Canada's climate change announcement of $2.65 billion critical for world's most vulnerable children--today and into the future

UNICEF Canada President & CEO responds to Government of Canada announcement

TORONTO, Nov. 27, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, in the days leading up to COP21, the 21st United Nations climate change conference, the Government of Canada announced $2.65 billion to address climate change in developing countries. David Morley, UNICEF Canada's president and CEO will be attending the conference next week in Paris and had the following response to today's announcement:

"We're very pleased to see Canada stepping up to support the world's most vulnerable children with this funding commitment. We know that children, particularly the poorest, are disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, a fundamental threat to their most basic rights, including access to food, water, education and survival. Canada's commitment will go a long way to securing the future of millions of children and their communities.

It's very encouraging to hear Prime Minister Trudeau recognize the importance of building a sustainable future for generations to come and that today's announcement includes support for adaptation and investments in renewable energy.

Funding for adaptation is essential to ensure that vulnerable communities have the skills, education and tools to cope with the effects of climate change now and the predicted increased effects in the future. Adaptation measures also require investment in disaster risk reduction so communities are prepared and have life-saving early warning systems in place.

Renewable and sustainable energy can be a game changer for children. As Canadians we work every day to ensure that our children are healthy, educated and safe. For families in developing countries, access to sustainable energy is life changing. It can provide their children with 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.

Today's announcement of $2.65 billion is an important commitment that continues to establish Canada as a global leader in the investment in children's futures. We are hopeful as the details emerge that this is entirely new funding—existing ODA budgets support essential health, education and protection programs and they must be maintained."

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.

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 more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca. For updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit unicef.ca.

SOURCE UNICEF Canada

For further information: To arrange interviews or for more information please contact: Tiffany Baggetta, UNICEF Canada, 416-482-6552 ext. 8892; 647-308-4806 (mobile), tbaggetta@unicef.ca

RELATED LINKS
http://www.unicef.ca

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