The ones most affected by climate change and violence in the world are people living in poverty. Where should they go? What should they do to save themselves? How can they live a normal life? These are the questions that bring tons of other questions with them. But who is going to take responsibility for them? Children, of all, suffer the most, but a solution is hard to come by.
This is nothing new. It has been going on since after World War II. The aftermath of the war brought in the plight of the grave for the children of Europe. Violence and climate change were increasingly prominent factors and causing conditions to worsen in several areas around the world. It has led to the rise of the United Nations to step in and provide clothing, health facilities, and food to affected children.
To take this mission further and make children cope better with the environmental changes, UNICEF collaborated with the United Nations and held campaigns against diseases such as yaws that can be cured by penicillin.
All this because of climate change. It is a much worse combination when poverty is a factor. The interplay between both these forces quickly becomes a complex situation.
The State of Children around the World
Every child of this world has the right to protection, health, and education. Every society should take steps to expand opportunities for children so they can get a fair chance no matter their country, gender, race or any circumstances they are born in.
Around the world, families struggle to afford even basic nutrition and healthcare facilities. These deprivations are leaving a lasting impact leading to the malnutrition, sub-par development, and, even worse, death of children.
When Climate Change Happens, Poverty Hits
Let us take the example of a herder, who owns one or two cows and loses them due to famine. As a result, he feels selling his other livestock at low prices would be the only choice he is left with because he wants to feed his family. He might actually be successful with this approach, however, what about the productive asset of livestock he relied on that paid his children’s school fees or was the only way to get out of poverty?
The children lose their chance of an education, the herder loses his economic assets and, along with having less or no money, he becomes less likely to take any risks to get out of the poverty. Only because of climate change, the herder lost all his economic resources. The trap of poverty becomes more and more difficult t evade and may go on for generations.
Governments of every country of the world are working on reforms to get poor families through the hazardous climate shocks and build a resilience for longer-term climate changes. The factors that drive climate change also need to be taken care of.
Children are the ones most affected by climate change as poverty sets in. Poverty can either make or break a man, let alone an infant.
Children: Victims of Violence
Children have always been subjected to violence, especially those recruited as child soldiers in armed conflicts around the globe. Through the help of the UN Security Council, many were successfully freed from being underage soldiers due to the implementation of Action Plans around the world. They also added further restrictions to the recruitment of children into armed forces and groups. But even unrelated to the topic of child soldiers, children are often severely affected as passive bystanders of armed conflicts.
Almost 250 million children were affected by the armed conflict in Syria. The conflict lasted for over five years and caused the deaths of more than 250,000 people. The same issues were detected in Afghanistan where the number of child causalities was recorded to be the highest in the UN’s history. Other countries such as Somalia and South Sudan faced more or less the same issues.
Millions of children have been and are the victims of violence across the globe. Every year, one billion children suffer from some kind of physical, emotional or sexual violence. Apart from armed conflicts and violence, there are tons of other race, color, caste, and educational factors that are promoting and sparking violence against children.
The violence comes from nowhere specific. It can originate at home, in schools and institutions. Bullying is another form of violence that has become common in peer groups. Cyberbullying, another form of bullying, has emerged causing children to live in isolation, fear, and loneliness. Disabilities, gender discrimination, religious or national origin or poverty all require help if there is violence involved. When the perpetrator is close to the victim, things get tricky as the victim might never speak up.
Reforms for Poverty and Climate Change
Climate change, poverty, and violence snatch away the happiness and innocence of children around the world. Children are deprived of their rights such as an education and a normal childhood as a direct result. UNICEF is taking several measures to overcome these issues and has come up with special training for teacher and children with special classroom equipment to reach out to excluded and vulnerable kids, so they can benefit in every way possible.
UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), ILO (International Labor Organization), UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), WHO (World Health Organization) and WFP (World Food Programme) have started programs to abolish violence, child labor, malnutrition, disease-eradication and campaigns for education and health care for children. The United Nations has been playing a key role in promoting such programs and campaigns to make sure the children of the present and the children of the future aren’t deprived of their rights in a changing world of violence.