The UN warns of the situation of children in Africa who “suffer the brunt” of climate change

Children on the African continent are “bearing the full brunt” of the consequences of climate change but remain “cruelly” neglected by funding intended to respond to the climate crisis, the United Nations lamented on Friday.

Africa, a continent of 1.2 billion inhabitants, is home to some of the countries in the world that emit the least greenhouse gases, but it is on the front line of extreme weather events (recurrent droughts, floods, cyclones, waves heat).

“Physiological vulnerability” and “insufficient access”

According to a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, released on Friday, children in 48 of the 49 African countries assessed fall into the “high or extremely high risk” category of suffering the impacts of climate change.

“It is clear that the youngest populations of the African continent are bearing the full brunt of the effects of climate change,” said Lieke van de Wiel, UNICEF’s deputy director for the East and Southern Africa region.

“They are the least able to cope, due to their physiological vulnerability and insufficient access to essential social services.”

Yet, notes UNICEF, the continent’s children “remain grossly neglected by the main flows of climate finance needed to help them adapt, survive and respond to the climate crisis”. Children in Nigeria, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Central African Republic and Somalia are most at risk, according to the organization.

Call for increased funding from the private sector

Unicef ​​points out in its report that less than 3% of global funding for the fight against climate change targets children, calling for an increase in this funding, particularly from the private sector.

“We need to focus more funding on this group, so that it is equipped to deal with climate change throughout its life,” pleaded Lieke van de Wiel.

This report is published a few days before the first “African Climate Summit” which will begin on Monday in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

The summit will kick off the busiest four months of the year for international climate negotiations, culminating in a battle over ending fossil fuels at COP28 in Dubai in December.

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