UNICEF is launching a new climate financing initiative to enhance countries' climate resilience and disaster preparedness for children and youth and bolster protection for children from the impacts of future climate-related disasters.
The Today and Tomorrow initiative is an integrated climate change finance solution that, for the first time, combines funding for immediate climate resilience and risk prevention programmes for children today, with innovative use of risk transfer finance provided by the insurance market for cyclone disasters tomorrow.
The combined financing platform is designed to help countries address the current and growing impacts of the climate crisis while preparing for future emergencies and rapidly responding to them when they occur.
“The risks of climate change are no longer hypothetical. They are here. And even while we work to build communities’ resilience against climate disasters, we have to become much better in pre-empting risks for our children,” said Karin Hulshof, UNICEF deputy executive director for Partnerships. “We know more climate disasters are in the making. We just do not know where or when they will hit.”
Children and youth are a critically vulnerable population group that is among the most affected by disaster risk and climate change, including the effects of extreme weather events such as cyclones. Last year, UNICEF’s Children’s Climate Risk Index estimated 400 million children (nearly 1 in 6 children globally) are currently highly exposed to cyclones.
In its initial three-year pilot, UNICEF’s Today and Tomorrow will focus on eight countries in four global cyclone basins – Bangladesh, Comoros, Haiti, Fiji, Madagascar, Mozambique, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.
UNICEF is raising $30 million for the initiative and is calling for additional private and public partners to take action and join UNICEF in helping to close the intensifying humanitarian financing gap for disaster protection for children and youth.
Climate harm in childhood lasts for life and perpetuates and deepens inequality and poverty across generations. However, the unique needs of children are not directly addressed by existing Risk Transfer mechanisms. This leaves a global humanitarian financing gap, or “Child Protection Gap,” that encompasses hundreds of millions of children and youth.
Cyclones and the disasters they trigger, such as floods and landslides, represent the fastest-growing category of climate-influenced disasters and are a major cause of losses and damages worldwide. UNICEF’s research has shown that investments that reduce exposure to and negative impacts from cyclones and other hazards can considerably reduce overall climate risk for millions of children.
UNICEF’s Today and Tomorrow is the first pre-arranged and event-based climate disaster risk financing mechanism that specifically targets this Child Protection Gap, with full support for the Tomorrow portion of the risk transfer instrument, secured from the German and UK governments under the newly launched G7-V20 Global Shield against Climate Risks.