Climate finance is key to implementing the ‘quantum leap’ in climate action required to meet the target of limiting temperature rises to 1.5°C and to safeguard communities from the impacts of climate change, yet global climate finance commitments remain unfulfilled and woefully inadequate, particularly for adaptation.
Urgent and effective investment is particularly critical for children – defined as anybody below the age of 18 – who are highly susceptible to the short and long-term impacts of climate change. According to UNICEF, one billion children are at extremely high risk of the impacts of the climate crisis. Children’s unique physiology, behavioural characteristics and developmental needs, particularly between birth and the age of five, render them dispropor- tionately vulnerable to impacts such as water and food scarcity, vector- and water-borne diseases, and physical and psychological trauma linked to both extreme weather events and slow-onset processes. Climate change impacts also disrupt children’s access to basic social services that are essential for their development and wellbeing, such as education, health, safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and child and social protection services, amongst others. Climate-related disasters also contribute to increasing the incidence of child labour, child marriage and forced migration, placing children at risk of human trafficking, gender-based violence, abuse and exploitation. These impacts are already occurring, while present and future generations of children will also bear the brunt of the intensifying effects of the climate crisis over the course of their lifetime.