Climate change is forcing nearly half of young Africans to rethink their plans to have children someday, a global poll conducted by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revealed, underlining their uncertainty about the future of a planet in crisis.
According to the UNICEF U-Report poll contacted between July and August this year, globally, two in five young people said climate impacts have made them reconsider their desire to have children.
Concern was highest in African regions, where nearly half of respondents said they were now on the fence.
“The impacts of climate change are with us now, but they are far more than floods, droughts and heatwaves. They extend to our very sense of hope,” said Paloma Escudero, Director of the Division of Global Communications and Advocacy at UNICEF who was also the head of UNICEF’s COP27 delegation, announcing the results recently.
“Especially in Africa, young people are seeing the impact these shocks are having on themselves and those they love, and it is changing their plans for the future. But it doesn’t have to. World leaders must listen to this anxiety from young people and take immediate action to protect them.”
U-Report is a UNICEF digital platform that supports youth engagement on programme priorities, emergency response and advocacy action.
Through the poll, young people were asked questions relating to their attitudes about climate change, which were sent via SMS and instant messaging technology.
Some 243,512 young people from 163 countries participated in the poll.
Last year, the medical journal The Lancet published a global survey which found that nearly 40 per cent of the 10,000 respondents were hesitant to have children.
This is a similar rate to the UNICEF poll, which is believed to be the first study to demonstrate the prevalence of the current sentiments.