Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaption

Children are among the most affected by climate change and disasters yet often the least consulted.

We believe all children and young people should enjoy full and equal access to their rights, and this should not be hindered by the threat of climate change.

All children have the right to meaningfully participate in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR) decisions and action. 

Plan International believes that children, who are among the most affected by disasters and often the least consulted, have the right to participate in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation.

Using an innovative child-centred, gender-responsive approach, we support children develop the skills they need to keep themselves safe in the climate crisis and to improve the disaster preparedness and resilience of their communities.

We also advocate with, and on behalf of children, at national, regional and global levels to ensure that their needs and voices are heard by decision-makers.

Climate change impacts

Climate change represents a real and urgent threat to realising children’s rights across the world. Globally, almost 1 billion – half of the world’s – children live in countries that are at extremely high risk of climate change impacts.

The impacts of climate change are projected to get worse in the future.

Girls are often the most affected by the impacts of climate change, which is why we take a gender-transformative approach in all our climate change adaptation work.

Children’s meaningful participation and action 

Plan International recognises that the climate crisis is an intergenerational and gender injustice. Children around the world are taking collective action to advance climate justice. We work with children and their communities to reduce climate risks, adapt to climate change and strengthen resilience. We support their meaningful participation in decision making and leading climate action in their communities. Innovative, games-based and experiential learning approaches are used – integrated to community or school systems for long-term impact. Examples include: 

Girls on the frontline of Flood resilience

Nineteen-year-olds Aires and Catherine are working to ensure their communities are prepared for weather-related emergencies and that young people have an active role in building community resilience.  

Pathways to resilience 

Plan International strives to ensure our work contributes to strengthening children’s resilience to disasters and climate change. This is guided by our Pathways to Resilience framework.

This includes supporting key services for children – such as education or protection – to continue before, during and after an extreme weather or climate event. This can be through adaptation and better use of forecasts to take early or ‘anticipatory’ action before a disaster happens, to reduce the impacts on children. 

Safe schools save lives: an all hazards, all risks approach

More intense, more frequent and compounding disasters are seriously impacting education. Girls are especially vulnerable.

Climate related events in 2021 are estimated to have prevented at least four million girls from completing their education in low- and middle-income countries.

If current trends continue, by 2025 climate change will be a contributing factor in preventing at least 12.5 million girls from completing their education each year.

Plan International promotes an all hazards, all risks approach to ensure schools are safe and all children are equipped with the knowledge and skills to be better prepared for disasters.

Long-term commitments

Plan International is calling on governments to support and finance child-centred, gender-responsive climate change adaptation and loss and damage work whilst addressing differential impacts on girls and boys. Equally, we are advocating to ensure that all children and young people can meaningfully participate in climate change decision-making and action. 

We are supporting the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Specifically, a child-friendly guide and approach was developed to support countries in a child-centred approach to disaster risk reduction.