Plan has just launched a child-friendly version of a report prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which helps children learn how to prepare and reduce the risks they face when disasters hit their communities.
The report, Climate Extreme, presents examples of crucial roles children have played in disaster preparedness, community education, hazard identification and evacuation and first aid during disasters.
At 28 pages, the learning tool is a more digestible version of the 594-page Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation*, produced by a panel of climate experts.
“Children and young people have the right to information that is tailored to them. Even complex scientific reports should be converted to child and youth appropriate versions, if the information is likely to affect them,” said Amalia Fawcett, the author of the youth-friendly version and Plan Australia’s senior child rights specialist.
Taking the lead
There are many examples of girls and boys becoming actively involved in disaster risk reduction activities. Young people have lobbied their governments to get schools moved out of the path of potential landslides in the Philippines.
A school safety programme in India involves children in conducting risk and vulnerability assessments in more than 2,000 schools, while in Thailand youths are actively engaged in revising community-based disaster risk management plans in flood affected areas.
“Children are so often referred to as ‘future decision makers’ at best and ‘victims of disasters’ at worst. While we must be sure they are appropriately supported and protected during disasters, part of that should be to recognise their role in the present, rather than continually looking solely at their future potential.
"Children and young people can make a difference now; they are not just the future, but the present as well,” added Fawcett.
Along with the IPCC report, Climate Extreme was launched at an event in New Delhi, India, on 3 May.
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