Disaster risk reduction and recovery
Every country protected. Every child resilient.
Children are the most vulnerable during and after any disaster. Approximately one billion children worldwide are at extremely high risk due to climate impacts, including climate-related disasters.
When disaster strikes, children get cut off from schooling, nutrition and health care. They can lose critical social services and protection, while finding themselves in hazardous environments. In some places, this is especially the case for girls and children with disabilities. Children whose families live in poverty are also more impacted by disasters and the consequences of climate change.
Floods, droughts, infestations, cyclones, biochemical spills and other hazards are also becoming increasingly severe – just as the COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder to prepare for and recover from disaster.
It will take prioritized action to ensure communities and countries are prepared, protected and resilient.
Every child resilient
Children and young people are more than victims of disasters. They have an active role to play in reducing risk, in collaboration with governments and humanitarians. They bring critical skills, individual experiences and ideas for solutions.
Integrating child-specific interventions into disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change policies – especially with the participation of young people – helps ensure that the risks to their survival and well-being are systematically addressed. Climate actions that protect children, protect us all.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) outlines clear targets and priorities to prevent and reduce disaster risks. Building the resilience of children and young people is vital to meet these targets and those of other global agreements. UNICEF's DRR approach is part of the 2022-2030 Strategy for Climate, Environment, Energy and DRR, as well as UNICEF's Sustainability and Climate Change Action Plan 2023-2030.
To ensure every child survives and thrives, UNICEF promotes targeted action, backed by strategic investment in disaster risk reduction. We aim to reduce risk and strengthen preparedness and recovery for communities and services critical to children, like education, health care and nutrition.
We aim to empower all children and young people, particularly the most vulnerable, by:
Ensuring child-critical services are more inclusive, and resilient to and prepared for disasters
UNICEF integrates disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation activities into essential services for children. We do so by bringing resources, advocacy and technical expertise into our collaborations with governments and other partners – and most importantly, with children and young people themselves.
We are a leading agency in strengthening education, health, mental health and psychosocial support, nutrition, social protection, child protection and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for children. This includes bringing much-needed attention to gender equality and disability inclusion. It also includes cross-cutting work in sustainable energy, peacebuilding and social cohesion.
Engaging children through education, preparedness and resilience programmes
Children are already playing an active role in reducing disaster and climate risk by developing risk assessments, early warning systems, community-based actions, school evacuation protocols and recovery plans. They also stand as advocates, raising awareness through social media and in-person campaigns.
UNICEF supports children and young people to turn words into action. We help them advocate for their rights in local and international disaster management policies. This includes supporting their efforts by raising awareness, building capacities, strengthening protection laws, creating engagement opportunities and investing in their solutions.
Committing funds and resources to prepare and protect all children from disasters and climate impacts
UNICEF builds government and partner capacities, provides technical expertise for safe schools and health-care facilities, and secures investments for the rapid recovery of child-critical services after a disaster. We invest in specific, localized data collection and share our technical expertise to shape and influence policies for children.
Around the world, UNICEF is committed to maximizing partnerships that strengthen disaster risk reduction and resilience-building efforts. We play a role as convener, knowledge broker and advocate for children’s rights, as well as an investor.
UNICEF invites all our partners and donors to join us in these efforts to keep every country protected and every child resilient.