The children and youth of Latin America and the Caribbean are changing our history

Ban Ki-moon officially received the Declaration and the Quipú from the Coalition for the Resilience of Children and Youth of Latin America and the Caribbean (CORELAC)

The voices and views of children need to be taken into account to ensure success in the talks on disaster risk reduction in Sendai, says World Vision, along with partners CORELAC, a coalition which also includes Plan International, Save the Children, RET, UNICEF and UNISDR.

  • Each year, 175 million children are affected by disasters; Last year alone, nearly nine million of them were forced to leave their schools.
  • World Vision calls on the Post 2015 UN Disaster Risk Reduction Framework for Action to ensure that the voices and views of children are included in planning for disaster risk reduction.

Sendai, March 15 - As world leaders are participating in these days at the Third World Conference of the United Nations on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan - near the site of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 400 children and left tens of thousands displaced - CORELAC is stressing that the voices and experiences of children need to be taken into account to ensure that the talks on the Framework for Action Post 2015 are meaningful and lasting. 

The experiences and exposure of children to natural hazards - 175 million are affected each year - are different from those of adults. However, this is rarely considered by decision makers. World Vision argues that the new Post 2015 Frame, to be decided in Sendai from 14 to 18 March, needs to address reducing disaster risk, and should ensure that children are consulted and their unique needs addressed.

“Children and young people are the best authorities on their own lives. Allowing them to meaningfully influence disaster risk reduction strengthens the ability of communities to adapt, prepare for and respond to natural  and social hazards,” says World Vision’s Director for Disaster Risk Reduction and Community Resilience, Richard Rumsey.

“World Vision has seen first-hand in places like Myanmar, Bolivia and Ethiopia the value of working with children to shape disaster risk reduction programmes. In the slums of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa we worked alongside children to identify the risks they faced, which in turn led to local authorities taking action to address the dangers,” he adds.

The VOICES Movement, of the Coalition for Resilience of Children and Youth in Latin America and the Caribbean (CORELAC) of which World Vision is part, shared their Declaration and a Quipú, which reflects their perspectives, feelings and desires on resilience, articulated from their own voices and participation. "The Declaration of children and youth for the resilience of Latin America and the Caribbean" and Quipú were delivered today in Sendai, within the framework of the Third World Conference of the United Nations on Reducing Disaster Risk, to the Secretary-General UN Ban Ki-moon at the Forum on Children and Youth. "The Declaration of children and youth for the resilience of Latin America and the Caribbean" was developed in May 2014 in the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador, during the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.

On Tuesday March 17, the voices of children and youth in Latin America and around the world, will again be heard when they share their experiences in prevention and preparedness for natural disasters and make a call to decision makers to commit to a Post 2015 Framework for Action focused on children. On this day, the Guayaquil Resilience Declaration and the Quipú of CORELAC will also be given to the Special Representative for the UN Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlstrom.

For Stephen Latham, Regional Advisor for Disaster Risk Reduction and Community Resilience of World Vision in Latin America and the Caribbean, the voices of CORELAC children and youth in Sendai are significant because they symbolize the prophetic voice of Margaret Mead who once said," Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

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World Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. It is present in 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and in almost 100 countries worldwide.

For more information, visit: www.visionmundial.org - Follow us on Twitter @WorldVisionLAC

To learn more about CORELAC visit www.corelac.org