COP21: UNICEF Canada president responds to Paris climate change agreement
PARIS and TORONTO, December 12, 2015 - Today, as the 21st United Nations climate change conference wraps up in Paris, David Morley, UNICEF Canada's president and CEO, responded to the final agreement of this historic event:
"The energy and optimism in the early days of this conference in Paris were palpable. I was on site for the first couple of days and for Prime Minister Trudeau's formal address. After a dedicated two weeks of talks, presentations and negotiations, an agreement has been reached that gives us hope for the world's children today and into the future.
UNICEF Canada is very pleased to see this ambitious agreement that seeks to limit an increase in temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and goes beyond, committing to the rapid scale-up of global efforts to do even more. This will go a long way in protecting children who are the least responsible for climate change, but who will suffer the most from its effects.
UNICEF Canada commends the constructive leadership role that Canada has played in securing and ambitious outcome agreement from Paris that seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote climate-resilient sustainable development.
We welcome Canada stepping up to support the world's most vulnerable children with a funding commitment of $2.65 billion to address climate change in developing countries. We further encourage that this includes specific commitments to finance climate projects in the least developed countries, supports investments in Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems, and supports renewable energy investments in Africa. Ensuring children and youth are prioritized at the heart of these investments provides a tremendous opportunity to create a more sustainable, safer and cleaner future for current and future generations.
Renewable and sustainable energy can be a game changer for children. Sustainable energy is of critical importance to children's development and well-being—it gives them some of the things they need for improved health, education and safety. Lighting to do homework at night, reliable transportation to school, warmth during the winter months, safe stoves that don't contribute to deadly respiratory issues and well-lit streets for girls and boys tasked with collecting fuel and water are just a few of the ways that sustainable energy can transform children's lives today and into the future.
In order to realize this ambitious agenda and build on this leadership, the Government of Canada must now ensure that their investments reach the most vulnerable communities in the least developed countries, particularly children. Furthermore, these life-changing new investments must be complementary to—and must not take away from—existing ODA budgets that support essential health, education, protection and humanitarian programs."
For UNICEF's response to the Government of Canada's $2.65 billion commitment, go here.
UNICEF's climate change report
Released on November 24, UNICEF's report, Unless we act now: The impact of climate change on children, analyzes how children the world over are uniquely at risk due to climate change and zeroes in on the heightened survival risks for the most vulnerable.
Climate change and children: by the numbers
- 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.
Severe weather events put children's lives at risk
Climate change means more droughts, floods, heatwaves 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. This can create a vicious circle: A child deprived of adequate water and sanitation before a crisis will be more affected by a flood, drought, or severe storm, less likely to recover quickly, and at even greater risk when faced with a subsequent crisis. The vast majority of the children living in areas at extremely high risk of floods are in Asia, and the majority of those in areas at risk of drought are in Africa.
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.
UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca. For updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit unicef.ca.