Despite schoolgirl Greta Thunberg sparking a climate action revolution, children risk being left out of the UN’s headline climate crisis meeting in Glasgow next year.
World Vision has today warned that no children under 18 years old have been invited to participate the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (CoP26) meaning a generation will have no say in the future of their planet.
Days before the 5th anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement, the international aid agency has repeated its call to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, to include children in vital change making conversations about climate change.1
“Children around the world have told us that they feel scared, angry and helpless about the impact of climate change,” explained Dana Buzducea, World Vision International Advocacy and External Engagement Leader. “Governments worldwide must do more to listen to children who are most affected by climate change and give them a seat at the decision-making table—it is their future after all. Greta and thousands of others like her have proved children’s voices matter and dispelled the myth they have nothing to say and nothing to contribute.”
World Vision recently surveyed children and young people in 12 countries across the world  and discovered that they fear of the damage climate change has inflicted on the planet and the of impact that it will have on their future. They shared stories of the devastation and death they themselves had seen, caused by the impact of climate change on their communities. Yet they did not want to be seen as helpless victims, but rather as agents of change who could help fix this global threat.
“The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees the right of children to express their views, and for those views to be given weight according to their relative age and maturity – we know children are capable of contributing to the decisions that affect them. This is why we applaud the Secretary General’s invitation to young adults to contribute to the climate action discussions,” Buzducea added, “but it is children, especially the most vulnerable children, who are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis. Girls and boys face greater risk of disease, under-nutrition, diarrhoea and heat stress than adults–all of which are projected to increase with climate change. They must be included in the CoP26 process.”
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- In August, World Vision joined Save the Children, Plan International and Child Rights Connect wrote an open letter to the UN Secretary General.
- World Vision spoke to 121 children and young people (74 girls and 47 boys) between the ages of 10 and 17 years from 12 countries: Albania, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana, Kenya, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Romania, and Sierra Leone.
World Vision conducted a research study to capture how children and young people understand and perceive climate change and how they wanted to engage in climate change action. To read World Vision’s climate action survey with children Talk less and act more, the world needs help click here.
World Vision sees children and young people as right-holders and agents of change who are capable of expressing their views and proposing strategies to make a change in their communities and countries. To read World Vision’s global climate action policy click here.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children, families and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter @WorldVision