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UNICEF Studies Children’s Vulnerability to Climate Change

14 November 2011: The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has released a report on the climate change challenges that children face in East Asia and the Pacific. The report indicates that climate change will exacerbate the living conditions of millions of children in the region, who already suffer from a lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation and are vulnerable to malnutrition and diseases.

The report, titled "Children's Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Disaster Impacts in East Asia and the Pacific," is informed by five country studies in Indonesia, Kiribati, Mongolia, the Philippines and Vanuatu, as well as children's own perspectives on climate change. The country studies highlight children's specific vulnerability to climate change that needs to be taken into account in policy development.

The report indicates that more frequent natural disasters will negatively impact agricultural production, which will affect food prices and increase the already high malnutrition rates. It is estimated that one in every four children in the Asia and Pacific region is underdeveloped due to poor nutrition.

Anupama Rao Singh, UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific, highlighted the need to engage children in adaptation and disaster reduction strategies as key players to improve community capacity to address climate risks. According to UNICEF, empowered and well-educated children will help mitigate climate impacts.

The report also provides a set of recommendations including: preparing for risk; enhancing the knowledge base with surveillance strengthening; mainstreaming climate change into policy documents relating to children; strengthening health systems and scaling up health and nutrition interventions; expanding social protection; promoting environmental education and life skills; ensuring genuine participation of children in climate change adaptation efforts; and scaling up successful interventions. [UNICEF Press Release] [UN Press Release] [Publication: Children's Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Disaster Impacts in East Asia and the Pacific]