Child labour report 2017: the neglected link, effects of climate change and environmental degradation on child labour

Over half a billion children are living in areas with extremely high levels of floods and nearly 160 million children live in areas of high or extremely high droughts. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 26% of the annual 6.6 million deaths of children under-five are linked to environment-related causes and conditions. Children are also disproportionately affected by pollution, not only in terms of death rates, but also in terms of cognitive and physical development. This report illustrates that environmental causes also have an impact on whether children are pushed to work and on the kind of work they engage in, the conditions of work, exposure to dangerous toxicants and the risk of exploitation. However, the report raises more questions than it answers as it is one of the first reports addressing the question, how environmental degradation and climate change affect the vulnerability of children towards exploitation. Data on child labour is available, though by far not sufficient to understand all relevant root causes and dynamics. Only some data on effects of climate change and environmental degradation is available, mainly on health issues. Further research and awareness of the relationship between environmental changes and child labour are thus necessary to avoid that the respective policies and programmes fall short of achieving their objectives.