Save the Children International
As acknowledged by the Secretary-General's Call to Action for human rights, the climate crisis affects everyone, including future generations, and is equally a climate justice intergenerational crisis that severely risks deepening inequalities across borders and generations.
The impacts of the climate crisis are already present in different regions of the world. However, its adverse effects are not felt equally. It is estimated that approximately 1 billion children live in one of the 33 countries classified as ‘extremely high-risk’ to climate change.
Environmental harm adversely affects the life trajectory of children much more than adults. The loss of biodiversity, pollution, as well as climate change are significant interrelated contributors to the world experiencing political and economic instability, growing inequality, declining food and water security and increased threats to health and livelihoods.
It is reported that every year no less than 1.5 million under the age of 5 years die as a result of air pollution, water pollution, exposure to toxic substances, and other types of environmental harm. While all children are exceptionally vulnerable to climate change, children with disabilities, children on the move, children living in poverty, children separated from their families, and the youngest are most at risk.
Despite the catastrophic implications for children’s rights posed by climate change, recognition of children’s rights barely feature in key international, regional and national decision-making frameworks related to climate change, including the Paris Agreement and workstreams under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as well as the SDGs. This oversight is a violation of the guiding principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC), notably that the best interest of the child – as well as their right to be heard – should be primary considerations in any decision that affects them.
The passion and activism of the global movement of children and youth calling for ambitious climate action (which started with the Fridays for Future climate strikes) has helped to challenge this status quo, catapulting children’s concerns into the political arena. However in most cases, children are absent from key policy processes and their specific concerns and needs continue to be unheard.
Key Geneva influencing opportunities to advance children’s rights standards in the context of climate change and UN human rights frameworks
General Comment No.26 – Committee on the Rights of the Child
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC Committee) decided to dedicate its next General Comment to children’s rights and the environment with a special focus on climate change. The General Comment is an official United Nations authoritative guidance and will interpret the key principles and provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in the context of the contemporary and multiple challenges posed by the environmental and climate crisis, articulating the links between environmental harm and its negative impact on the full and effective realization of children’s rights and explaining what States must do to comply with their UNCRC obligations, notably to respect, protect and fulfil children’s right to a clean, green, healthy, and sustainable environment.
The objectives of the General Comment are described on the OHCHR website.
The Committee is inviting people from around the world to inform the content of the General Comment during 2022, including through thematic and regional consultations as well as online consultations with children.
During 2022 Save the Children is actively engaged in the development of the General Comment, through written submissions, co-hosting and taking part in consultations, and supporting children’s participation.
Key entry points and existing areas of engagement for Save the Children and for children themselves:
- Experts Advisory Board (Save the Children is a member)
- Thematic consultations
- Regional workshops
- Global Online Consultations
- Child Rights Connect Working Group (co-chaired by Save the Children Sweden). Through this Working group, Save also engages with CRC Committee Working group on Child rights and the environment and SR on human rights and the environment and on toxics and the environment and on input and follow-up to relevant UN resolutions.
- Children and Young People’s Online Consultations
- Children’s Advisory’s Team
- Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative coalition (CERI) , where Save is represented by Save Sweden
Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change
The UN Human Rights Council established a new Special Procedure mandate (RES/48/14) on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change at its 48th session in October 2021 and appointed in March 2022 Mr. Ian Fry as the first Special Rapporteur to exercise this mandate.
The Special Rapporteur is tasked, among others things, to study and identify how the adverse effects of climate change affect the full and effective enjoyment of human rights and make recommendations on ways to strengthen the integration of human rights concerns into policymaking, legislation and plans addressing climate change;
Through his mandate he is also required to integrate a gender-responsive, age-sensitive, disability inclusive and social-inclusion perspective in its work and to promote and exchange views on lessons learned and best practices related to the adoption of human rights-based, gender-responsive, age-sensitive, disability-inclusive and risk-informed approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation policies.
This mandate will be a key strategic partner to engage with in order to place children’s rights within the global human rights discourse, notably the reports, discussions and resolutions presented to and adopted by the Human Rights Council.
The Climate and Child Rights Advisor will undertake advocacy activities and provide overall guidance to Save the Children’s global advocacy and support to country offices in the context of its work on child rights and climate change in 2022, with a specific focus on supporting Save the Children’s global engagement in the development of the CRC General Comment no. 26, including the internal outreach and the relationship with key partners leading this process. The climate advisor will support the work of Save the Children at the Human Rights Council and its Special Procedures mandate holders, notably the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change.
Specific duties and deliverables
- Coordinate and consolidate Save the Children’s inputs and engagement from country offices in facilitating consultations with children and young people to feed into the draft General Comment 26
- Develop an engagement plan with the new Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change to put child rights as a key priority of the SR mandate
- Strengthen the connections and synergies between Save the children’s Generation Hope campaign and global advocacy on climate change, the General Comment 26 development process and other relevant discussions on climate change at different levels (COP, UNGA etc..)
- Provide technical guidance for country offices on the General Comment and the HRC related discussions on climate change and support internal capacity building on the links between climate change the environment and child rights, including the relevant How to child rights tools, and how this translates into our programmes and advocacy
- Map out the different stakeholders and coalitions working on the environment and climate change in Geneva and build strategic partnerships between the Geneva Office and key stakeholders
- In collaboration with partners, map out child-led networks active on climate change and explore connections and collaboration with these networks in Geneva processes
- Document Save the Children’s work and impact in relation to the General Comment process and other influencing opportunities
Required Skills and qualifications
- Commitment to child rights and to the aims, mission and goal of Save the Children, in particular Save the Children’s child safeguarding policy.
- Advanced university degree in human rights law, Environmental Law, International Relations or relevant field;
- At least 5 years of professional work in the field of the environment and climate change at the national, regional and international levels.
- Advanced knowledge of the international and regional child rights mechanisms and advocacy towards these mechanisms, particularly the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
- Proven experience of designing child participation methodologies for conducting interviews with children;
- Ability to work in a multicultural context, with good interpersonal skills;
- Excellent communication and writing skills.
- Fluency in English is essential. Knowledge of French or Spanish would be an asset.
The assignment will be a six-month assignment, beginning end of June 2022 and shall be completed by December 2022.
The climate change advisor will report to Diarra Diop, Senior Child Rights Advocacy Advisor, Save the Children, Geneva Advocacy Office. The process will be managed by Diarra Diop and conducted in collaboration with Save the Children focal points on climate and environmental related issues, the Committee on the Rights of the Child and Child Rights Connect Working Group on the Environment.
Contract and terms of payment
The contract will be signed between the consultant and Save the Children International. Save the Children International’s conditions and terms of payment shall apply.
Please send your CV and cover letter to Geneva.Associate@savethechildren.org
The deadline is 30 May 2022.
 Concept note -CRC General Comment No.26: https://www.ohchr.org/en/treaty-bodies/crc/concept-note-general-comment-childrens-rights-and-environment-special-focus-climate-change
 The Committee produces General Comments to explain the rights contained in the CRC and its Optional Protocols and provide guidance with respect to particular issues. General Comments are key standards that help States improve both the way they write their reports and the way they implement the treaties.