Children Displaced in a Changing Climate: preparing for a future already underway
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Children Displaced in a Changing Climate: preparing for a future already underway

8 October 2023

Summary

To date, children displaced by weather-related events have been statistically invisible. Existing displacement data are rarely disaggregated by age, and in contexts where extreme weather events collide with rapid urbanization, fragility and conflict, children on the move are even more likely to slip through the cracks unnoticed. The lack of data hampers efforts to identify children most at risk to help them recover, thrive, and build resilience against future climate-related challenges. To shine a light on the growing number of children displaced by weatherrelated events, which are growing in intensity and frequency, and identify those most at risk, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), in partnership with the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, analysed past child displacements linked to weather-related disasters from 2016–2021 and – based on IDMC’s risk model – estimated the risk of child displacement in future. The report analyses the most common weather-related hazards that lead to the largest number of displacements: floods, storms, droughts and wildfires. Together, these hazards account for over 99 per cent of all weather-related displacements recorded by IDMC since 2016, while hazards such as extreme heat, erosion and landslides, make up the rest. These new insights can help governments, United Nations agencies, civil society, and affected communities, to identify children at risk of weather-related displacement, map the areas most affected and most importantly, target efforts and resources to the most vulnerable, with the aim of protecting children’s futures from the impacts of displacement as the climate continues to change.

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United States of America

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migration children climate

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