Children’s Rights and Climate Change: Australia’s Responsibilities to its Pacific Neighbours


Tuesday 12th December, 2023

1.00pm-2.00pm AEDT

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The recent UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General Comment 26 (GC26) calls for urgent action to address the impacts of climate change on children. GC26 underlines “the importance of international cooperation” and for “high-income States … to support adaptation and mitigation efforts in developing countries … and by contributing to financing mitigation and adaptation strategies”, and that these strategies take account of their obligations to realise the rights of children.

The webinar focused on the challenges from climate change impacting children’s rights in the Pacific. It explored how GC26 can guide international cooperation, including Australia’s aid program with its Pacific neighbours, and the need for children’s voices to be heard in all mitigation and adaptation processes.

All Pacific nations have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), committing to respecting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of children. GC26 provides new guidance on Australia’s responsibility to work with its neighbours to implement the CRC in the context of the climate crisis.

Justice Vui Clarence Nelson from Samoa outlined the challenges to Pacific Islands children identified in GC26 and the expectations of Pacific Island states for action by Australia. Tamara Logan addressed the role of NGOs in shaping the responses to the rights of children affected by climate change, and Cynthia Houniuhi from Solomon Islands provided a young person’s perspective on what actions they expect from governments.

NOTE: At least half an hour will be allocated for questions and answers, and comments


Judge Vui Clarence Nelson from Samoa is well known for his efforts to advance the status of children’s rights in the Pacific Region. He has served one term on the CRC Committee and is now a Vice-Chairperson of the Committee.

 Tamara Logan is the Pacific Policy and Advocacy Advisor with Save the Children working with Pacific country offices to promote and uphold children’s rights. She has 20 years’ experience working with NGOs, governments, development partners in community-based sustainable development including working with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and UN agencies. Most recently she has returned from living in Hong Kong for five years where she was studying Putonghua (Mandarin) and undertaking a Juris Doctor.

Cynthia Houniuhi is an Indigenous young woman from Solomon Islands. She is a founding member and the current president of the youth led NGO Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change. An organisation that has established four chapters in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga. The organisation's core campaign is to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on climate change and human rights. She is currently studying a LLM at UNSW.


Dr Noam Peleg, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law and Justice, UNSW, Book Review Editor, The International Journal of Children's Rights.

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