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Children uprooted in a changing climate: Turning challenges into opportunities with and for young people
This brief aims to spark conversation on the critical connection between climate, mobility and childhood – and its implications for policy and investment. By looking at current knowledge, where the worst impacts of climate change, fragility and conflict overlap, and where child mobility is both a consequence and a coping strategy, a clearer picture is obtained of how mobility can be leveraged to turn these challenges into opportunities – with and for children and young people uprooted from their homes. The brief was presented at a pre-COP26 event organized jointly by UNICEF, the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth.
This report notes the extensive climate risks for children, particularly heatwaves, cyclones, riverine flooding, droughts, and other climate stresses. In response to these risks, governments must commit to preventing and minimizing the risk of displacement in the context of climate change which entails taking ambitious action to reduce global emissions and pollution to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Inclusive services and systems for children and young people who move must also be strengthened and take measures to keep essential services running after disaster strikes. Preparing for climate mobility and ensuring safe migration must be an option for children and families affected by climate change, before they become displaced. Finally, stakeholders must partner with young people uprooted and give children and young people on the move a seat at the table in climate change processes at all levels, with specific efforts to engage the most vulnerable.