COVID-19 Child Sensitive, Inclusive & Greener Recovery Strategies to Build Back Better
Climate change affects the enjoyment of children’s rights to a clean environment. It is a threat multiplier on child vulnerability and inequalities. It is a driver of extreme child poverty that risks reversing gains in children’s health and risks the achievement of the SDGs. The climate crisis is also disrupting livelihoods and education, increasing hunger and malnutrition and increasing risks of violence against children (in particular child labor & child marriage). It is also increasing the frequency and severity of disasters and contributing to conflict, displacement and fragility – entrenching children and families in cycles of poverty they cannot escape.
The results of World Vision COVID-19: Out of Time Report provide evidence that the most vulnerable families and their children are hardest hit in such crises. COVID-19 is affecting the vulnerable families who are already affected by climate change – over 100 million people at risk of hunger, danger from weather-related disasters, and becoming displaced. Due to loss of income, these families are unable to provide basic shelter, decent food, and in some cases, evictions are forcing parents to separate from their children. Indeed, the climate crisis is not just an environmental issue but also an issue of survival.
As green and more inclusive recovery is at the core of ‘build back better’ and the 2030 agenda, member states are determined to take bold and transformative steps that are required to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. Member states pledge that no one should be left -behind in the process. This means children and their families living in climate induced fragile contexts, should not be left-behind.
Opportunities to steer discussion at the global level:
COVID-19 has added a layer of vulnerability of children and families left behind and we are out of time to help families build back better and quicker. COVID-19 presents an opportunity to implement climate sensitive, child sensitive, inclusive and greener recovery strategies to build back better. Multi-stakeholders do have a role to play to explore adapted interventions. These include the governments, donors, CSOs, and multilateral institutions. Faith communities do present a unique group with a critical role to safeguard the planet as faith shapes the values and behaviors of humans in their relationship with the environment.
The Climate Week of Action taking place in the context of the UN General Assembly from 21-27 September is a good opportunity to promote policies designed for building back better during and beyond COVID. Inclusive and green recovery strategies and programs will help increase resilience of the most vulnerable children and families and ensure the fulfilment and enjoyment of child rights, including the right to a clean environment. It is also an opportunity to influence (policy recommendations at all levels), impact (scaling up what works) and income (C-19 re-greening recovery funding, Green Climate Fund).
The Climate Week of Action takes place at the same time as the Human Rights Council in Geneva where the Resolution on the rights to a clean environment, resulting from the Annual Day of the Right of the Child panel, will be adopted. The Resolution calls Members of the UN General Assembly to recognize the universal right to a clean, safe and sustainable environment.