The social and economic impacts of climate change are making it more difficult for children in poverty to experience their basic human rights, including those related to food, health, water and housing.

People experiencing poverty are on the frontlines of climate change, being among the first and worst impacted by environmental degradation. Temperature and weather extremes are hitting hardest in places where food and water are already limited, like in sub-Saharan Africa and low-lying countries in the Pacific. What’s more, people living in poverty often have limited resources for adapting to climate-related hazards, such as insurance, a warm, dry home, and a full pantry. This means that communities are less able to bounce back when disaster strikes.

For children in poverty, climate change makes life even harder and more dangerous. Children are less able to protect themselves from extreme weather events and are more susceptible to disease, famine and drought. Families may need to migrate elsewhere, take their children out of school, and/or get them to help at home. In some cases, families must resort to child marriage or child labour just to survive. Children often do not get to have a say in such decisions, which can lead to situations that make them more vulnerable to climate change.
Climate change is already impacting the lives and livelihoods of our Pacific neighbours. Coastal infrastructure and land is being damaged, there are more intense cyclones and droughts, crops and coastal fisheries that families rely on are being impacted, alongside coral reefs and mangroves that support the ecosystems on which families rely for food and shelter.

Our Pacific partners have shared stories with us about failing crops as the soil becomes too salty, islands where they grew up slowly eroding away, and sudden and severe cyclones uprooting their families’ graves. People don’t want to move to other countries and see climate migration as a last resort. However, some communities must already relocate their homes further inland to protect their lives and livelihoods.

Future generations of Pacific children are particularly at risk of harm from these environmental changes. Pacific children are at greatest risk of the impacts of climate change on food supply. Malnutrition, diarrhoeal disease and malaria will likely increase because of climate change.

On top of this, relocating or migrating elsewhere disrupts children’s connections to their identities. Being connected to their ancestral lands is important for children’s cultural and spiritual well-being. However, some low-lying countries and islands are at risk of disappearing completely due to rising sea levels. If they do have to leave, community elders are worried that their grandchildren will lose touch with their identity, language and cultural heritage, which are treasures to protect.
World Vision New Zealand has committed to accelerate climate action through all levels of its work. This applies to its advocacy objectives, youth engagements, internal policies and processes, external programming work, and fundraising activities.

In particular, we are partnering with communities to help them adapt to changing weather patterns, restore ecosystems, reduce their impact on the environment, and to become resilient to natural disasters and extreme weather that may impact their homes, water supply and livelihoods.

We are also advocating with governments for equitable climate action. We want to help strengthen the autonomy and participation of women, children, and people with disabilities who are disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis.
Climate action aims to prevent the most severe impacts of climate change. Climate action includes mitigating and adapting to climate change. Mitigation involves taking action to reduce carbon emissions which helps to deal with the issue of climate change at its source while adaptation helps communities to live with the changing climate.