Children at extreme risk of the impacts of climate emergency

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A report that examines the impact of climate change on children and predicts how and where young people are most at risk has been released by an international team including Data for Children Collaborative.

A new report, published by UNICEF, finds approximately 1 billion children – nearly half the world’s 2.2 billion children – live in one of the 33 countries classified as “extremely high-risk”.

These children face a deadly combination of exposure to multiple climate and environmental shocks with a high vulnerability due to inadequate essential services, such as water and sanitation, healthcare and education. The findings reflect the number of children impacted today – figures likely to get worse as the impacts of climate change accelerate.

First comprehensive index of risk to children

A collaborative team including the Data for Children Collaborative (DCC), based at Edinburgh Futures Institute, is behind the report. The DCC supported UNICEF in the creation of the publication of ‘The Climate Crisis Is a Child Rights Crisis: Introducing the Children’s Climate Risk Index’, the first comprehensive analysis of climate risk from a child’s perspective.

The partnership included the universities of Southampton, Edinburgh, Stirling, Highlands and Islands and the ONS-FCDO Data Science Hub provided UNICEF with information about how and where children are most at-risk from the effects of climate change, now and in the future.

Children among the most vulnerable

The Child Climate Risk Index (CCRI) and the accompanying report will provide UNICEF – the United Nation’s children’s fund – with key information to better target its climate change response to serve the most vulnerable. Among the report’s findings is that nearly half of the world’s 2.2bn children live in countries classified as at ‘extremely high risk’ from climate change.

Young people living in the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau are the most at risk of the impacts of climate change, threatening their health, education, and protection, and exposing them to deadly diseases, according to the report.

Partnership with an innovative approach

The CCRI is being delivered by the Data for Children Collaborative with UNICEF, a partnership between the children’s agency, the Scottish Government and the University of Edinburgh’s Data Driven Innovation programme. Research was developed using DCC’s unique collaborative model in order to maximise the contributions and expertise of each partner.

Fraser Macdonald, Head of Delivery & Innovation, Data for Children Collaborative with UNICEF, said:

    “This exciting project was co-developed through our unique impact collaborations approach. Through a combination of design thinking principles and skills led collaboration, we provided a platform to share ideas and build a proposal that reflects the unique knowledge and expertise that each partner brought to the table.” 

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