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African Children are Most Vulnerable to Climate Change, UNICEF Reports

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

A fresh report released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on Friday, underscored a stark revelation: children in 48 out of 49 African countries assessed are at high or extremely high risk of being directly affected by the impacts of climate change. This alarming disclosure comes ahead of the first-ever Africa Climate Summit scheduled to be held in Nairobi, Kenya next week.

The report analyzed countries on the basis of children’s exposure to climate and environmental shocks, including cyclones and heatwaves, in addition to their susceptibility in relation to access to essential services. Bruno Pozzi, Deputy Director of the Ecosystems Division at United Nations Environment Programme, shed light on water stress, stating," The effect of climate change results in water stress that impacts 250 million people in Africa at any given time."

Ironically, Africa, which contributes minimally to global carbon emissions, bears a disproportionate brunt of the escalating climate debacle, grappling with widespread droughts, flooding, storms, and heatwaves.

UNICEF revealed that a meagre fraction, less than three per cent, of global funding designated to climate change, is directed towards children. The UN agency has called for amplified efforts, particularly from the private sector, to support local and international measures to adapt to climate change.

The report indicates that due to physiological and physical vulnerabilities, children are unable to withstand and survive hazards such as floods, droughts, storms, and heatwaves. They are also more susceptible to toxic substances such as lead and other forms of pollution.

Culminating the report, UNICEF identified children in the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Guinea, Somalia, and Guinea-Bissau as the most impacted by climate change.

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