The Global Children and Youth Statement on Disaster Risk Reduction
The Sendai Stakeholder Children and Youth (SSCY) also known as DRR Working Group, a constituency within the Major Group for Children and Youth continues to lobby for the youth and young people’s voices to be heard, considered, and included in efforts geared toward making DRR resilient. The CY constituency is a result of the multilateral system brought about by the Sendai Framework and the 2030 agenda. The CY continues to meet priority one of the Sendai framework by availing an engagement platform where children and youth hold vibrant discussions and exchange ideas and knowledge in the quest of understanding disaster risk. At the same time, the engagements equip children and youth with diversified methods and approaches that enhance the youth’s capacity to prepare and effectively respond when disasters strike, thus meeting priority four on the Sendai Framework.
Our greatest strength as CY, therefore, is the large numbers of children and youth we have access to and our capacity-building efforts that result in children and youth that are capable of surviving, adapting and thriving in challenging environments due to the cut-throat effects of disasters. Accordingly, the CY is leading in achieving the 2030 agenda for sustainable development for children and youth with the milestones recorded in meeting the Sendai priorities.
However, there is much more that needs to be done if the children and youth are not to be left behind. Greater partnerships among stakeholders in support of children and youth need to be forged for the children and youth efforts to translate to physical actions within their locality, making the realization of Sendai priorities 3 and 4, which call for the strengthening of disaster risk governance and DRR resilience possible.
It is based on this objective that the SSCY organised Regional Forums for Africa, Americas and Europe, and Asia, to consult with children and youth across these regions for their demands on DRR action. These consultations saw over 4,000 children and youth being consulted via virtual sessions (Zoom) and surveys (Google Form). These inputs were consolidated, categorised under themes, and synthesised to develop a Global Youth Statement on Disaster Risk Reduction (GYSDRR). The regional results were presented to the Global Youth Platform for Resilience and Climate Action 2022 virtual Youth Preparatory Meeting and validated. Representing the voice of children and youth across the world, we urge global leaders and other relevant stakeholders to address our common demands which are as follows:
Leave No One Behind
It is paramount that every child and youth be involved in DRR activities. Safe spaces where youths express themselves without holding back are essential. Each stakeholder entity should therefore be mandated to create a youth department that will allow an improved development, review, and implementation of youth-centered policies. This step will be an improvement from the previous call to employ youths which is commended but sadly not enough to amplify youth-friendly policies that will revamp children and youth inclusion and participation in DRR.
Localization of DRR
The local level is where disasters happen thus where the action is needed. The children and youth are vibrant and energetic with a lot of potentials. We call for grant policies to be reviewed to allow for much greater access to DRR financing so that many more youths can be involved in children and youth DRR projects within their locality. Gone are the days when volunteering for projects only is enough. Children and youths taking control and leading the very projects is what we want with welcomed monitoring and evaluation from experienced adults. The Covid 19 pandemic showed us just how much anticipatory and mitigation efforts in DRR should take the center stage. As we endeavor to recover from the Covid 19 effects that affected all sectors of life, we call for DRR-related projects to be much more localized.
Education and Training
We demand that national governments mainstream DRR into school curricula to ensure children and youth understand what risk surrounds them and prioritise building comprehensive school safety policies. We also ask that formal and informal extra-curricular training on DRR be conducted to build the capacity of all children and youth on DRR.
We demand that our national governments meaningfully engage us in the design and implementation and monitoring of DRR policies to ensure they are inclusive and robust. We call for the decentralisation of these policy formulation processes to the local levels for all children and youth, especially those in marginalized communities to be able to participate, not just in a tokenistic way but in a way where their inputs are meaningfully incorporated into DRR policies.
We demand that our governments, the private sector and other stakeholders provide dedicated funds for children and youth who are taking action in addressing climate and disaster risk to be able to scale their initiatives. We demand that these funds be accessible, decentralised, and designed in a way that young people are able to meet the requirements to avail of these funds at the local level. We also demand that governments and other stakeholders report on the DRR finance they provided to children and youth for climate action.