Climate change versus children: How a UNICEF data collaborative gave birth to a risk index

Jess Middleton at DataIQ: “Almost a billion children face climate-related disasters in their lifetime, according to UNICEF’s new Children’s Climate Risk Index (CCRI).

The CCRI is the first analysis of climate risk specifically from a child’s perspective. It reveals that children in Central African Republic, Chad and Nigeria are at the highest risk from climate and environmental shocks based on their access to essential services….

Young climate activists including Greta Thunberg contributed a foreword to the report that introduced the index; and the project has added another layer of pressure on governments failing to act on climate change in the run-up to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference – set to be held in Glasgow in November.

While these statistics make for grim reading, the collective effort undertaken to create the Index is evidence of the power of data as a tool for advocacy and the role that data collaboratives can play in shaping positive change.

The CCRI is underpinned by data that was sourced, collated and analysed by the Data for Children Collaborative with UNICEF, a partnership between UNICEF, the Scottish Government and University of Edinburgh hosted by The Data Lab.

The collaboration brings together practitioners from diverse backgrounds to provide data-driven solutions to issues faced by children around the world.

For work on the CCRI, the collaborative sought data, skills and expertise from academia (Universities of Southampton, Edinburgh, Stirling, Highlands and Islands) as well as the public and private sectors (ONS-FCDO Data Science Hub, Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment & Society).

This variety of expertise provided the knowledge required to build the two main pillars of input for the CCRI: socioeconomic and climate science data.

Socioeconomic experts sourced data and provided analytical expertise in the context of child vulnerability, social statistics, biophysical processes and statistics, child welfare and child poverty.

Climate experts focused on factors such as water scarcity, flood exposure, coastal flood risk, pollution and exposure to vector borne disease.

The success of the project hinged on the effective collaboration between distinct areas of expertise to deliver on UNICEF’s problem statement.

The director of the Data for Children Collaborative with UNICEF, Alex Hutchison, spoke with DataIQ about the success of the project, the challenges the team faced, and the benefits of working as part of a diverse collective….(More). (Report)”