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Prioritizing the needs of children in a changing climate
Anthropogenic climate change is predicted to increase the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events (e.g., floods, droughts, and heat waves) that trigger humanitarian disasters or other emergencies and that could exacerbate a wide range of environmental exposures that directly and indirectly affect children.
This document provides a brief overview of the impact of climate change-related disasters on children. It also offers recommendations for addressing these challenges. First, an international consortium of experts should be established, ideally by WHO and UNICEF, to develop adoptable medical and behavioral protocols and to set research agendas to identify and address the unmet specific needs of children. Second, the development of best practice guidelines for climate-change–related event planning is required incorporating strategies for addressing the health and care of children. Finally, funding mechanisms that are designed to help the most vulnerable countries prepare for and respond to climate-related disasters are required, and these mechanisms must consider the development of responses that specifically address the unmet needs of children’s health.