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Guardians of the planet: Asia Pacific Children and Youth Voices on Climate Crisis and Disaster Risk Reduction

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The children and youth consultation on the climate crisis and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) was conducted from August 2019 to January 2020, across 12 countries and 1 regional consultation, with representatives from 21 countries, in Asia and the Pacific. Nearly 10,000 children and youth participated in the consultation. The consultation was jointly organised by a group of partners that included the Asia Pacific Coalition for Safe Schools, UNICEF, and UN Major Group Children and Youth and UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, World Vision International, Plan International, and Save the Children.

During the consultation, children and youth shared their views on climate-related disasters. They recognised the need to strengthen policies and plans to mitigate disaster risks and promote resilience.

This report is a compilation of the face-to-face and online consultation data gathered. Children and youth in Asia and the Pacific are no strangers to the negative impact of the climate crisis and call for a more inclusive approach to DRR and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) processes where they can be vital contributors.

Some of the key findings include:

  • 77% of children and youth have noticed more climate-related disasters locally in the last two years.

  • 99% of children and youth reported experiencing disaster risks in the past 12 months, with hydro-meteorological disasters risks (e.g. flooding, drought, typhoon/cyclone, El Niño, and La Niña accounting for over 50% of the reported experience.

  • 23% reported experiencing extreme temperatures, while 30% experienced floods or more severe rainfall. A decrease in economic opportunities is also reported as a visible impact of climate change.

  • Children recognise themselves as the most vulnerable during disasters followed by the elderly, people with disabilities and pregnant women.

  • 45% of children and youth expressed that people with disabilities are not given enough support to prepare for disasters.

  • Formal education is the top channel through which children and youth acquire knowledge about the climate crisis and DRR, followed by news and social media.

Some of the key recommendations include:

  • Inclusive approach to DRR and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) processes

  • Strengthening education curriculum on CCA

  • Mainstreaming and localising children and youth voices in climate discussions

The findings of the consultation will be used, by partners, to formulate a children and youth stakeholder-group action statement and presented to governments and regional bodies at the next Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (APMCDRR).

COVID-19 has severely impacted the vulnerable communities and children in Asia-Pacific. While organisations work on developing COVID-19 recovery measures, it is essential to listen to children and youths who have experienced climate change impact and include their suggestions and recommendation to accelerate the shift to alternatives that use cleaner energy, and to ensure a green and resilient approach for child well-being.

Note: The APMCDRR 2020, originally planned for June 2020, in Brisbane, Australia, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For further information please contact:
Christabel Chan
Humanitarian Emergency Affairs Specialist, Asia Pacific Region | World Vision International
E-mail: christabel_chan@wvi.org