This report aims to draw the attention of the international community to the specific risks faced by children in developing countries due to climate variability and extremes, thus making it harder to achieve the child – related MDGs. It analyses the impacts of climate change upon children, and their role in mitigation and adaptation strategies. The report argues that children need to be mainstreamed into larger debates on climate change, hazards and vulnerabilities.It begins with an overview of the linkages between climate change and sustainable development, which is threatened by the increasing frequency of hazardous weather and the inability of the poor and most vulnerable to adapt to climate variability and extremes. Secondly, it documents and analyses the adverse effects of climate change with particular emphasis on MDGs relating to children: child health and survival, education and gender equality, emergencies and child protection. In tackling the drivers and impacts of climate change, it argues that there is unique collective responsibility towards children who have been born into a world created by adults. The report calls on the UK government to:
mitigate - reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 80% against 1990 levels by 2050, especially in UK’s share of emissions in international aviation and shipping
adapt - create an alternative approach to development as an adaptive response to climate change, as emphasised by the Stern Report, World Bank and the IPCC, and encourage UK companies and individuals to support funding for vulnerable communities to adapt to the impact of climate change
introduce impacts on children as important criteria for assessment in the climate screening of investments, review aid modalities and direct budget support, and also work with partner governments in developing countries to mainstream impacts on children in climate change policy.
Finally, the paper advocates empowering children to be actors in the climate change agenda, rather than as just observers or victims. To this end, it makes the following recommendations:
to ensure children’s participation in the development of key documents such as Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), Country Assistance Plans and National Adaptation Programmes of Action
to prioritise research on how climate change affects children across the world, and how children can and do contribute as agents of change on climate change adaptation and mitigation objectives.