Climate emergency, beyond the point of no return: environmental transformations lead to poverty for children in East Asia and the Pacific
ROME - More than any other region in the world, according to the latest regional report from theUNICEF "Over the tipping point", children in East Asia and the Pacific must withstand and survive multiple, often overlapping climate and environmental problems and risks. The report highlights the urgent need to invest in social services and smart policies to help the climate, against the pollution and deforestation, to protect the future of children.
The multiplication of risks. Children born in the East Asia-Pacific region today experience a sixfold increase in the danger of climate-related disasters compared to their grandparents. Over the past 50 years, the entire area has seen an elevenfold increase in the number of floods; a fourfold increase in storms; 2.4 times drought and a five times increase in landslides.
The consequences of environmental disasters on children. With rising temperatures and sea levels, and extreme weather conditions such as typhoons, severe floods, landslides and droughts, the future of millions of children is at risk. Many of them, together with their families, face displacement and struggle to survive, with limited or no access to health care, education, water and sanitation services.
The data released. According to the latest analysis, which is based on the Children's Climate Risk Index, over 210 million children in the East Asia-Pacific region are exposed to cyclones; 140 million children are victims of water scarcity; another 120 million children are at risk of coastal flooding and 460 million children are affected by air pollution.
The combination of risk factors. Many children in this part of the world are exposed to more than one type of climate and environmental problem or danger, with percentages significantly higher than the global average.
- 443 million children face three or even more forms of environmental impact simultaneously, with the share reaching 89 percent versus 73 percent globally.
- 325 million children face four or more types of climate shocks: 65 percent versus 37 percent globally.
- 204 million children are affected by five or more types of environmental hazards: 41 percent versus 14 percent globally.
- Finally, 63 million children face six or more types of disasters: 12 percent versus 3 percent globally.
The consolidation of inequalities. When these problems overlap, they lead to other equally serious crises such as food insecurity, malnutrition and the spread of infectious diseases. And when all of these problems affect poorer communities or children with disabilities, recovery becomes very difficult. Ultimately, these effects exacerbate the inequalities children already face on a daily basis and push the poorest even further into destitution. From the analysis ofUNICEF it emerges unequivocally that environmental problems, including pollution and deforestation, threaten the sustainable development and economic growth of the peoples of East Asia and the Pacific region, with permanent and irreversible damage to lives and livelihoods especially of children and young people.