In the face of disaster: children and climate change

In the face of disaster: children and climate change

What impact do natural disasters brought about by climate change have on children?

Climate change is likely to lead to an increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, and it will be the people in the poorest countries, especially children, who will bear the brunt. This report explores the impact of increasing disasters on children, and examines some of the ways in which the international community can work effectively with children and their communities to reduce the impact of disasters and improve survival, resilience and the prospects of recovery.

The publication states that up to 175 million children every year are likely to be affected by the kinds of natural disasters brought about by climate change. It is argued that children should not only be seen as victims of natural disasters and climate change, as they can also be communicators of good practice and active agents of change.

Some of the key issues analysed in the report include:

  • the major impacts of natural disasters on children, focusing on: the spread and intensity of disease; increase of food insecurity, vulnerability and exploitation of children in emergency situations; and access to education
  • disaster risk reduction (DRR) and the Hyogo Framework of Action
  • building coping strategies and enhancing early warning through a community-based approach
  • children being seen as part of the solution to the problems posed by disasters
  • social protection measures like insurance, cash transfers, pensions, and child grants in reducing risk and vulnerability for children
  • the role of national governments, international community, humanitarian agencies and donors in strengthening disaster preparedness
Save the Children highlights a number of recommendation to face the predicted increase in and severity of natural disasters. The recommendations include:
  • industrialised countries should enact binding commitments to reduce carbon emissions by in order to limit global warming to no more than 2° Celsius by 2050.
  • the countries that adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action must deliver on their commitments to ensure that disaster risk reduction is a national and local priority
  • donors should ensure that the traditionally under-funded sectors particularly important to children are better supported
  • children should be involved in designing, carrying out and evaluating disaster risk reduction programming at local level.
  • national governments and the international community should increase investment in livelihoods and social protection programmes
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