Global Launch of CAP-2030
An Interview with Melinda Henry, Senior Adviser Launch and Communication, CAP-2030
10 05 2021
Global Launch of CAP-2030

CAP-2030 works to centre children’s health and well-being in all policies, to ensure an equitable, sustainable future. We implement the recommendations of the WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission by promoting children’s rights and protecting their health through science, advocacy and coalition-building. - extract taken from their website.

Watch the full documentary here.

What can we expect at the CAP-2030 launch?

Climate change can perhaps be considered the most significant global health challenge of our time. The 2.4 billion children living on our planet are expected to bear the vast majority of the burden of disease from climate change: nearly 90%, and each and every child will be affected in one way or the other.

Children are already suffering from climate change—there are numerous direct and indirect impacts including food and water insecurity, vector-borne and waterborne diseases, heat stress, respiratory disease, allergies, and mental ill health. Some impacts happen in utero and can last throughout the child’s entire lifetime.

Therefore, at the Children in All Policies 2030 global launch, which comes just before Earth Day and the Leaders Summit for Climate, our panel of health and climate experts from all over the world will have a passionate and informed conversation about the massive threat of climate change to child health and well-being and what we must all urgently do about it.

In addition, a short documentary on new threats to child health, including climate change will be premiered. The film is based on a landmark WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission report entitled A future for the world’s children? The future of children is in question due not only to the existential threat of climate change, but also the challenges of harmful commercial marketing, road traffic accidents, air pollution, poor housing, lack of play areas, insecurity and violence.

Last, but not least, CAP-2030 will be presented for the first time globally and will announce the nine pilot countries its work will take place in with the goal of ensuring an equitable, sustainable future for children.

Why is it so timely to invest in children’s health and their futures? What are the stakes?

Action is required in all sectors to protect children from these threats. If delayed, we risk reversing progress made in child survival over the last two, three decades globally. We also risk creating a whole generation, even generations of children and people, who have not achieved the highest level of health they could have attained. When health problems start young, there can be many years ahead of ill health, with the cost of chronic diseases being high. Investing in children’s health and prevention pays big dividends, according to calculations.

The cost of climate change will be much greater if we put off the transition to renewable energy and continue using fossil fuels. According to United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, natural disasters in 2020 cost the United States around US $100 billion. People in places like low-lying areas of Bangladesh are already having their farming land and houses completely submerged, losing their livelihoods and driving large-scale displacement. Many countries are experiencing adverse effects. We are already committed today to 0.5°C of global warming with this likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052, if current trends continue. To avoid getting into deeper trouble, we truly have no more time to lose in tackling the climate crisis.

The good news is that each and every one of us can do things, now, that will both help to halt climate change and improve our health, such as switching to green energy; getting around more with active transport, like walking or cycling; and eating more plant-based diets. It’s also important to speak out, as many climate activists are doing, and vote for governments who prioritize climate and health by making and delivering on local, national, and global commitments.

What conversations should we be having today around this subject matter, and with whom?

Besides having conversations about the climate crisis and children’s health with our politicians at local, state and national levels and across sectors, we need to consult children. Their concerns, hopes and ideas must be heard and factored into policies, including for climate change mitigation, adaptation and disaster preparedness. Children’s needs are not the same as those of adults and we must cater to them better.

We need to draw attention to the multiple impacts that the climate emergency is having on child health and well-being, the high cost to individuals and societies, and encourage action on solutions that child health experts and other scientists have identified. Importantly, we need to stress the need to act urgently before more damage is done.

One good place in which to have conversations is educational settings, from primary schools to universities, and beyond, in adult continuing education, as we have a long way to go on broad climate literacy — which is one of the keys to driving change.

How are CAP-2030 and #LearningPlanet planning to work together to achieve common goals?

CAP-2030 and #LearningPlanet share many goals — notably around educating and mobilizing people of all generations for a sustainable future — and ways of working, with an emphasis on inclusive and collaborative methods of sharing knowledge. CAP-2030 and #LP are therefore working together to build coalitions across generations to imagine and build better futures and contribute towards achieving the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

Concretely, this means connecting like-minded people by co-hosting a Youth Advocacy Circle, to facilitate the input of youth-led organizations into scientific and decision-making bodies working on the biggest issues of our day. The work of coalition-building will also include joint support for youth assemblies; holding webinars and other events to build momentum and links amongst stakeholders; and conducting advocacy, for example around World Children’s Day.

Image credit: ogan Abassi / UN Photo

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