education crisis,” said Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of the ECW High-Level Steering Group.
Additionally, the Futures at Risk study highlights that children affected by climate hazards are at risk of educational disruption due to forced displacement. Across the 27 crisis-affected countries, where 62 million children have been exposed to climate shocks since 2020, 13 million forced displacements of school-age children have occurred due to floods, droughts and storms .
The 224 million school-age children affected by crises around the world need various forms of educational support. Among them, 31 million children live in countries poorly prepared to deal with the impacts of serious climate-related crises. Droughts, followed closely by floods, are the most frequent climatic shocks, which often intertwine and exacerbate each other.
“Education is a critical part of delivering on the promises and commitments set out in the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Sustainable Development Goals. As all eyes turn to this year’s climate negotiations (COP28) and the Global Refugee Forum, world leaders must combine climate action with educational action,” emphasizes Sherif.
The number of disasters caused, in part, by climate change has increased fivefold over the past 50 years. By 2050, climate impacts could cost the global economy $7.9 trillion and force up to 216 million people to move within their own countries, according to the World Bank. This poses a real and present threat to global security, economic prosperity and efforts to address the potentially deadly impacts of the climate crisis.
Without any mitigation measures, the study shows that the future of millions of children is at risk. Children who are already at risk of dropping out of school are at even higher risk when exposed to crises made worse by climate change and environmental degradation. In sub-Saharan Africa, where climate-related crises are widespread, internally displaced children are 1.7 times more likely to not attend primary school compared to their non-displaced peers.
The study highlights that the impacts of climate change are not gender neutral. Women and girls are disproportionately affected due to pre-existing gender norms. Climate change exacerbates the risks of gender-based violence, school dropouts, food insecurity and child marriage.
The new call presents a strategic value proposition that connects donors, the private sector, governments and other key stakeholders to create a coordinated approach to increase education financing in response to the climate crisis. The new funding aims to ensure continuity of learning by providing mental health and psychosocial support, school rehabilitation and resilience, child protection, gender-based violence prevention and mitigation. risks, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), disaster risk reduction and anticipation and hygiene measures. early action measures.
ECW has championed the right to education for children affected by the global climate crisis. Following devastating floods in Libya, Mozambique and Pakistan and spikes in hunger, forced displacement and violence in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, ECW provided emergency grants to enable children and adolescents to regain the security and opportunities they need. education provides.
As part of existing programs in crisis-affected countries such as Bangladesh, Chad, Nigeria, South Sudan and Syria, ECW investments support climate resilient infrastructure, disaster risk reduction and school meals, providing hope and opportunity in the most difficult circumstances.
Report from the UN IPS Office
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© Inter Press Service (2023) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service