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Climate summit: Children’s needs not captured in Nairobi declaration, says charity

Climate summit: Children’s needs not captured in Nairobi declaration, says charity
September 09
07:02 2023

Save the Children International (SCI), the charity organisation, says African leaders must do more to secure the future of 650 million children across the continent.

In a statement on  Friday, the organisation said the just concluded Africa Climate Summit (ACS) which was held in Nairobi, Kenya failed to prioritise children.

SCI added that the summit did not adequately address the needs of children in decisions around sustainable development, climate financing, and loss and damage.

The organisation said children across the continent attended the summit to make their voices heard.

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The charity said issues affecting children were yet to be reflected in the African leaders’ Nairobi declaration on climate change which is meant to serve as a basis for the continent’s common position at the COP28 global summit in the UAE later this year. 

“Leaders must also work harder to push high-income countries and historical emitters to honour their financial commitments and allocate adequate funding to support communities across Africa, a continent that contributes the smallest share of greenhouse gas emissions of all the world’s regions,” the statement reads.

“It is crucial for such a gathering to prioritize child-responsive climate financing and enhance support for children, including through the reinforcement of social protection systems.

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“By failing to seize this chance, we run the risk of further exacerbating the challenges faced by children and communities disproportionately affected by climate change.

“We urge African governments to recognize all children as key agents of change in addressing the climate crisis.” 

Yvonne Arunga, Save the Children Country Director in Kenya, said it is the duty of the government to rise to the challenge of climate crisis.

“While it is commendable that the Summit provided space for children to participate and also present their declaration to leaders, tackling the climate crisis requires bold policy decisions,” Arunga said.

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“Making them is not a choice, it is a necessity and governments have particular obligations to act under the international human and child rights frameworks.”

Kijala Shako, head of advocacy, communications, campaigns and media for Save the Children’s East and Southern Africa, said that the summit failed to consider children in decisions around climate financing.

“The African Climate Summit missed a significant opportunity to adopt and implement national policies that address the climate crisis and its impacts including food insecurity, climate-induced conflicts, displacement and loss of lives across Africa – in turn pushing stable, healthy futures further out of reach for the 650 million children across the continent,” Shako said.

“It is disappointing that African governments did not prioritise wealth redistribution policies by taxing wealthier companies and members of society further to support and invest in children most affected by inequality and discrimination and who are at the sharp end of the impacts of the climate crisis.”

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A recent report by the organisation found that only 2.4 percent of key global financing funds can be classified as supporting child-responsive activities.

Vishna Shah, director of advocacy, communications, campaigns and media for Save the Children’s West and Central Africa Regional Office, said it was crucial for such a gathering to prioritize child-responsive climate financing and enhance support for children, including through the reinforcement of social protection systems.

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“By failing to seize this chance, we run the risk of further exacerbating the challenges faced by children and communities disproportionately affected by climate change,” Shah said.

“We urge African governments to recognize all children as key agents of change in addressing the climate crisis.”

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