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Children, climate change and disasters

Research and advocacy on children has been relatively marginalised in debates around climate change and disasters. There is a growing body of research on the impacts of disaster events and gradual climate change on children, especially on child health. Studies have shown that children are among the worst affected in the aftermath of natural disasters. With increasing number of disasters being linked to changing climatic conditions, and the escalating frequency of droughts, floods, water scarcity, malaria and vector-borne diseases, children are likely to be adversely affected both as children and in their adult lives.

Recent research has attempted to move away from focusing on children as passive victims of climate change and disasters, instead advocating for children as active participants in efforts to reduce the adverse impacts of disaster events and climate change. This includes their participation in adapting to climate change and preventing disasters through disaster risk reduction (DRR), as well as in post disaster emergencies and rehabilitation efforts.

Our climate, our children, our responsibility
Children playing in sea
R. Huibers / Panos Pictures
This report aims to draw the attention of the international community to the specific risks faced by children in developing countries due to climate variability and extremes, thus making it harder to achieve the child – related MDGs. It analyses the impacts of climate change upon children, and their role in mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Children and climate change

The ‘four pillars’ of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) - protection, survival, development and participation - establish the fundamental rationale to create opportunities for children’s voices to be heard in research, advocacy and policy on climate change and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). More...


Child-led disaster risk reduction and climate change 

Children are usually considered passive recipients of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) activities. However, following the successful first Child Led Disaster Risk Reduction (CLDRR) programme in Cuba, the model is being replicated and adapted in various disaster–prone and affected countries, particularly in Asia and Latin America. More...


Role of education and schools in disaster risk reduction

The importance of education in promoting and enabling Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) has already been identified by researchers and policy makers. In doing so, there is a renewed focus on disaster risk education in primary and secondary schools. Mainstreaming DRR into school curricula aims to raise awareness and provide a better understanding of disaster management for children, teachers and communities. More...


Latest Documents

The challenges of climate change: children on the front line
UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre 2014
UNICEF ebook on the challenges of climate change facing children around the world. Representing 30 per cent of the global population, children are the largest, and most vulnerable, group of people currently affected by climate ...
How healthy are the children of Indian Sundarbans?
B. Kanjilal; S. Bose; N. Patra / Future Health Systems research consortium 2013
This report highlights the vulnerability of children in the Indian Sundarbans to health shocks. This is due to under-nutrition and the high prevalence of common communicable diseases. It focuses Patharpratima, as a representative bloc...
Impact of climate change on children’s health in Limpopo province, South Africa
A. A. Thompson / International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2012
This paper examines the impact of climate change on children’s health in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Over 20 years of data were collected to analyse climatic conditions in the province. The study employs regression anal...

This Key Issues Guide is produced in collaboration with Children in a Changing Climate – research, with financial support from Plan UK and the ESRC.