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Child rights group seeks global debt relief for poorer nations

By Bertram Nwannekanma (Lagos) and Joke Falaju (Abuja)
07 October 2022   |   2:32 am
Sequel to a report released yesterday, which revealed that children bore more brunt of climate change and inequality, Save the Children has called on Finance Ministers

Sequel to a report released yesterday, which revealed that children bore more brunt of climate change and inequality, Save the Children has called on Finance Ministers from the world’s biggest economies to fix a global debt relief system for poorer nations.

According to the survey released ahead of a series of critical meetings of global leaders, four out of five children in 15 countries, witness climate change or inequality daily.

Eighty-three per cent of children in 15 nations report witnessing climate change or inequality, or both, affecting the world around them, while 73 per cent of the children surveyed also believed that adults should be doing more to address these issues, including governments, businesses, and community leaders, many of whom, will be attending meetings of the G20 and COP27.

The study of over 42,000 children and young people, conducted by a child rights agency between May and August this year, was part of a series of wider consultations involving more than 54,000 children across 41 nations.

Throughout the consultations, children in all regions of the world shared their observations and experiences with weather patterns and disasters, articulating the damage to lives.

Some children described how their experiences have sparked feelings of anger at inaction and fears for the future, speaking poignantly about impacts on their mental health. Many were adamant that change is not only needed, but also possible.

In Africa and the Middle East, children drew links between climate change and increased hunger, particularly its effects on agriculture.

Children in countries that have been worst hit are seeing and experiencing things children should never have experienced, including deaths during crises, suicide, child labour and child marriage.

Children in all regions referred to rising food and living costs, with some connecting the development to climate change.

Many kids linked changing and extreme weather and increased incidence of disasters to health issues caused by heat exposure and lack of access to water, including increased prevalence of cholera. Pollution, air quality and waste were also among the top concerns raised globally.

Speaking on the report, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children International, Inger Ashing, submitted: “Children are bearing the brunt of the climate and inequality crisis and their views, actions and demands for change are among the boldest and most tenacious.

“Their right to participate in decisions affecting them is also enshrined in international child rights law. Many of the children we engaged with are frustrated that they are being ignored, and feel that governments, businesses and adults in their communities are not doing enough.

“All adults owe it to children to maintain hope. Leaders from the world’s richest countries have a particular power to turn this hope into action, by reducing carbon emissions at home and unlocking the financing that is urgently needed to support countries that are suffering the most from the climate and inequality crisis, but who have done the least to cause it.”