UNICEF launches world’s first $30 mln child-focused climate risk financing initiative

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The United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday launched a new child-focused initiative designed to increase countries’ disaster preparedness and better cope with future climate disasters.

The ‘Today and Tomorrow’ initiative combines funding for immediate resilience and risk prevention programs for children to address the current and growing impacts of the global climate crisis.

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To help cope with future cyclones, the initiative also includes $30 million risk transfer financing provided by the insurance market to support around 15 million children, youth and women over an initial three-year pilot.

“We know more climate disasters are in the making. We just do not know where or when they will hit,” UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director for Partnerships said in a statement.

“The risks of climate change are no longer hypothetical. They are here. And even while we work to build communities’ resilience against climate disasters, we have to become much better in pre-empting risks for our children,” she added.

The initiative will focus on eight cyclone-prone countries in four global cyclone basins: Bangladesh, Comoros, Fiji, Madagascar, Mozambique, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

UNICEF is raising $30 million for the initiative and is calling for additional private and public sector partners to take action and join them in helping to close the humanitarian financing gap for disaster protection.

Climate harm in childhood lasts for life and perpetuates and deepens inequality and poverty across generations, the UNICEF statement said. However, the unique needs of children are not directly addressed by existing Risk Transfer mechanisms. This leaves a global humanitarian financing gap, or “Child Protection Gap,” that encompasses hundreds of millions of children and youth.

UNICEF’s ‘Today and Tomorrow’ is the first pre-arranged and event-based climate disaster risk financing mechanism that specifically targets this Child Protection Gap, with full support for the Tomorrow portion of the risk transfer instrument, secured from the German and UK governments under the newly launched G7-V20 Global Shield against Climate Risks.

Young people last week expressed their concern about the global climate crisis, according to a UNICEF poll, with a considerable proportion of the respondents, mainly in Africa, saying that it has made them reconsider parenthood in the future.

Youth in the Middle East and North Africa (44 percent) and Sub-Saharan Africa (43 percent) accounted for the highest rate increase than youth from other regions. More than other young people globally, they reported that they were beginning to feel the direct impact of climate change through shocks which have affected their access to food and water, as well as their family’s income.

More than 243,500 young people from 163 countries took part in UNICEF’s U-Report throughout July and August this year. U-Report is a digital platform that supports youth engagement on program priorities, emergency response and advocacy action.

Particularly worrying was that two in five said they had less food to eat. The highest percentage of young people reporting this impact were based in Sub-Saharan Africa (52 percent).

Globally, more than half of the poll’s respondents said they have experienced either drought or extreme heat. One in four young people experienced flooding, air pollution, and said that their family’s income source was impacted by climate change.

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