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Child voices: children of Nepal speak out on climate change adaptation

In 2008 Children in a Changing Climate’s research programme worked with ActionAid Nepal, and its partner organisations, to help poor children in the plains, hills and urban areas of Nepal make short films about how climate change is being experienced by their communities. Making these films allowed the children to explore how the changing climate is impacting them and their families, how they are coping and what they need in order to adapt to a changing climate. This report is based on the findings of the participatory video project and additional research with children in the project communities.

The report aims to provide an opportunity for children from three geographically diverse areas of Nepal to speak for themselves on their climate change adaptation needs. The authors do not claim that the children interviewed represent all the children of Nepal, but this report offers an opportunity for an international audience to hear their perspectives on their climate change adaptation needs.

The research found that poor children and their families in Nepal are being impacted by a changing climate. The children identified impacts to their families’ livelihoods, their health, their education, their emotional wellbeing, and their access to water, as a result of floods, droughts and landslides, all caused by increasingly erratic and unpredictable weather patterns.  However, these children are not passive victims of climate change, and the research found that they and their families are already making changes to their lives in order to cope, but they face severe constraints.

This report makes a number of recommendations for upholding children’s rights in the context of climate change:

  • children have a right to be heard at all levels, in their communities, and in climate change debates at national and international levels
  • from a rights-based perspective, working with children on climate change adaptation is not optional; it is protecting their rights
  • the changing climate is impacting families’ livelihoods and their ability to afford to send their children to school. Governments need to ensure, through scholarships, stipends or fee waivers, that families do not take their children out of school as a coping strategy
  • many developing countries, including Nepal, have or are preparing National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs). In order for NAPAs to be both effective and equitable, consultation, dialogues and discussions in various policy spaces must include the views and needs of children.