UNICEF commends the Government of Iraq for signing the Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action
20 November 2023
On the eve of World Children’s Day, the Government of Iraq takes important strides to accelerate progress towards the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the country
Baghdad, 19 November 2023 – UNICEF commends the Government of Iraq for signing the Declaration on Children, Youth, and Climate Action. It demonstrates the strong commitment of the Government to the Convention on the Rights of the Child as it comes on the eve of World Children’s Day and ahead of COP28.
The Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action was signed by the Minister of Environment, His Excellency Mr. Nizar Amidi, in the presence of line ministries, children and young people. It is a major step forward in Iraq’s efforts to respond to the impact of the global climate crisis., and in upholding priorities identified by children and youth across the world.
“UNICEF commends the Government of Iraq for taking meaningful measures to realize the rights of children and young people on the eve of World Children’s Day,” says Sandra Lattouf, UNICEF in Iraq Representative. “The climate crisis is a child rights crisis as rising temperatures, water scarcity, and extreme weather events hamper the realization of children’s basic rights.”
The Government of Iraq signed up to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in June 1994. Since then, the Government has taken several steps to realize the rights of children in Iraq. This includes the establishment of the Child Welfare Commission and the National Child Data Portal, as well as the reforms of child rights and child protection Laws to align with international standards.
“I call on all actors to scale up investment in child- and youth-responsive adaptation, disaster risk reduction and mitigation measures while focusing on the most marginalized,” adds Lattouf. “On World Children’s Day and every day, UNICEF remains committed to supporting the Government of Iraq to realize the rights of children and young people and accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.”
World Children’s Day (WCD) has been UNICEF’s global day of action for children, by children. 20 November marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is a day that highlights critical issues affecting children’s lives and supports the engagement of children and young people as advocates for their own rights.
The Declaration was launched in December 2019 during COP25, at a high-level event convened by the COP25 Presidency of the Government of Chile in Madrid, Spain.
UNICEF, in collaboration with YOUNGO and the Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative coalition (CERI), supported the Presidency, champion governments and young people from around the world to launch the Declaration in a bid to accelerate inclusive child- and youth-responsive climate policies and action at all levels. The Declaration is based on core priorities identified by YOUNGO members and children and youth globally.
The Declaration represents a first-of-its-kind set of commitments by States to consistently consider children’s specific needs, rights and perspectives in their climate policies and action at all levels. This comprehensive framework seeks to respond to the fact that the climate crisis is a child rights crisis, while also recognizing the enormous capacity of children and youth to be powerful agents of change. It also seeks to address the widespread omission of children from climate policies, strategies and plans.
It is imperative that we put children at the heart of climate action and invest in practical solutions that protect children from the effects of climate change. Operationalizing the Declaration would have a transformative effect for children’s rights and our ability to meet both the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit http://www.unicef.org/iraq.