Government Urged to Design Child-focused Climate Change Adaptation Plans

Child, Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM)
April 21, 2022

     The government has been called upon to put in place comprehensive climate change adaptation plans that fully account for the plight of children.

     It has also been called upon to step up its financial investment and economic policies to prevent and respond to the effects of climate change on children and young people in the country.

     This was contained in a statement issued by Youth Development and Voice Initiative (YOVI), a non-governmental organisation based in Tamale, signed by Mr. Hussein Rahman, its Executive Director, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Tamale on Wednesday (Government urged to design child-focused climate change adaptation plans   | Ghana News Agency (gna.org.gh).

     This followed YOVI’s participation in the 9th International Policy Conference on Climate Change and Child Rights held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 6-7 September 2022.

     The conference, attended by a number of civil society organisations, child rights experts, academics and high-level United Nations and African Union officials drawn from the African continent, was to among other things underscore the gap in accountability among global and national actors to children in the context of the climate crisis.

     The statement said “Africa is sitting on a climate time-bomb. Across the continent, children and young people – including those not yet born – will suffer the financial, social and environmental costs of the climate crisis for decades, if not centuries to come.”

     It said “One of the paradoxes of the climate crisis is that those, who are primarily responsible for climate change are relatively better insulated from the impact, while those, who have made the least contribution to the crisis, suffering the most.”

     It added that “Africa features at the top of the regions most affected by climate change but it accounts for less than seven percent of total greenhouse gas emissions and its emissions per capita are less than half the global average. Yet, Africa’s children bear the brunt.”

     The statement said “Tackling climate change cannot be left to western countries and governments alone. It is important that African governments also take responsibility to be accountable to the people affected, including children.”

      It emphasised that African governments must develop comprehensive, all-inclusive national adaptation plans (NAPs) and respect “What they have already agreed to contribute to adaptation and mitigation budgets. So far, only 13 countries in Africa have developed and published their NAPs, and very few of them mention children. Only three African countries have funded measures to address climate risks within their investment priorities.”

     It said “For the most part, children are missing from climate change discussions and deliberations – both in Africa and globally. Children’s perspectives are not integrated into NAPs hence the continent lacking in child-centered adaptation plans. This is despite the fact that climate change is primarily an issue of youth.”

     It said “The majority of Africans are under the age of 18, and close to half a billion children in 35 sub-Saharan countries are at risk from the worst impacts of climate change. Despite this, African governments have not given children and young people enough space to influence the climate change agenda. That has to change.”

     The statement, therefore, urged industrialised countries to take serious technical and financial steps to support African countries’ efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change, and to undertake adaption interventions adding “We strongly encourage governments to use existing funds with efficacy and purpose.”

     It said “For Africa and its children, the climate crisis is both an existential threat and an obstacle to development. And as such, it requires a concerted response from all stakeholders. As a civil society organization, YOVI renews its commitment to advocate for stronger climate mitigation and adaptation efforts including public awareness programmes and supporting children to have their voices heard.”      It said “The only way we, as Africans, can redress the prevailing global climate injustice and the gap in government accountability to children is if we act now. As we head towards COP27 in Egypt in November, the voices of Africa’s children and young people must be heard, listened to, and acted on.”

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