The Validation Workshop on the Draft Continental Study on the Impact of Climate Change on the Rights of Children in Africa, is commencing from November 3-4, 2023, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This critical event brings together experts, stakeholders, and advocates from across the continent to review and validate the findings and recommendations of a comprehensive study exploring the profound effects of climate change on the rights and well-being of African children.
Climate change is one of the most pressing existential threats confronting humanity, and despite efforts to mitigate the risks, it is wreaking havoc on nature and negatively impacting the lives of billions worldwide. Africa is widely regarded as the continent most vulnerable to and least prepared to deal with climate change, with climate-related risks such as biodiversity loss, land degradation, and deforestation. Climate change has severe consequences not just for the ecosystem, but also for children, particularly African children, who endure a disproportionate share of its devastating impacts. Extreme weather events, water scarcity, food insecurity, air pollution, and vector-borne and infectious diseases are all consequences of climate change that already have a negative impact on children. Their predicament is aggravated by the fact that children in the continent have the fewest resources to respond, and socioeconomic issues such as inequality and poverty limit climate change adaptation ability.
The situation is especially perilous for children disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of children, including girls, children with disabilities, indigenous children, and children on the move, exacerbating the multiple challenges they face. Climate change has thus been rightfully identified as the greatest threat to the realization of children's rights, with the potential to reverse recent gains and obstruct realization of children's rights as enshrined in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (the Charter).
Cognizant of the devastating impacts of climate change on the rights of children in Africa and the need for a child rights-based response to the challenges brought by the impact of climate change, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child decided to establish a Working Group on Children’s Rights and Climate Change during its 35th Ordinary Session, held virtually from 31 August to 08 September 2020. The aim of the Working Group is to integrate a child rights-based approach to climate change responses in the continent and to thereby ensure that children’s rights and welfare is protected from the impacts of climate change.
As part of its planned activities, the Working Group is developing a Continental Study on the Impacts of Climate Chang on the Rights of Children in Africa. The Committee has contracted a team of Consultants to undertake the Study on its behalf under its supervision. The Consultants have finalized data collection and submitted the first draft. The draft was presented to the Committee during its 41st Ordinary Session and various comments were made on the first draft. With a view to collect further comments and inputs from Member States, experts on the field of children’s rights and environmental law, and other stakeholders, the Committee is organizing a validation workshop on the draft study. The validation workshop will be attended by representatives of Member States, UN Agencies, academia, International Non- Governmental Organizations, members of the technical working group on the Study, along with the Consultants, Members of the Committee and the Secretariat of the Committee.