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UNICEF: Africa’s Vulnerable Children On Frontlines Of Climate Change Risks



UNICEF: Africa’s Vulnerable Children On Frontlines Of Climate Change Risks

They are physiologically more susceptible to the harmful effects of toxic substances like lead and various forms of pollution.

The United Nations declared on Friday that children in Africa face some of the greatest threats from climate change impacts, yet they are tragically overlooked by the crucial financial support needed for their adaptation, survival, and response to the crisis.

A recent report by UNICEF, the children’s agency, reveals that children in 48 out of the 49 African nations studied are classified as being at a high or extremely high risk from the effects of climate change. This assessment is based on their exposure to climate-related and environmental disasters such as cyclones and heatwaves, as well as their vulnerability to these events, which is influenced by their access to essential services.

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Despite being home to countries that contribute the least to carbon emissions, Africa bears a disproportionate burden of droughts, floods, storms, and heat waves.

“The water stress that the continent is living is estimated to affect 250 million people in Africa at any given time,” said Bruno Pozzi, Deputy Director, the Ecosystems Division United Nations Environment Programme.

“So considering, I don’t have the latest statistics, but with roughly one billion people on the continent, this means one out of four on the continent is affected directly by this water stress and the effect of climate change.”

The UNICEF report was released just days ahead of the inaugural Africa Climate Summit, scheduled to take place in Nairobi, Kenya next week.

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According to the UN agency, a mere fraction—less than three percent—of the worldwide funding dedicated to combating climate change is allocated toward addressing the specific needs of children. They have emphasized the urgent need for greater action in this regard, particularly calling upon the private sector to step up its efforts.

“More efforts, therefore, are needed locally and internationally to support adaptation to climate change, to invest in climate solutions,” said Pozzi.

“There is really an opportunity with the summit that takes place this week and next to accelerate action, to really deliver the financial commitments that have been made since years so that we can build this rapid and essential impact needed in the next decade.”

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UNICEF has highlighted that children possess reduced physical resilience, leaving them less capable of enduring and surviving various hazards such as floods, droughts, storms, and heatwaves. Furthermore, they are physiologically more susceptible to the harmful effects of toxic substances like lead and various forms of pollution.

The UN agency’s research has pinpointed that children in the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Guinea, Somalia, and Guinea-Bissau bear the brunt of these vulnerabilities, experiencing the most significant impacts.

Buhari Olanrewaju Ahmed, a seasoned investigative journalist and climate/environmental reporter with a decade of experience, unravels complex issues and amplifies critical voices. His in-depth investigative work and insightful reporting have earned him recognition as a trusted source of information. Ahmed's unwavering commitment to journalism and exceptional storytelling prowess make him a standout figure in investigative journalism. His work drives meaningful conversations, influences policy decisions, and inspires collective efforts toward a sustainable future.

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