Commitments made at COP26 instrumental in determining the future for children

Children in flood in Mozambique

The UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, commonly referred to as COP26, is currently underway and will run from 31 October to 12 November 2021. Sometimes called “the world’s last best hope,” COP26 is the stage for world leaders to commit to actions to prevent the global temperature from rising beyond the 1.5˚C, a target deemed “the only livable future for humanity.”

“Future” is the key word in that phrase, as mounting evidence demonstrates that climate change, if nothing is done to curb negative effects, will weigh more heavily on younger generations. Children and young adults will face increasing challenges in health and nutrition as crop scarcities become more common due to extreme weather events (flooding, droughts, wildfires, etc). Forced migration will also become increasingly frequent among children. The World Bank’s updated Groundswell report determined that approximately 216 million people could be forced to migrate by 2050 because of climate change disasters.[1] Another major concern is the unclear economic path forward, “as current model of growth that links economic development to environmental exploitation is no longer viable.[2]

As climate change becomes more and more common in the public consciousness, education remains one of the central themes in efforts to mitigate negative effects. Not only is education regarding the negative impacts of climate change important, but the role of quality equitable has been highlighted as critical as well. Quality learning opportunities are crucial in arming children with the skills, knowledge, and agency needed to make informed decisions about how to best prepare for and combat climate change adversity. The role of education will be a common discussion point at COP26 in a series of themed events, as listed by the Global Partnership for Education.

There are a wide variety of sources for information to learn about and follow the COP26. We recommend the following to stay informed and show support: