May 12, 2011
—Children in disaster-prone countries have named safer school buildings as a top priority in emergencies, new research has found.
The research, involving more than 600 children in 21 countries, identified education, child protection and access to basic information as the main needs to reduce the devastating impact of disasters and climate change
upon their families and communities.
World Vision contributed research from 12 countries.
"Too often, there's a big gap between what's talked about at high-level meetings and what actually happens on the ground," said Richard Rumsey, World Vision's Director of Disaster Risk Reduction and Community Resilience. "This charter lets us measure big ideas against what children affected by disasters say is most important to them, in their own words."
The findings have now gone into a new 5-point Charter to be presented to those gathering for the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction meeting in Geneva on 9-13 May.
Governments, donors and international agencies will be asked to sign, support and report back on the Charter, which states:
· Schools must be safe and education must not be interrupted
· Child protection must be a priority before, during and after a disaster
· Children's right to participate and access to information must be met
· Community infrastructure must be safe, and relief and reconstruction must help reduce future risk
· Disaster risk reduction must reach the most vulnerable
In the research, children asked for schools to be built in safer places and on higher ground in flood and tsunami-vulnerable regions. They also called for protection of vital learning materials, safe places to play and learn and swift relocation and rebuilding of schools when required. They also wanted sturdier infrastructure, like better roads and bridges in their communities.
They also asked to be given more life-saving information about what to do when disasters struck and asked for better protection of children and the most vulnerable, including psycho-social support after disasters. Children identified gaps in existing protection systems. They gave examples of children, including some with disabilities, being ‘locked in homes’ and unable to access basic information needed for survival.
Children make up more than half the population in countries predicted to be most affected by climate change and are facing increasing impacts from disastrous events. It is estimated that by 2030, 175 million children a year will be affected by disasters.UNICEF
, Plan International, World Vision
and Save the Children
(working together as Children in a Changing Climate
) along with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies say it is essential to include children's unique experiences of climate change impact in both adaptation and mitigation policy and practice.
The Coalition calls for governments to ensure children’s rights, needs and capacities are fully recognised in any future agreements. It recommends that their priorities are reflected in existing and new policies, and programmes dealing with disasters and development.
The consultations were held in Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Lesotho, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Philippines, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu and Vietnam.
Find out more at: www.ChildreninaChangingClimate.orgAbout World VisionWorld Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor -- regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews