Children in the context of climate change: A large and vulnerable population

It is generally acknowledged that low-income countries and poor communities worldwide are most seriously at risk from the probable impacts of climate change. This is not because climate change will necessarily be more extreme in these places (although this will often be the case 1), but because people, their enterprises and the places they occupy are so much more vulnerable in the context of poverty. These people are less well served by protective infrastructure and services, less able to adapt and prepare for extreme weather events and are often more dependent on local cli- mate-sensitive resources. In urban areas especially, poor people frequently occupy the most risk-prone areas. Among these vulnerable populations, children, and, par- ticularly, very young children, are especially at risk for a number of reasons, which will be discussed later in this chapter. The fact that children in poor countries and communities also tend to make up a very large part of the population only serves to heighten the concern. In order to be most effective, measures taken to adapt to climate change must take into account the disproportionate and often different ways in which children can be affected, bearing in mind not only their substantial presence and their vulnerability, but also their potential resilience, with adequate support, and their capacity to contribute actively to adaptation measures.

Title: Children in the context of climate change: A large and vulnerable population

Author(s): Sheridan Bartlett

Publication year: 2009

Publisher: UNFPA and IIED