COP28 Statement from ECDAN Executive Director

Events and activities on children and climate change at COP28.


December 14, 2023 – On December 13, the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change issued a draft decision of the first global stocktake, which called for an “expert dialogue” on the disproportionate impact of climate change on children and relevant policy solutions. Elizabeth Lule, Executive Director of the Early Childhood Development Action Network, released the following statement in response:

“The COP28 draft decision is a major breakthrough for young children and their caregivers. It is the first time in the more than 30-year history of COP that negotiators specifically mentioned and acted upon the disproportionate impact of climate change on children. This was made possible by tireless advocacy and negotiation efforts from a range of partners and champion governments working to protect children’s rights to a healthy, sustainable environment. 

By calling for an expert dialogue on children and climate change to take place during the official process of COP29, COP takes a major step in mainstreaming children’s rights in all future climate negotiations. ECDAN and other partners are excited and stand ready to turn this dialogue into action for children. 

Furthermore, the Global Goal on Adaptation agreed on new thematic targets on greening health, water, nutrition, education, and social protection systems that will build resilience for children.

The evidence is clear: Nearly 90 percent of the global health burden related to climate change is borne by children under the age of 5 years (Sheffield and Landrigan, 2011). One in three children live in countries that face extreme high temperatures that can prevent them from accessing childcare, schools and other learning opportunities, and health services (UNICEF, 2022). Children born in 2020 will experience, on average, twice as many wildfires, 2.8 times as much exposure to crop failure, 2.6 times as many drought events, 2.8 times as many river floods, and 6.8 times more heat waves across their lifetimes, compared to a person born in 1960 (Save the Children, 2021). And yet the specific needs of children have been largely ignored in the international agreements on climate change.

During COP28, we were delighted to take part in the first-ever thematic day for children.  ECDAN and many other partners engaged with world leaders and co-hosted a series of events to elevate the needs of young children and mobilize action. More than 35 organizations and 60 individuals have signed onto our open letter to COP28 President-Designate Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber urging him to champion the needs of young children and their caregivers. 

We are grateful that these collective efforts have made a difference in the outcome of COP28 and look forward to continuing to work with partners, governments, researchers, and other stakeholders to ensure young children are front and center in all climate actions.

We want to express our deep appreciation to many supportive governments and the following partners who supported and engaged directly in the negotiation process:

  • Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC)
  • ChildFund Alliance
  • Children’s Environmental Health Network
  • Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative
  • Child Rights International Network – CRIN
  • Early Opportunities
  • Harnessing Global Data to Advance Young Children’s Learning & Development
  • Instituto Alana
  • One Ocean Hub
  • Our Kids’ Climate
  • Plan International
  • Save the Children International
  • Terre des Hommes International Federation
  • World Vision

And many others who work on behalf of young children

Together we are stronger.”



Katherine Shek, [email protected], +1-703-362-0803

Carol Mochoge, [email protected], +254-708-712-888

About the Early Childhood Development Action Network

ECDAN catalyzes collective action on behalf of young children and their families around the world by connecting with global and regional partners, facilitating knowledge exchange and learning and coordinating advocacy for increased investment for quality services. ECDAN’s vision is that every young child is safe, well nourished, healthy, happy, and learning.