‘Burned by the Sun, Drowned by the Rain’: Enhancing Children’s Legal Protection Against Climate Change
The objective of this policy brief is to make a case for addressing the pressing issue of child environmental rights in international law. There are 2.2 billion children on this planet, 90 per cent of whom are living in low and lower-middle income countries. While they constitute the human group with the biggest expecting growth over the next 30 years, they yet remain the most underrepresented one. Children also struggle making their voices heard, being taken seriously and simply catching the attention of the adult generation. Their fears, hopes, dreams, expectations but also innovative ideas for potential solutions and mitigation strategies regarding climate change are constantly underestimated. Up to this date, despite their will to be part of decision-making processes and legal initiatives, no right to environment applied to children is explicitly codified, recognised as such and endorsed per se as a legal international instrument. The policy brief highlights five reasons justifying concrete change in policy making in order to safeguard children’s future. The environmental issue should be apprehended as an ethical duty for the adult generation: the risks faced by poor children and children in poor environments threatens their quality of life as well as their health and their chances to survive, the threats faced by indigenous communities involve serious risks altering their culture and their lifestyle, and the positive role of child activism should be valorised. In order to address children’s concerns regarding climate change, the policy brief suggests a set of measures and initiatives which could lead to social and environmental change regarding local and national policy making, child participation, social group actions and international organisations’ capability.