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Research Report

Climate change and urban children: Impacts and implications for adaptation in low- and middle-income countries

Sheridan Bartlett
Copyright Date: Aug. 1, 2008
Pages: 81
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 6-9)

    This paper explores the particular and often disproportionate implications of extreme weather events and other aspects of climate change for urban children in low- and middle-income countries. In recent decades, there has been an increase in the intensity of extreme weather events that have contributed to injury, illness, impoverishment, displacement and hunger for hundreds of millions of people. We do not know precisely the contribution of rising greenhouse gas emissions to the mounting risks that people are facing. But it is clear that human-induced climate change is playing a role and that there is an urgent need for the reduction...

  2. (pp. 10-12)

    Discussion of children’s well-being and development is often couched in terms of vulnerability and resilience. Features of their daily lives can be seen either as risk factors that pose threats to their wellbeing and optimal development, or as protective factors, which buffer them from these threats and contribute to their resilience and capacity to cope and thrive.18 These concepts can be particularly useful in considering children who routinely face challenges and hardships, and they are very apt for a discussion of the implications of climate change.

    This approach is conceptually compatible with an assets and vulnerability approach to considering households...

  3. (pp. 12-47)

    This section of the paper considers the range of risks that climate change-related factors pose for children, both directly and indirectly, and the potential impact of these risks. It considers several areas ― children’s health and survival, their learning and competence, their emotional security and the social support they receive within families and communities. There are considerable overlaps here ― none of these areas can truly be considered in isolation. Poor health affects cognitive development, for instance, and an absence of love and attention may well be reflected in diminished health.

    There is not enough hard knowledge about the implications...

  4. (pp. 47-70)

    Existing knowledge in a range of areas, limited though it may be, provides a basis for discussing the likely impacts of climate change for children. The same process applies when considering the practical adaptations that are most likely to reduce the risks for children and build their resilience in the face of climate change ― as well as the capacity of families, communities and children themselves to contribute to these responses.

    Where children are concerned, as with the urban poor more generally, it is clear that adaptation and risk reduction primarily involve more effective local development measures.

    In reducing vulnerability...

  5. (pp. 71-71)

    There are many vulnerable populations in the context of climate change ― the poor, the elderly, pregnant women, those in particular locations. Children are not unique in this sense. However, they constitute an extremely large percentage of those who are most vulnerable, and the implications, especially for the youngest children, can be long term. If speculation about the impacts of climate change fails to take into account the particular vulnerabilities (as well as capacities) of children at different ages, measures for prevention and adaptation may prove to be inadequate in critical ways, and may even result in additional stresses for...