By Own Correspondent
Child rights campaigners are warning that Africa’s looming climate crisis threatens the rights of children to life, health, education and security, whilst increasing the risks of violence, exploitation and displacement.
This was revealed by Legal Resource Centre (LRC) a charitable organization that provides legal services and promotes Human Rights among the vulnerable in Zimbabwe.
The foundation noted that Africa is sitting on a climate time-bomb and young children including unborn ones are to suffer most if effects of climate change are unabated.
“Across the continent, children and young people – including those not yet born – will suffer the financial, social and environmental costs of the climate crisis for decades, if not centuries to come”, read a statement released by LRC recently.
The ninth International Policy Committee (IPC) Climate change and children’s rights in Africa which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia earlier this month revealed that half of Africa’s population under the age of 20 suffers most from extreme weather events and climate-related disasters.
During the conference Dr Joan Nyanyuki, Executive Director of African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), which organised and hosted the IPC stated that,” half of Africa’s population is under the age of 20. They are the ones who will suffer most from extreme weather events and climate-related disasters, from the long-term impacts of increased poverty, lack of investment and inadequate infrastructure.
“The climate crisis will likely trigger a major child rights crisis across Africa and reverse the little progress we have made in recent years,” he added.
In its statement, LGS also bemoaned the irony in the climate crisis with the fact that those who are primarily responsible for climate change are relatively better insulated from the impact, while those who have made the least contribution to the crisis suffer the most.
“Africa features at the top of the regions most affected by climate change, but it accounts for less than seven percent of total greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and its emissions per capita are less than half the global average. Yet, Africa’s children bear the brunt.
“Today’s rich countries reached the highest levels of material welfare the world has ever seen – primarily by harnessing cheap energy from fossil fuels, – but most of the negative consequences of this strategy have fallen on the world’s poorest countries,” reads the statement.
The Human rights and access to justice organisation called on the Zimbabwean Government to urgently put in place comprehensive adaptation plans that and take full account of the plight of children, and promised to commit itself to supporting the Government in that effort.
“We call upon the government to step up its financial investment and economic policies to prevent and respond to the effects of climate change on its children and young people. We also urge industrialised countries to take serious technical and financial steps to support African countries’ efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change, and to undertake adaption interventions.