-6.5 million children (0-18 years old) in Zimbabwe are at risk of impact from climate-induced emergencies, UNICEF says.
HARARE, Zimbabwe (CZ) – UNICEF is on a drive to capacitate young Zimbabweans on the impact of climate change on children.
In October 2022, UNICEF launched the Climate, Energy, Environment, and Children Strategy to help guide stakeholders on how to engage children regarding climate change initiatives.
This is because climate change and environmental degradation undermine children’s rights, especially the most disadvantaged.
Children are the least responsible for climate change yet will bear the most significant burden of its impact.
The climate crisis disproportionately impacts children, and every child on earth is exposed to at least one climate and environmental hazard, such as heatwaves, cyclones, air pollution, flooding, and water scarcity.
Globally, nearly half of the world’s one billion children live in high-risk countries.
The 6.5 million children (0-18 years old) in Zimbabwe are at risk of impact from climate-induced emergencies.
Zimbabwe is the 15th most vulnerable country to climate change, based on impacts from 2000-2019.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world has less than ten years to make the transformation necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, hence UNICEF’s involvement.
There is increasing awareness and understanding that efforts to tackle climate change and protect the environment will also benefit human well-being.
Up to two-thirds of preventable illness and death from environmental hazards is experienced by children, predominantly those aged under five years.
Environmental risks such as poor solid waste management, indoor and outdoor air pollution, second-hand smoke, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, and inadequate hygiene and healthcare waste management; cause irreversible and lasting negative impacts on children.
They affect children’s health, education, and future earnings, creating a cycle of inequality that affect generations.
The climate crisis negatively impacts all aspects of adolescent well-being. This includes physical well-being through increased risk of injury, lung disease, infectious disease, and poor nutrition.
UNICEF works to strengthen the capacity and accountability of national systems that are key to the achievement of, community climate change adaptation and resilience, including through climate-resilient and low-emission water, sanitation and hygiene, food, health, social protection, and education infrastructure and services.
This, allows one to effectively respond to the needs of children, modelling improved services at the community level as part of emergency preparedness and response activities.