The COP21 summit runs from 30 November to 11 December and delegations from the 195 UN member states will negotiate on a global agreement aimed at limiting an average global temperature increase to 2°C.
Climate change means more droughts, floods, and other severe weather conditions. These events can cause death and devastation, and can also contribute to the increased spread of major killers of children, such as malnutrition, malaria and diarrhoea. According to UNICEF, of the 530 million children in the flood-prone zones, some 300 million live in countries where more than half the population lives in poverty – on less than $3.10 a day. Of those living in high drought severity areas, 50 million are in countries where more than half the population lives in poverty.
“The effects of climate change directly threaten the lives of millions of children. There is no question that in Paris binding measures for the reduction of CO2 emissions need to be decided, “said Jonas Schubert, child rights expert from Terre des Hommes. “Each generation must ensure that the following one has the same life chances,” he continued.
Professor Mojib Latif, climatologists and patron/sponsor of the Terre des Hommes Fund “Clean water – a children’s right”, stressed the socially unjust effects of climate change:
“Climate change exacerbates poverty and favours the already privileged. It’s not just a matter of justice between the societies that significantly contribute through their economies and lifestyles to climate change, and those who suffer from it. At the heart of the debate are those who, because of their poverty or social exclusion, are more vulnerable than others to climate change and may not have the capacity to cope with it”. “Children’s rights draw attention to the particular situation of children in the context of climate change “, added this year’s winners of the German Environmental Award.
Terre des Hommes is fully involved in protecting children from climate change hazards, it runs projects to promote alternative energies and environmental education for children and youth in high-risk countries such as Peru and Nepal. It works with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to prepare for the next Day of General Discussion on children’s rights to a healthy environment.
Since 2009 Terre des Hommes and Terragir run a programme called “Robin des Watts”. Following awareness raising work with students of primary school in the Canton of Geneva, saving of energy (water, electricity and heat) allow, with the financial support of the cities, to renovate schools located in Andean rural areas where studying conditions are harsh due to the coldness of the climate. “Robin des Watts” is now a well known international solidarity programme. In Peru for example, Cas Cunas , a partner organisation of Terre des Hommes, has already been able to improve the studying conditions in a dozen of school: a greenhouse heats the school and is used as school garden, a better insulation and double glazing glasses preserve heat inside classes, solar panels provide hot water and electricity, improved kitchen facilitates the work of the canteen, dry toilets initiate more environmentally friendly practices, etc.