Words into Action Guidelines - On the frontline of disaster risk reduction and resilience: children and youth engagement guide
Introduction: Hear our voices
As young leaders and citizens who are still in the beginning of the long journey of life, we are looking for safety, security and stability. Life is not always easy. Some of us are facing extreme life conditions caused by natural and human-made hazards that are unfortunately turning into disasters with devastating consequences. Others live in protracted conflicts that do not seem to be getting any better. Even more of us are going through other kinds of hardships that are yet to be fully understood and acknowledged by the global community. Having to bear the risks imposed by climate change, and finding solutions to adapt to its unpredictable implications while preserving the limited natural resources we have, is indeed challenging. While our parents and families may also have been through severe conditions, the fact remains that we, the children and the youth of today, are as one of the most vulnerable groups often disproportionately impacted by disasters.
Our hope for a better and safer future will never die, and our commitment and willingness to make our communities resilient is getting stronger by the minute. Take the time to go through the examples presented in this guidebook, of children and youth in different settings facing different challenges, and proactively taking initiative in creating change and solving problems. You will see a wide range of school projects, student movements and initiatives and young scholars and experts who are sharing their knowledge, expertise and insights with the world. Their vision is prosperity for people and the planet, now and in the future.
Engaging the youth and children along with thoroughly comprehending the challenges faced and the solutions offered and committing to full-fledged inclusion at every stage of planning and execution are the way to lead to effective and efficient solutions by the children and youth for them and the world. This is what we need and how we want to achieve it.
We want to leave the world a better place than we found it. So, are you actively listening? Are you ready to engage children and youth? Because together we can achieve a better and more sustainable future. Let's start now!