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COP21: UNICEF Canada president responds to Prime Minister Trudeau’s address at Paris climate change conference

2015-11-30

PARIS, November 30, 2015 – Today, as the 21st United Nations climate change conference kicks off in Paris, Prime Minister Trudeau addressed the conference on Canada’s plan to tackle climate change and reiterated the Government of Canada’s commitment of $2.65 billion over five years for developing countries. David Morley, UNICEF Canada’s president and CEO is at the conference as part of UNICEF’s official delegation and had the following response to Prime Minister Trudeau’s address:

“Again, we’re very pleased to see Canada stepping up to commit funding to the world’s least developed countries. However it’s important that efforts and investments in climate change adaptation should prioritize strengthening the resilience of the most vulnerable children and communities.

Including young people as key players in the solutions to climate change challenges is essential as it’s their futures at stake and we’re pleased to see the Canadian government recognize the importance of engaging young people. We know that both children and youth are critical agents of change and must be prioritized and consulted in decisions that will affect us all.  

We’re glad to hear Canada is supporting investments in innovation and renewable and sustainable energy—these can be game changers for children. Children in the least developed countries need things like safe lighting to do homework at night, reliable transportation to school, warmth during the winter months, safe stoves in the home that don’t contribute to deadly respiratory issues and well-lit streets for girls and boys tasked with collecting fuel and water. This access to sustainable energy can be life changing for them.

Most importantly, Canada’s financing must reach the most vulnerable children and communities—even if they are the hardest to reach.”

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.

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About UNICEF

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 updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit unicef.ca.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.