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Putting children’s rights and wellbeing at the centre of disaster preparedness and response

Disasters can demolish years of development work overnight. People are killed and injured, lose their families and their livelihoods, and the economic productivity of the entire country can be all but wiped out.

With the frequency and ferocity of natural and man-made crises increasing year on year, we continue to scale up our emergency response interventions, building our reputation as a significant humanitarian actor.

We focus on the needs and rights of children, who are among the hardest hit in any disaster.

Our efforts strike a balance between meeting the urgent physical needs of children and communities, such as food, water and shelter, and meeting children's psychological and emotional needs.

In an emergency or chronic crisis, children not only experience new child protection threats, such as sexual violence, trafficking and child labour, but existing child protection problems will also be exacerbated.

Building on our long-standing experience in child protection in development, we work in partnership with children, their families, and local authorities to strengthen child protection systems and community-based mechanisms.

Mainstreaming gender equality from the beginning of the programme cycle is a key element of our approach to ensure that protection issues of girls’ and boys’ are equitably balanced.

Our calls to the EU

  • Ensure that the varying needs of girls across the three key age categories (0-5 years, 6-12 years and 13-17 years) are reflected in all responses with a special focus on education, protection, food, and water, sanitation and hygiene;
  • All humanitarian interventions must take a rights-based approach to gender equality, focusing on the poorest and most marginalised girls and women; 
  • The EU budget must maintain a steady base budget in order to ensure predictable funding for humanitarian interventions;
  • The EU should ensure clarity of roles and mandates in crisis response and management and maintain a clear distinction between political, military and humanitarian actors;
  • The EU should engage in systematic dialogue with NGOs and other actors to fully understand realities on the ground;
  • EU external communication should differentiate between political and humanitarian action and actively promote an understanding of humanitarian principles.