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UNICEF: Climate change causing many African youths to reconsider having children

UNICEF: Climate change causing many African youths to reconsider having children
November 10
16:46 2022

Climate change is influencing many young Africans on plans to have children, a global poll by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has found.

Over 200,00 young people from 163 countries participated in the UNICEF U-Report poll between July and August 2022.

U-Report is a UNICEF digital platform that supports youth engagement in programme priorities, emergency response, and advocacy.   

The results were published on Wednesday at the COP27 climate conference taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.  

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Through the poll, young people were asked questions relating to their attitudes about climate change.

“Globally, two in five said climate impacts have made them reconsider their desire to have children,” the report reads.

“Concern was highest in African regions, where nearly half of respondents said they were now on the fence.  

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“The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) accounted for 44 percent, while in Sub-Saharan Africa, it was 43 percent.”

According to the report, young people in these two regions experienced a range of climate shocks which was more than other respondents globally.

The report added that these shocks impacted their access to food and water, and depleted family income overall. 

“The impacts of climate change are with us now, but they are far more than floods, droughts, and heatwaves. They extend to our very sense of hope,” Paloma Escudero, head of UNICEF’s COP27 delegation, said.  

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“Especially in Africa, young people are seeing the impact these shocks are having on themselves and those they love, and it is changing their plans for the future. But it doesn’t have to. At COP27, world leaders must listen to this anxiety from young people and take immediate action to protect them.

“This survey makes it clear young people’s futures are up in the air – whether they have children, whether they leave their countries, how well they survive the dangers they face.

“For their sake, success at COP27 must be measured by the delivery of long-promised financing to help communities adapt and the development of solutions to respond to loss and damage.” 

Last year, The Lancet, a medical journal, published a global survey on climate change and found that nearly 40 percent of the 10,000 respondents were hesitant to have children. 

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Other findings from the U-Report poll include that over half of the respondents said they have experienced either drought or extreme heat, while a quarter have experienced flooding. 

Two in five mentioned that they had less food to eat due to climate change — 52 percent were in sub-Saharan Africa, followed by Middle East and North Africa at 31 percent.

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Speaking on the report in a tweet, UNICEF called for urgent action to build resilience among young people and pave the way to a better and more sustainable world for all.

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