Children's Climate Risk Index - Daily Current Affair Article

INTRODUCTION

  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE (FFF) has recently released “The Climate Crisis Is a Child Rights Crisis” report which is the first climate report to combine high-resolution geographic maps detailing global environmental and climate impacts with maps that show regions where children are vulnerable due to an array of stressors, including poverty and lack of access to education, health care or clean water.
  • The report introduces the new Children’s Climate Risk Index (CCRI), a composite index that ranks nations based on
  • children’s exposure to climate shocks,
  • providing the first comprehensive look at how exactly children are affected by the climate crisis,
  • offering a road map for policymakers seeking to prioritise action based on those who are most at risk.
  • Pakistan (14th), Bangladesh (15th), Afghanistan (25th) and India (26th) are among four South Asian countries where children are at extremely high risk of the impacts of the climate crisis.
  • Earlier an analysis, based on Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN) index, had shown the impact of Climate Change on children across the world.

GLOBAL SITUATION

  • Countries like Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau are analysed at maximum vulnerability where the children are at the highest risk.
  • This is due to the acute shortage of even the basic necessities like water, sanitation, health and education and thus, the climate issues affects them deeply in diverse manners.
  • Nearly every child around the world is at risk from at least one of the climate and environmental hazards which are Coastal Flooding, Riverine Flooding, Cyclones, Vector Borne Diseases, Lead Pollution, Heatwaves and Water Scarcity.
  • An estimated 850 million children – 1 in 3 worldwide – live in areas where at least four of these climate and environmental shocks overlap.
  • As many as 330 million children – 1 in 7 worldwide – live in areas affected by at least five major shocks.
  • The children from countries least responsible will suffer most of all due to Greenhouse gas Emissions (GHGs). They are more susceptible and precarious to toxic chemicals, temperature changes and diseases, among other factors.

INDIAN SCENARIO:

  • India is among four South Asian countries where children are most at risk of the impacts of climate change threatening their health, education, and protection.
  • It is estimated that more than 600 million Indians will face ‘acute water shortages’ in the coming years, while at the same time Flash Flooding is to increase significantly in the majority of India’s urban areas once the global temperature increase rises above 2 Celsius.
  • Twenty-one of the world’s 30 cities with the most polluted air in 2020 were in India.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Increase Investment:

  • Increase investment in climate adaptation and resilience for the key services related to children.

Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions:

  • Countries need to reduce their emissions by at least 45% (compared to 2010 levels) by 2030 to limit the temperature rise no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Provide Climate Education:

  • Provide children with climate education and greens skills, critical for their adaptation to and preparation for the effects of climate change.

Include Young People in Decisions:

  • Include young people in all national, regional and international climate negotiations and decisions, including at COP (Conference of the Parties- A climate Convention) 26 (It will be held in Glasgow, UK in November 2021).

Ensure Pandemic Recovery is Inclusive:

  • Ensure the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is green, low-carbon and inclusive, so that the capacity of future generations to address and respond to the climate crisis is not compromised.

ABOUT UNICEF:

  • Formerly known as United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund is special program of UN devoted to aiding national efforts to improve the health, nutrition, education, and general welfare of children.
  • It was created in 1946 to provide relief to children in countries devastated by World War II.
  • It is headquartered in New York City.
  • After 1950, it directed its efforts toward general programs for improvement of children’s welfare, particularly in less-developed countries and various emergency situations.
  • It was awarded Nobel Prize for Peace in 1965
  • Its activities are financed by both government and private contributions.
  • It supports immunization programs for childhood diseases and programs to prevent spread of HIV/AIDS.
  • It also provides funding for health services, educational facilities and other welfare services.

WAY FORWARD

  • Global net man-made emissions of carbon dioxide must be nearly halved by 2030, and reach “net zero” by 2050.
  • More countries need to work towards their commitment in the Convention on the Rights of the Child to ensure every child is protected from any of the social disasters.

Sources

  • Down to Earth
  • Weforum.org
  • UNICEF website
  • The Hindu
General Studies Paper 3
  • Ecology & Environment