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Plan supports young people in disaster risk-reduction

04/05/2012

Children sign disaster risk reduction pledgeAccording to a new climate change report, children can play a vital role in disaster risk-management.

Plan has created an abridged version of the IPCC's (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) disaster risk-reduction report, in order to make its contents more accessible for young people.  This condensed version, Climate Extreme, gives children knowledge about how to reduce the risks posed by potential disasters in their areas.

The report highlights examples of the different roles children have played in identifying and preparing for disasters, such as educating their communities about risk-reduction activities and passing on knowledge of first aid and evacuation techniques.  In this way, it provides practical suggestions for ways in which children can get involved in the risk-management process.

“Even complex scientific reports should be converted to child and youth appropriate versions, if the information is likely to affect them,” explains Amalia Fawcett, the author of the youth-friendly document and Plan Australia’s senior child rights specialist.

Taking the lead

Plan has supported many children in their efforts to improve disaster management processes locally. For example, Plan has helped young people in the Philippines lobby their governments to get schools moved out of the path of potential landslides.  We have also supported children in Bangladesh, who have been visiting households within their communities and sharing crucial knowledge about how to prepare for disasters.  Meanwhile, in Thailand, Plan is working with young people based in flood-prone areas, to help them improve their communities’ risk management plans.

It is in light of these initiatives that Plan Australia’s child’s rights specialist has urged people to stop seeing children only as victims, and to start recognising the important role young people can play in preparing for the risks posed by disasters.

“Children and young people can make a difference now; they are not just the future, but the present as well,” concluded Fawcett.

The Climate Extreme report was launched at an event in New Delhi, India, on 3 May.

Learn more about Plan’s work on disasters.

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