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Panel discussion on Climate Change and the Rights of the Child

Panel discussion on Climate Change and the Rights of the Child

Statement by Ireland

2 March 2017 

Mr. President,

Ireland welcomes this opportunity to discuss the relationship between climate change and the rights of the Child. Climate change impacts, directly and indirectly, on many fundamental human rights. Children's rights to physical protection, food, water and sanitation, education and health care are threatened by the impacts of Climate Change.

Mr. President

Climate change is today’s common challenge faced by all of humanity. However, the adverse impact of climate change is being felt more intensely by vulnerable women and children. Not only are the poorest people the least historically responsible for climate change, they are often the most vulnerable to its effects. The rights of the child are eroded by the effects of climate change placing an additional burden on existing water availability, food security and health challenges, and threatening previously won development gains. For example, climate change contributes to increased burden of responsibility on women to secure food, water, and energy for cooking and girls are often forced to drop out of school to help their families.

Human displacement related to natural disasters and climate change impacts is increasingly accepted as a great challenge of the 21st Century. As we are witnessing in the current unprecedented levels of humanitarian crises, children are particularly vulnerable especially at times of human mobility, and the rights of the child are often undermined in these circumstances.

As we have stated previously, the inclusion of the reference to human rights in the preamble of the Paris Agreement was a significant milestone. We must seek to build further on this achievement as the Paris Agreement is implemented. We would be interested to hear the panel’s views on identifying concrete ways in which human rights standards and mechanisms can contribute to our collective response in seeking to address the negative impacts of climate change on the rights of the child.

Thank you.