Universal Children's Day: protecting our agents for change

20 November 2015

Climate change poses severe threats to children's survival and wellbeing, health, food security and nutrition, and access to education. It also exacerbates and compounds drivers of insecurity, which in turn leads to more children being at risk of violence, exploitation and abuse.

In the run up to the COP21 climate change conference in Paris at the beginning of December, world leaders are under pressure from civil society to ensure that all stakeholders, including children and young people are involved in the decision-making process when it comes to tackling climate change.

The UK government has a progressive record in supporting climate change programmes through its international aid activity.

It is vital to ensure that the 0.7% of gross national income allocated to official development assistance (ODA), is spent in ways which protect, promote and uphold the rights of children, including those living beyond UK national borders, in line with commitments under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

In order to fulfil its obligation to contribute to the global implementation of the CRC, the UK government needs to explicitly prioritise children’s rights, by adopting a comprehensive and integrated child rights policy framework to inform international policy and aid allocations and to implement a more robust child-sensitive monitoring and evaluation system.

Such a framework would allow the UK government to pursue policies to support countries that are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change – particularly the hardest to reach and least resilient – so that they are better able to cope with its effects, while recognising and prioritising the specific needs of children, their voices and ideas.

Without children’s participation and inclusive programming, it is unlikely that the UK’s development policies will effectively uphold their rights to survival, development and protection.

There is strong evidence that including children in this way will generate multiple co-benefits in terms of both climate goals and child rights.

Despite this, recognition of children’s rights has been largely absent within the international negotiations on climate change under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We are therefore urging the UK government to ensure that the rights of children and future generations, as well as their role as key agents for change, are recognised in the global agreement on climate change.

Protecting Children's Rights Worldwide is an alternative report on the UK’s extraterritorial obligations under the CRC, advocating for more space to be given to child rights. If you work for a Bond member and are interested in child rights, why not join the Bond Child Rights Group?

About the author

Cleo Fatoorehchi
Child to Child

As Communications Officer, Cléo advocates for children's right to participate in all decisions which affect them. She has previously worked for Childreach International and Women's Forum for the Economy and Society.