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UNICEF Urges Swift Action to Protect Pakistan’s Children from Climate Change Impact

Islamabad, UNICEF has called for immediate and concerted action to safeguard the lives of children in Pakistan who are facing the brunt of climate change. The organization highlighted the ongoing threat of torrential and unseasonal rains, reminiscent of the catastrophic 2022 floods that resulted in the loss of 500 children’s lives and devastated southern Sindh.

According to UNICEF, despite substantial aid efforts, by December 2023, approximately 9.6 million children in flood-affected areas still required humanitarian assistance. The persistent impacts of climate change, including record-breaking temperatures, air pollution, and recurrent floods, pose significant risks to children in Pakistan. The organization emphasized that about 12 per cent of deaths in Pakistani children under five are linked to air pollution.

UNICEF’s statement also drew attention to the Indus River’s peril due to climate change, pollution, and overexploitation. It urged for urgent measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions from coal and fossil fuels, pointing out that the world’s richest 10 per cent are responsible for half of all global emissions.

UNICEF outlined a multi-pronged approach to address these issues. It called for collective responsibility from governments, policy changes, and legislation to mitigate the impacts of climate change, particularly on children and women. The organization also urged increased investment in projects supporting children, highlighting that only 2.4 per cent of climate funds currently target projects for children.

UNICEF encouraged world leaders to make COP30 a “children’s COP,” focusing on securing a 1.5-degree temperature limit and addressing climate change’s impact on the younger generation. Without immediate and radical action, the organization warned that more children would become vulnerable to disease, hunger, and death.

The statement ended with a call to action: “To ensure every child in Pakistan grows up in a safe and clean world, radical action is needed today. We owe it to the next generation, who are the custodians of our future.”