As thousands of delegates arrive in Durban for the start of the COP17 climate summit today (28 November), UNICEF is urging them to prioritise the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable, especially women and children, who often suffer the brunt of climate change.

The COP17 talks will see governments come together to work towards a new legally-binding climate deal, and take forward discussions on protecting children from climate change.

Children already face climate risks such as cyclones, storm surges and extreme temperatures, which affect their survival and wellbeing. So it's critical that their voices are heard during the negotiations and their needs factored into the response to climate change. 

There's also hope that progress will be made toward extending the Kyoto Protocol, to maintain a climate regime that includes emissions reduction targets. This will be vital in securing a low-carbon future for children.

Governments are expected to agree to the establishment of the new Green Climate Fund. This will channel the $100 billion a year of new and additional climate finance to help people in vulnerable countries adapt to climate change. This is something that UNICEF UK have campaigned on in 2011 with our Get Children Climate Ready campaign.

"The Durban climate talks present an opportunity for world leaders to come together to work towards an agreement that will safeguard children's futures from climate impacts, said Jazmin Burgess, UNICEF UK's Climate Change Policy Officer.

"The UK has long been a progressive player in the climate change negotiations and we hope that they will continue this in Durban."

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Flooded houses in Somalia. © UNICEF/ HQ97-0735/Radhika Chalasani
The flooded houses of the southern village of Gob Weyne in Somalia, a country which is especially vulnerable to climate change. © UNICEF/ HQ97-0735/Radhika Chalasani

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