How many children globally are at an extremely high risk due to the impacts of the climate crisis, according to Unicef’s 2021 index?
A. 100 million
B. One billion
C. 500 million
D. 750 million
The Unicef report, “The Climate-Changed Child,” highlights a critical and often overlooked aspect of climate change — its severe impact on children. Drawing from Unicef’s 2021 Children’s Climate Risk Index, the report reveals that globally, one billion children are at an extremely high risk due to the climate crisis. Pakistani children are significantly affected, facing a bleak future due to environmental degradation and climate-induced disasters. Water scarcity emerges as a pivotal issue, with 739 million children worldwide experiencing high or extremely high water scarcity, including 436 million in areas of high or extreme water vulnerability. In Pakistan, already grappling with severe water challenges, this data underscores the urgent need for action. Climate change is also disrupting education, a fundamental right, affecting 40 million children annually on a global scale. The vulnerability of children to climate change is heightened by environmental hazards such as pollution, extreme weather, and malnutrition, impacting their developing brains, lungs, and immune systems. Despite this, children’s needs have been largely neglected in climate change responses, with only 2.4% of climate finance allocated to child-focused activities. As COP28 approaches, the article emphasizes the necessity of refocusing climate strategies and policies on children, urging Pakistan and other nations to commit to ensuring a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment for children. This involves integrating children’s needs and rights into the UN’s climate framework, adapting services, and reshaping education systems to withstand climate adversities.