“Addressing how the climate crisis acts as a threat multiplier for violence against children cannot wait!” - SRSG Maalla M’jid calls for urgent climate action in her annual report to the General Assembly

New York, 7 October 2022 -  In her annual report to the General Assembly, SRSG Maalla M’jid stresses the brutal impact that the climate crisis has on child protection and well-being of children worldwide.

The report outlines how investment in child-sensitive and gender-sensitive protection and violence prevention is needed today more than ever, with the coronavirus disease COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing humanitarian crises magnifying children’s exposure and vulnerability to violence.

The report provides clear examples on how children’s vulnerability to climate and environmental shocks is greater than the one faced by adults and that children especially the poorest, the most disadvantaged and those living in high-risk and fragile contexts outlines suffer the most. 

“The climate crisis is a threat multiplier for violence against children. Children – who bear the least responsibility for the climate crisis – are among those hit hardest by its impacts, with around 1 billion of them exposed to its risks. More than 10 million children were displaced as a result of weather-related events. The climate crisis is magnifying children’s exposure to violence and is exacerbating the vulnerability of children already impacted by existing and long-lasting crises.” highlights Dr. Maalla M’jid.

To overcome the challenges, SRSG Maalla M’jid places special emphasis on three overarching recommendations: investing in children through involving, empowering and listening to them as part of the solution to tackling the climate crisis; expanding advocacy, advisory and bridge-building engagement across borders and sectors to tackle the impact of threats to children’s rights to live free from fear and violence and enhancing cooperation within the UN system by promoting a systematic, rights-based and lifecycle approach.

SRSG Maalla M’jid recalls that children from all parts of the world have united and taken the lead on an unprecedented scale, fighting back on the drivers of climate change and calling for urgent climate action despite the barriers they face.  Despite the visibility of some young activists, many children are still invisible.

“Action cannot wait! Too many children worldwide are still left behind. And climate change is leaving them even more isolated and neglected. Children need to be at the center of all our efforts, including in the discussions regarding future generations.” added the Special Representative. 

SRSG Maalla M’jid expressed her appreciation for the critical support of Member States and the strong partnerships developed with UN agencies and human rights mechanisms, regional organizations, national institutions, civil society partners and children themselves, through country missions, high-level regional and national policy dialogues, and other initiatives organized in close cooperation with UN teams

In the report, SRSG Maalla M’jid recalls that since last year’s session of the General Assembly she met with the Permanent Missions of 44 Member States that presented their Voluntary National Reviews at the 2022 High Level Political Forum with whom her mandate identified ways to increasingly address the key intersectionality of violence against children and the achievement of the SDGs, as well as promote effective participation of children in these processes.

Furthermore, Dr. Malalla M’jid stresses her “particular encouragement by the enthusiasm and engagement of partners with the compelling investment case for integrated social services to address violence against children.”

SRSG Maalla M’jid also highlighted progress achieved in the consolidation of the human rights foundation for the protection of children from violence, including her strong engagement with children, including through the preparation of child-friendly materials, including the annual report in all six official UN languages, and presenting them in a special session to children.

Watch the presentation to the Third Committee 

Download the e-publication of the Annual report