A Child Rights and Equity-Based Assessment of the Impact of Global Climate Change on Children’s Health and Well-Being (pp. 541-551)
Authors: Jeffrey Goldhagen
Abstract: It is virtually certain that global climate change and its impact on the health and well-being of children will intensify. Human rights and equity-based analysis of the effects of climate change provide a unique and strategic approach to understand its complexities and to respond. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) provides a framework for this inquiry. Objective: To develop a collection of rights and equity-based tools that can be used to analyze and address the current and projected impact of climate change on children’s health and well-being. Method: An ontological process is used to categorize and link the articles of the UNCRC to factors related to the pathways, outcomes impact,and ethics of climate change on children. Results: UNCRC articles are categorized into five matrices that relate the impact of climate change to: a) economic, cultural, social, protective and civil-political rights, b) Protection, Provision and Participation rights, c) pathways and outcomes of climate change and related rights, d) prevention, intervention and mitigation strategies related to children’s physical, behavioral and social health and relevant child health needs and rights, and e) UNCRC articles and ethics principles. Conclusions: The principles of children’s rights provide the tools required to understand and respond to the effects of climate change on the health and well-being of children. The UNCRC is a universally accepted framework to support these efforts. It is through the fulfillment of children’s rights that child health equity can be achieved in the face of global climate change.