Children and youth who met recently with UNISDR to discuss the Sendai Framework in Incheon, Republic of Korea
By Ana Cristina Thorlund
Incheon, 1 April, 2015 – The popular child-friendly version of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction is to be translated into Korean after 400 children and youth met in Incheon to discuss the meaning of disaster risk reduction and how they can become agents of change in their own homes and communities.
They were inspired to meet by the words of their countryman and UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon who spoke at the Youth Forum during the Third UN World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai in March 2015 where the Sendai Framework was adopted.
The gathering took place with the support of the Metropolitan City of Incheon and UNISDR at Jinsan Science High School. Ms. Park Hyoen-Jeong, School Safety Manager welcomed the city’s initiative to empower the students in risk reduction.
“The next step will be to scale-up this knowledge and share the child-friendly Sendai Framework in Korean language to primary school classes in Incheon,” said Mr Bang Jeong-Phil, Team Leader of Disaster Response and Recovery Division of Incheon at the event.
The Sendai Framework for children was produced by The Children in a Changing Climate Coalition and highlights the fact that millions of children are forced out of school by disasters every year such as earthquakes, floods and storms which destroy schools or turn them into shelters for displaced people.
“Why are disasters not natural?” asked a 10-year-old student. Through a drawing, she demonstrated that it is the hazard which is natural and not the disaster; and that we can reduce risk in our urban development so we do not create new risks, and hazards do not become disasters.
The students heard about success stories. One from the Philippines highlighted how ChildFund Australia engaged youth from Vizayas in community-based disaster risk reduction. The project was implemented one year before Typhoon Haiyan hit their community in November 2013. By engaging children and youth in mapping hazards, and in the whole risk management cycle, Mr Mark McPeak explained, their engagement made a difference when the storm struck their community.
The event was assisted by the Global Education and Training Institute of UNISDR based in Incheon which is supporting education and training for implementing the Sendai Framework at national and local levels. The Sendai Framework calls upon governments to engage with children and youth and to promote their leadership. It sees children and youth as agents of change, so there is a need to give them the needed space and modalities to effectively contribute in disaster risk reduction.
The Worldwide Initiative for Safe Schools launched by UNISDR includes 33 governments committed to ensure schools are safe from disasters. The initiative builds on the experience gained and lessons over the last ten years of work of the Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector.
The Children’s Charter for Disaster Risk Reduction developed by children for children was also discussed at the event. The Children and Youth Major Group regularly make their voice heard at gatherings such as the Sendai World Conference and the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference which was held in Bangkok two years ago.