The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has decided to reinforce its efforts on environmental issues and the global climate crisis and to join the millions of children and young people who have mobilized around the world demanding that governments do more, both domestically and internationally. At the end of its 87th online session held from 17 May to 4 June, ahead of World Environment Day celebrated on June 5, the Committee resolved to prepare its next General Comment under a working title "Children's rights and the environment with a special focus on climate change".
The Committee regularly meets with many delegations of children whereby climate change is often front and center of the exchanges. Children refer to the dramatic events they witness and that impact on their daily lives such as rising ocean levels, loss of biodiversity, worsening air pollution, increased hurricane activity, and the frequency and size of wildfires. This was the case when the Committee held its 84th Extraordinary Session in Samoa in March 2020.
Over the coming months, the Committee will consult with States, outside experts, interested parties, and especially hundreds of children to produce its General Comment No 26 on children's rights and the environment with a special focus on climate change. This General Comment will provide authoritative guidance to the governments of the 196 countries that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In addition, it will serve as an impetus for global-level change and as a powerful tool for children and young people as well as their advocates to hold governments and other relevant actors accountable.
Throughout this process, the Committee on the Rights of the Child is committed to continue to review how individual States parties implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child including by listening to proposals formulated by children and acting on their demands for upholding their rights to a safe, healthy and sustainable environment. Ms. Mikiko Otani, Chair of the Committee, echoes the urgent message of the children by forcefully stating: "Join us in the quest for global solutions to the climate crisis!".