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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).

Under this framework, children should be in the forefront of climate change policy, advocacy and research. It is their right to participate in all matters that affect them. The increasing frequency of disasters and projections of likely impacts of climate change indicate that today’s children are especially vulnerable now and will bear the impacts of climate change over their lifetime.

Disaster preparedness, response and adaptation strategies need to be both child-centred and child-led. There is growing consensus amongst development agencies, research institutions and the UN that children’s voices have to be heard and taken seriously in climate change policy, as the decisions that are made today will affect their lives tomorrow.

Children who are aware, involved and empowered are potentially effective agents of change within communities to foster an appropriate approach to address climate change.

Recommended reading...

In the face of disaster: children and climate change
International Save the Children Alliance 2008
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 ...
Climate change and urban children: impacts and implications for adaptation in low and middle income countries
S. Bartlett / International Institute for Environment and Development 2008
This paper examines the possible impacts for children of different ages from the increasing risk of climate change, focusing on preparedness and responses to extreme events, as well as constraints that climate change is likely to brin...
Child voices: children of Nepal speak out on climate change adaptation
D. Gautam; K. Oswald / Children in a Changing Climate 2008
In 2008 Children in a Changing Climate’s research programme worked with ActionAid Nepal, and its partner organisations, to help poor children in the plains, hills and urban areas of Nepal make short films about how climate chang...
Climate change and children
A. Veneman / United Nations Children's Fund 2007
This publication seeks to give children a voice on climate change, which has become a growing concern for them. This paper discusses the effects of climate change on children and young people focusing in particular on the following is...
Our climate, our children, our responsibility: the implications of climate change for the world’s children
E. Back; C. Cameron / United Nations Children's Fund 2008
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 ...

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