Children, participation and disasters in Europe: A poor record



The role of children in disaster risk management (DRM) is an emerging subfield of disaster studies in which Peek et al (2018, 2019) have noted major empirical, theoretical and methodological advances in recent years. Such studies have helped scholars from disciplines such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, public health, geography or political science, to name just a few, understand, develop and expand how children and disasters interact with, affect and transform each other. The growth of this field coincides with, and has been encouraged by, two major policy pronouncements: the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) (OHCHR, 1989), which has clearly contributed to a more explicit discussion of children’s rights in disaster situations (Hayward, 2012), and the inclusive and participatory turn promoted by the UN’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (UNDRR, 2015).

Accordingly, children are increasingly (and globally) engaged in participatory action projects that aim to enhance their strengths and build their personal and collective resilience (Zeng and Silverstein, 2011). The main goal of this chapter is to provide an overview of the work done in this area internationally, and particularly at the European level. We draw on the Scoping Review undertaken for the CUIDAR project, analysing 261 programmes, policies and practices developed in five EU countries (Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK), and discuss how children and young people are currently involved in DRM. Specifically, we are interested in understanding what assumptions are made about children and young people in DRM, and how these assumptions affect and shape their participation.

Rodríguez-Giralt, Israel, Arenas, Miriam, & López, Daniel. (2020). Children, participation and disasters in Europe: A poor record. In Rodríguez-Giralt I., Mort M., & Delicado A. (Eds.), Children and Young People’s Participation in Disaster Risk Reduction: Agency and Resilience (pp. 15-36). Bristol: Bristol University Press.