Climate change is intricately tied with the future of education in emergencies and affects the most marginalized and vulnerable children disproportionately – in particular, girls and children with disabilities. As people battle resource scarcity, flee record-breaking temperatures and droughts, and confront constant interruptions to their education with the destruction of homes and schools, children are being left behind.
Climate change and extreme weather events are on the rise and will continue to present key humanitarian challenges. Natural disasters, such as cyclones, typhoons and floods, continue to trigger the majority of new internal displacements worldwide. By 2050, the number of people displaced because of climate-induced disasters is expected to reach 140 million across South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.
Ensuring access to quality education is a sustainable and cost-effective way to improve societies' resilience to climate change. Now is the time for global leaders and donors to acknowledge the link between education and climate change – not merely in theory, but in programming decisions and financing.
ECW investments are deployed and already making a difference on the frontlines of climate change-induced disasters, displacement and emergencies.
When disasters strike, ECW’s rapid funding protects children and supports the resumption of education and back-to-school campaigns, focusing on the most vulnerable and at-risk children, in particular girls. Investments have made possible the construction of temporary learning spaces, rehabilitation of damaged schools, provision of educational materials, school feeding programmes and psychosocial support. ECW-funded initiatives are also helping to build resilience in the face of future climate disasters, with teacher and school administrator training around disaster preparedness and management.
In identifying the impact and intersection of climate change and education in emergencies, the Fund aims to further embed climate priorities into ECW-supported programmes. This work involves:
- Integrating preparedness, disaster risk reduction and resilience into education programmes
- Helping national education systems to recover from disasters and provide education access and continuity to children and adolescents affected
- Empowering young and adolescent girls and boys to be at the forefront of local, national and global responses to the climate crisis
- Ensuring that learning in emergency contexts prepares children, particularly girls, to lead and influence the growth of the green economy
- Mobilizing new resources to increase our response to climate disasters and mainstream climate into our programmes and policy work