Photo: Child-centered Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Consortium.
KATHMANDU: The climate crisis is already infringing on the human rights of children and young people in Nepal, according to a new research released today by the Child-centered Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change (CDCC) Consortium.
The research “Impacts of Climate Crisis and Environmental Degradation on Children and Youth in Nepal” explores how climate crises and environmental degradation affect children and young people’s lives in ways that would prevent them from learning and being protected.
The report highlights that the climate crisis has affected children and young people’s right to survive and growth.
Half of those killed or injured by climate hazards in the last 5 years were children and youths.
Among those who receive less food after a climate-induced disaster, nearly two-thirds are children, and a quarter of them are youths.
These impediments lead to stunted growth and prevent children from reaching their full potential, says the report.
Lack of appropriate climate change and environmental policies, practices, knowledge, capacity, technologies, and other resources to adapt and respond at the local and household levels, particularly for children and youth is one of the reasons why children and young people are more vulnerable to the climate crisis, the research highlights.
There are no local government policies related to child and youth development or to support children and youth in climate change adaptation.
This lack of engagement on climate change issues results in low levels of knowledge and awareness among children and youth, especially around possible measures for adaptation.
The report also highlights that girls and young women suffer the impacts of climate crises most acutely.
They are first to receive shifted responsibilities for household labor, reduced portions of food, water, or money when resources are scarce and consequently lose out on education and leisure activities.
They are also likely to be married off when families face financial hardship.
“In our report, children and young people are telling us that the climate crisis is impacting their lives in extremes. We must listen to children and turn this around before it’s too late. We must take immediate actions to address the problems and needs of children stemming from climate change,” says Bishnu Prasad Kharel, the coordinator of the CDCC consortium, consisting of Plan International Nepal, Save the Children, UNICEF and World Vision International.
The report recommends developing and implementing child and youth-centered climate-friendly policies and plans at local levels, allocating adequate financial resources to child- and youth-centered climate change adaptation, ensuring meaningful participation of young people in decision making, and adopting environment sustainability practices that aim to reduce the impact of climate change like promoting safer and green school concepts, climate-adaptive water and sanitation systems, and resilient livelihoods.
The Consortium calls for concrete policies and plans on reducing the impacts of the climate crisis on the household level, especially on children and young people, and to make this planet a safe place for the children.