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Save the Children launches Nature-based Solutions Hub to help combat climate crisis for children

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA 13 March 2024 – Save the Children Global Ventures (SCGV) has launched a Nature-based Solutions for Children (NbS4C) Hub, seeking to leverage the carbon credit market to fund community-based projects to benefit children and combat the global climate crisis.

Clean cookstoves, like the one pictured above, reduce household air-pollution and pneumonia risk, the leading cause of death in children under five


Through the NbS4C Hub, Save the Children Global Ventures is developing a portfolio of carbon projects in the Asia Pacific, including clean cookstoves in Nepal, improved water technology in Pakistan, mangrove rehabilitation in Vietnam and reforestation in the Philippines. The NbS4C team is also scoping carbon market pilots in East and Southern Africa.

Save the Children is the first humanitarian and development focused INGO accredited by the Green Climate Fund (GCF). In December last year the organisation launched a partnership with the GCF and Global Partnership for Education to deliver US$70 million of investment in building climate-resilient schools in vulnerable countries.

Save the Children established Global Ventures in 2022 to leverage new sources of private innovative finance and encourage technology innovation that supports delivery of the child rights organisation’s global strategy.

Chief Executive Paul Ronalds said:

“Well-designed, community-led nature-based solutions, delivered with the right checks and balances, have potential to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while providing communities with support – for example through paid jobs, to rehabilitate their surrounding environment – and can also improve a community’s health, livelihoods and resilience to climate change.”

However, It is critical that Indigenous Peoples and local communities participate in the design of initiatives and have secure tenure rights.

“We recognise that carbon markets are receiving a lot of valid criticism, ranging from abuses of Indigenous Peoples’ rights and local communities, forced displacement, lack of transparency, greenwashing and even fraudulent projects. That is why we are trialling new approaches, putting children’s rights at the centre of programmes, and ensuring that they are locally-designed and led by communities, with necessary safeguards in place,” Ronalds said.

He said Save the Children has established the Nature-based Solutions for Children Hub with the aim to build an approach to locally-led nature-based solutions that is ethical, financially sustainable and scalable. The goal is to draw on Save the Children’s experience of working at the intersection between climate, children and development to support attainment of the SDGs, climate adaptation and mitigation.

Ronalds said climate was a key priority due to the devastating impact that the climate crisis had on children across the world.

“The figures are staggering. Some 920 million children face water scarcity. 774 million children face the dual threat of poverty and high climate risk. By 2050, some 1.2 billion people will be displaced by climate-driven disasters. Such profound disruptions interfere with a child’s education, their health and makes them vulnerable to exploitation and violence,” he said.

Save the Children has also developed the Indigenous Fair Carbon Standard to certify credits from projects that treat Indigenous peoples and local communities fairly.

The first certification was issued last year for the Olkola Ajin Savanna Burning Project in northern Australia, which is managed by a First Nations corporation employing Indigenous Australian rangers to look after the land according to traditional customs.

Ronalds said Indigenous Peoples and local communities, who manage or have tenure rights over a quarter of the world’s land surface, must lead the design of initiatives. Much can be learned from Indigenous Peoples’ longstanding stewardship and interconnectedness with natudire.

“Save the Children believes that as stewards of this land, Indigenous Peoples and local communities should be the leaders in bringing these projects to fruition and be the primary beneficiaries of the returns,” he said.

Save the Children is partnering with Carbon Neutral which provides voluntary carbon market expertise and access for the NbS4C initiative.

As the world’s leading child rights organisation and largest INGO, Save the Children works with 2,500 communities across 116 countries. Through broad collaboration and robust investment, we are rapidly responding to climate related crises and helping build resilience across the world to benefit children.

Current initiatives

Improved cookstoves in Nepal: Clean cookstoves improve household air-quality for health and wellbeing, strengthen the livelihoods and mitigate carbon emissions. Due to traditional roles, most of the benefits accrue to women and girls. We aim to reach over 100,000 households with context appropriate clean cooking technology by 2030. The pilot will aim to reach 20,000 most-underprivileged households in Karnali and Madhesh Provinces by 2026, trialing mixed distribution modalities. Feasibility has commenced, with validation and implementation anticipated to start later this year.

Sustainable shrimp farming and mangrove restoration in Vietnam: 55% of Vietnam’s mangroves forests are in the Mekong Delta, 50% of which has been lost or degraded in the last 50 years, mainly due to aquaculture expansion. Ca Mau province (on the southern tip of Vietnam), which contains the second largest mangrove forest (63,000ha) in the Mekong Delta, recently enacted minimum mangrove coverage requirements for aquaculture operations. However small-holder shrimp farmers do not have the resources to restore degraded mangroves on their allotments. We are working to develop a 5,000ha mangrove restoration pilot focused on enhancing community natural resource management plans, promoting sustainable and ecological shrimp farming practices through women-led trade and production groups, restoring mangroves on smallholder shrimp farms and negotiating access to premium prices for their product.

Improved water technology in Pakistan: It is estimated that 30% of all diseases and 40% of all deaths in Pakistan are due to extremely poor water quality. This includes 53,000 deaths of a year of child aged under five from diarrhoea. In Sindh province, which has a population of over 50 million people, 76% of drinking water is unsafe. Save the Children is working on a partnership with a provider of innovative safe drinking water technology. We aim to reach 20,000 households (150 boxes) a year, 100,000 by 2030. Roll-out will start in the Sukkar district of Sindh province and target placement at schools and medical centres, with an associated youth environmental advocacy campaign.

Contacts for NbS4Children: Paul Ronalds, CEO, SCGV,