Education in Emergencies & Climate Crisis

Education in Emergencies (EiE) represents key support for climate change adaptation and mitigation, even as the rapidly intensifying climate emergency threatens children’s rights to education globally. Today, nearly half of all children – 1 billion – live in countries at extremely high risk of suffering the impacts of climate change, most of which are also faced with fragile contexts.1 These children and young people are exposed to multiple climate-related hazards and shocks, such as water scarcity, heat waves, forest fires, tropical storms, air pollution and flooding, and high vulnerability due to conflict. Furthermore, extreme weather events have become an increasing factor in people’s displacement in the last decade.2 This increases the urgency of addressing the effects of climate change on education, especially in emergencies.

Education can help increase countries’ adaptation to the negative effects of climate change.3 By educating children and young people at risk or already affected by crises, EiE helps them develop skills that increase their resilience. Education on environmental issues and climate change in schools creates awareness and promotes more sustainable living. Vocational training and technical education can prepare young people for green jobs. And crisis-sensitive planning and disaster risk management can increase education systems’ hardiness to climate shocks.

These shocks include extreme weather events, such as tropical storms, forest fires, and floods, which often damage or destroy school infrastructure. Droughts may keep children and young people out of school, while the impacts of warming may significantly impact educational attainment. The incremental economic impacts of the climate crisis may cause children to drop out of school permanently as families struggle to cope financially. And the children and young people who suffer the worst impacts are those already most affected by inequality and discrimination – including girls, those with disabilities, and indigenous children.

Dilmani Wickramsinghe, Child Advocate, Sri Lanka

What We Know

Urgent Actions


Nicolas Walder, Member of the National Council of Switzerland (Green Party)


Climate risk is making it harder for children to live, learn and thrive

Save the Children’s Born into a Climate Crisis report revealed that children born today experience more extreme weather events than their grandparents4

UNICEF’s Children’s Climate Risk Index shows that children in fragile contexts are more likely to be impacted by the climate emergency5

One quarter (8 out of 33) of extremely high-risk countries have more than 5% of the population displaced.

Climate-related hazards and shocks are making it harder for children to learn and thrive

Further Reading

*The members of the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies contributed their knowledge and expertise to this document. Contact us.


  1. UNICEF (2021). The Climate Crisis Is a Child Rights Crisis: Introducing the Children’s Climate Risk Index
  2. IDMC (2020) Understanding the climate change-displacement-education nexus for building resilient and equitable education systems
  3. Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) (2021). Global Report on Internal Displacement 2021
  4. Save the Children (2021a). Born into the Climate Crisis: Why we must act now to secure children’s rights.
  5. UNICEF (2021). The Climate Crisis Is a Child Rights Crisis.
  6. Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) (2021). Global Report on Internal Displacement 2021
  7. Theirworld (2018). Safe School: The Hidden Crisis – A framework for action to deliver Safe, Non-violent, Inclusive and Effective Learning Environments
  8. Malala Fund (2021). A greener, fairer future: Why leaders need to invest in climate and girls’ education

Additional Sources