Children uprooted in a changing climate

Turning challenges into opportunities with and for young people

December 3, 2020. Campur, San Pedro Carchá, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala.


Climate change is already a direct challenge to children’s rights and well-being. One billion children – nearly half of children globally – are at ‘extremely high risk’ of its impacts. They face a deadly combination of exposure to multiple climate shocks and limited access to services that build their resilience.

The climate is changing everywhere, and uprooted children and young people – whether living in protracted displacement, refugee camps, urban slums or bustling mega cities – are among the most exposed to its impacts. But children should not be viewed as passive bystanders in tackling the challenges posed by a changing climate. Children and young people uprooted can also be key agents for change. They have critical skills, experiences and ideas we need to better mitigate and adapt to climate change and must be partners in shaping solutions

The purpose of this brief is to spark conversation on the critical connection between climate, mobility and childhood – and its implications for policy and investment. By looking at what we know, where the worst impacts of climate change, fragility and conflict overlap, and where child mobility is both a consequence and a coping strategy, we get a clearer picture of how mobility can be leveraged to turn these challenges into opportunities – with and for children and young people uprooted from their homes.

A girl jumps across a pool of water.
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