In COP 28 Friday’s theme day “Children and Youth”, World Vision draws attention to the dramatic situation of this age group in the Middle East. According to the report published today by the NGO, Growing in the climate crisis, Children and young people in the Middle East report “climate effects” more often such as sand storms, heat waves and lack of water.
The Middle East, with its climate centers in Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and the West Bank, has suffered especially over the years. the consequences of the climate crisis. Extreme heat, more frequent and intense sandstorms, drought and reduced rainfall have particularly affected the region, which suffers from chronic water shortages and is already warming twice the global average. This, in turn, has a disproportionately harmful effect on children.
Ekkehard Forberg, climate expert at World Vision: “Climate change in the Middle East region has a negative impact on children in many ways. First, affect their health due to extreme temperatures, hunger and water scarcity. But there are also indirect consequences, for example, many children and young people cannot go to school regularly because the roads were destroyed by flash floods.”
The World Vision report, which surveyed 1,095 children and youth in five countries and regions, also showed that Climate change increases food insecurity and making access to water difficult. In Syria and Lebanon, more than 90% of children and youth say they receive less food than they need, followed by Iraq and the West Bank, with almost 70%. In addition, an average of 94% of those surveyed stated that they had difficulties accessing drinking water.
In the report, many young people expressed their desire not to give up on climate change, but to actively transform their concerns and fears into collective actions, aimed at finding solutions. However, there is a lack of sufficient platforms and opportunities that allow them to participate. In this context, Ekkehard Forberg argues that “governments, cities and municipalities, as well as aid organizations, must include children and young people at all levels of climate policy and decision-making. No this will always happen, although their generation and future generations will bear whatever the adults have done.
World Vision projects include creating environmental clubs, children’s parliaments and sending youth ambassadors to conferences such as COP 28.