COP28: The climate crisis is a child’s rights crisis so who is looking out for kids?

Dubai, UAE – There’s never been a more crucial time to stand up for kids everywhere and help prepare them to survive and thrive in their ever-changing world.

“We are living through climate collapse in real time”

UN secretary-general António Guterres

At COP28, the spotlight must be on children. Governments must accept that children face distinct risks in the face of climate change. And they must agree to give proper consideration to children’s rights and needs when it comes to formulating climate policies, taking action to combat climate change, and allocating funds.

“We have a unique moment in history where we can champion child rights at COP28 for a global generation of kids growing up in a world threatened by accelerating climate change.”

The ChariTree Foundation’s executive director Andrea Koehle Jones

“Children are the most impacted and least to blame for the climate crisis,” said Andrea Koehle Jones, The ChariTree Foundation’s executive director and lead children’s climate education advocate. “We have a unique moment in history where we can champion child rights at COP28 for a global generation of kids growing up in a world threatened by accelerating climate change.”

The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, more commonly referred to as COP28, runs from 30 November until 12 December 2023, in Dubai.

So far, the world’s response to the climate crisis has been slow and disappointing. Millions of children and youth are already paying the price for this inaction. That’s why kids everywhere are calling on world leaders and the international community to show courage and take thoughtful and urgent action at COP28 in Dubai. Their future is on the line.

The ChariTree Foundation is calling on leaders at COP28 to:

  • Protect the lives, health and well-being of children and youth.
  • Educate every child by supporting transformative, formal and informal climate education at all levels, including science-policy interface studies and lifelong learning processes, recognizing diverse world views, values and knowledge systems of indigenous peoples and local communities. When children understand climate change and how it impacts them and the world they depend on, they are more likely to make a lifelong commitment to protect the environment for themselves and future generations.
  • Uphold, broaden and realize ambitious global sustainability and climate change objectives. while phasing out dependency on fossil fuels with a clear timeframe.
  • Honour the historic agreement on loss and damage deal reached on first day of Cop28 talks by funding the fund with a focus on children’s needs; embedding child rights in the fund’s oversight and decision-making procedures.
  • Ensure that children and services essential for adapting to a changing climate are included in the ultimate resolution of the Global Goal for Adaptation (GGA).

Climate action must support children’s physical and mental well-being

The ChariTree Foundation is watching how the climate crisis is hurting children’s health and well-being. That’s why Koehle Jones says she is honoured to have Dr. Stefan Wheat and Dr. Alexandra Perkins join The ChariTree Foundation’s delegation at COP28 in Dubai.

Dr. Stefan Wheat 

“Overwhelming evidence has shown how children around the world will experience disproportionate harm due to the health impacts of climate change.” — Dr. Stefan Wheat  at the #COP28 @MonashUni pavilion on Dec 2, 2023 discussing #digitalhealth solutions for the #ClimateCrisis.

Dr. Wheat is an emergency medicine physician at the University of Washington and Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. He works with the University of Washington’s Center for Health and Global Environment (CHanGE) and recently completed his training as a National Climate and Health Science Policy Fellow at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. His recent work has included creating Climate Resources for Health Education, an online open-access climate and health education resource compendium as well as founding ClimateRx, a web-based tool designed to support education of patients in the clinical space. 

“As a climate health advocate and emergency physician, I have the privilege of caring for patients from womb to cradle to adulthood and it is of particular importance to me to empower families as we learn to manage current and future climate health impacts such as air pollution, wildfires, flooding, heat waves and beyond,” said Dr. Wheat. “Overwhelming evidence has shown how children around the world will experience disproportionate harm due to the health impacts of climate change. Health professionals have a duty to advocate for all of their patients, including children and call for a rapid phase out of fossil fuels in keeping with 1.5 degree temperature targets and to support efforts to imagine and realize healthcare that is both sustainable and resilient in the face of the hazards posed by climate change.” 

Dr. Alexandra Perkins

Dr. Perkins is an early-career pediatric physician completing a fellowship through the Climate and Health Program at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She has been involved in climate change advocacy and children’s health for over a decade.  Dr. Perkins founded Pediatricians for Climate Action, a coalition of Washington state pediatricians working on climate change mitigation through legislative advocacy, medical education and research, and ecosystem restoration.  I am also the trainee liaison for the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health and Climate Change.  Prior to my medical training, I worked as the program coordinator for the Region 10 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, as well as for two solar energy companies. She completed her medical degree and master’s degree in environmental health at the University of Washington and is working to start a program for middle school students using ecosystem restoration as a climate change solution, as well as a mental health intervention.  

“As a pediatrician, I have seen the consequences of climate change on children, both through direct impacts such as poor air quality, and more indirect routes including mental health consequences.” said Dr. Perkins. “We are faced with a choice. Do we, as health professionals and witnesses to child suffering, accept the status quo? Or do we do everything we can to empower ourselves and our children to make positive change in the world around us? The more we begin to recognize our own agency in engaging with climate solutions and reconnecting with the natural world, the greater impact we will have.”

The ChariTree Foundation is a United Nations Climate Observer Organization, putting children’s rights at the forefront of climate action to improve their education, health, and future.

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Contact Andrea Koehle Jones at