On 28 Feb 2022, the world’s leading authority on climate science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability which assesses the impacts of climate change, particularly on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities at the global and regional levels. The Report also highlights the vulnerabilities of the natural world and human societies, and their capacities and limits to adapt to climate change. In summary, the IPCC argues that ‘this report is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction. Our actions today will shape how people adapt and nature responds to increasing climate risks.’
In this statement, ARNEC highlights the linkages between the Report’s key messages and the implications to Early Childhood Development, and shows how Report findings offer evidence that reinforces ARNEC’s call to put young children at the centre of environmental and climate actions, and for the environment to be at the centre of early childhood development.
1. Climate change worsens inequalities and adversely affects the most vulnerable populations, including young children, of the Asia-Pacific region.
2. Adaptation measures and accelerated action are urgently needed - our actions today shape our children’s future.
3. Human development measures are key in promoting sustainable resilience and adaptation.
a. Climate change is a global challenge that requires collective action. The effort to pursue climate-resilient development is at risk, especially if global warming exceeds 1.5°C (2.7°F), and at even greater risk in some regions if global warming exceeds 2°C (3.6°F). This key finding underlines the urgency for climate action, focusing on equity and justice. ECD is inextricably linked to environmental issues and sustainable development policies in two ways: (1) young children urgently need support to be able to absorb the risk and damage caused by environmental degradation; and (2) promoting the well-being and rights of young children is key to building a sustainable future .
b. We support the interagency call to action from the world's leading child focused agencies to governments and the IPCC , such as World Vision, UNICEF, and Save the Children, that asks for future IPCC reports to give greater emphasis to children, reflecting the depth of available science as well as the needs of children (Tanner et al. 2022). We reinforce the ask for Governments and the IPCC to demonstrate the importance of children and future generations by commissioning an IPCC Special Report on Children and Climate Change, including the youngest children aged 0-8. The disproportionate burden that young children aged 0-8 will suffer due to a changing climate and the power of investing in young children’s development need to be recognized as part of climate change mitigation, adaptation, resilience, and the movement towards sustainable development.
c. We stand with the youngest children and urge for their voices to be heard. The evidence in the IPCC Report shows that young children must be at the forefront of the collective action against climate change and be included in the preparations for COP27 and in all environmental and climate actions thereafter. Urgent action is needed now to realise the rights of the youngest children and protect their future against the climate crisis that they will so unfairly have to face.
Our actions today shape our children's future. Read ARNEC’s full statement on the recent IPCC report or click on the download icon for a copy.
Act now against climate change! Secure the future of young children.
Missed the webinar? Watch the recording on ARNEC's YouTube Channel and use the following links to access the webinar materials.
Entitled Putting young children at the center of environmental and climate change actions, this webinar aims to kickstart ARNEC, UNICEF EAPRO and Save the Children’s Asia-Pacific regional initiative around advocating for young children’s rights to clean, safe and sustainable environments, focused on climate change and other environmental issues (indoor and outdoor pollution, a lack of clean and protective play and recreation spaces and exposure to environmental toxins such as lead and mercury).
This webinar will introduce the building blocks for the initiative, exploring the interlinkages among ECD, climate change and other environmental risks focusing on the vulnerability of the youngest children to these two challenges, how they have been excluded in global discourse and actions such as COP26, and why ECD provides an opportunity to build resilience, adaptation and mitigation for sustainable development.
This webinar builds on ARNEC’s leadership in the 2019 Ha Noi Call to Action and subsequent collaborative Regional and Global Calls to Action released in the lead up to and during COP26; these Calls urged sustainable and measurable actions at global, regional, and country levels to reduce global warming, lessen the impacts of climate change, and secure a healthy and liveable planet for young children. Post COP26 negotiations, ARNEC, Save and UNICEF will lay out our proposed plan of action over the next three years for this initiative on clean, safe, and sustainable environments for early childhood development.
We will invite participants to join the new Community of Practice (CoP) working in partnership to address the impacts of environmental and climate challenges on young children through knowledge generation, advocacy, partnerships, and capacity building, so that in the lead up to and during COP27, young children are included in the global response and national plans. More broadly, this Community of Practice will create a movement to promote actions at the different stakeholder levels supporting this regional initiative to increase awareness, investment and political commitment in the areas of policy, programs and financing that address the impacts of the environmental and climate crises on young children.
This webinar aims to have participants from both the ECD sector (health, nutrition, care and education) who may be working with ECD and involved in policy-making, planning, implementing and environmental and climate change experts, to bridge the gap and learn more about the intersection between sustainable development and ECD, and how to involve the youngest children in climate and environmental responses.
The objectives of this webinar are as follows:
• Understand the linkages between climate change, environmental issues and ECD and why ECD is an opportunity to build resilience, adaptation and mitigation for sustainable development
• Outline what ARNEC and partners will be doing over the next three years to support the youngest children in the region to address the impact of environment and climate challenges
• Launch the Community of Practice (CoP) on ECD, climate change and environmental issues – outline the aim of the CoP and some upcoming activities and invite participants to be part of this CoP
• Invite participants to help us identify environmental and climate policy makers who can champion the central importance of ECD in the fight against climate and environmental challenges.
Watch the recording of the webinar on ARNEC's Youtube channel: https://youtu.be/_o06l4s9Jc4
Video - How does climate change affect children in Malaysia? (https://youtu.be/6FwbTgKSz-o)
Video - Voices Rising - a nursery rhyme animation on the climate crisis (https://youtu.be/RSBZzZ7JwRw)
World Bank - Moving Toward Climate Budgeting : Policy Note
The COVID-19 pandemic threatens this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for children in early childhood to develop healthy brains, bodies, and lives. While countries in East Asia and the Pacific have made substantial progress in investing in ECD, more than 150 million children younger than 5 years have been affected at the height of nationwide lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, services supporting the development and learning of young children will likely suffer more than other education levels as they remain closed or in limited duration for fear of children contracting COVID-19.
The new report by UNICEF EAPRO, “Reopening Childcare and Early Learning Services: UNICEF Guidelines for East Asia and the Pacific” has been developed based on LACRO’s publication and adapted to suit the East Asia and the Pacific regional needs and context. It is intended for UNICEF country offices in the region to support their role in providing technical assistance to government partners and other organizations. The publication provides guidelines for reopening of services for young children aged 2 years up until the official primary school entry, either 5 of 6 years, and their families while it also includes a checklist to conduct rapid analysis of the services’ conditions and designing plans for a safe reopening.
Safe reopening of childcare and early learning services and preparing the response to future emergencies should be prioritized as prolonged closures of childcares, preschools, and early learning services can exacerbate the developmental and learning loss, especially for the most vulnerable children.
For more resources, please visit: https://www.unicef.org/eap/reports/reopening-childcare-and-early-learning-services
Early childhood development (ECD) is the most critical and influential developmental stage in a child’s life and investing in it cannot be delayed. Nurturing care for young children has a profound impact on a child’s physical, socioemotional and cognitive development. In the Asia-Pacific region, more than 150 million children younger than 5 years have been affected at the height of nationwide lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new report by UNICEF EAPRO, “Growing Steady and Strong: UNICEF Early childhood development regional guidance in East Asia and the Pacific” aims to provide a vision for action to UNICEF country offices in the region and key external stakeholders in implementing the ECD agenda as a key pillar for UNICEF in 2022-2025. The document includes context-adaptable tools and resources, as well as country examples and good practices to enhance ECD policies and programming in the region. Developed against the backdrop of COVID-19, the document aspires to outline pathways and strategies to address persistent challenges, as well as those emerging from rapidly emerging landscape – due to the global pandemic, worsening climate change, and rapid proliferation of digital technology.