New guidelines provide first global policy framework on protecting children on the move in face of climate change

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Georgetown University, and the United Nations University have today launched new guidelines to provide the first-ever global policy framework that will help protect, include, and empower children on the move in the context of climate change.
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The Guiding Principles for Children on the Move in the Context of Climate Change provides  a set of 9 principles that address the unique and layered vulnerabilities of children on the move both internally and across borders as a result of the adverse impacts of climate change. Currently, most child-related migration policies do not consider climate and environmental factors, while most climate change policies overlook the unique needs of children.

The guidelines note that climate change is intersecting with existing environmental, social, political, economic, and demographic conditions contributing to people’s decisions to move. In 2020 alone, nearly 10 million children were displaced in the aftermath of weather-related shocks. With around one billion children – nearly half of the world’s 2.2 billion children – living in 33 countries at high risk of the impacts of climate change, millions more children could be on the move in the coming years.

Developed in collaboration with young climate and migration activists, academics, experts, policymakers, practitioners, and UN agencies, the guiding principles are based on the globally ratified Convention on the Rights of the Child and are further informed by existing operational guidelines and frameworks.

The guiding principles provide national and local governments, international organizations and civil society groups with a foundation to build policies that protect children’s rights.

The organizations and institutions are calling on governments, local and regional actors, international organizations, and civil society groups to embrace the guiding principles to help protect, include, and empower children on the move in the context of climate change. More


The Guiding Principles have been developed to safeguard the rights and well-being of children moving in the context of climate change, and are as follows:

Principle 1: Rights-based approach
Principle 2: Best interests of the child
Principle 3: Accountability
Principle 4: Awareness and participation in decision-making
Principle 5: Family unity
Principle 6: Protection, safety and security
Principle 7: Access to education, health care and social services
Principle 8: Non-discrimination
Principle 9: Nationality