VP Naidu calls for including child-centric approach in response to climate change

New Delhi (NVI): Calling for including a ‘child-centric’ approach in response to climate change, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today said that child rights should be interwoven into key national climate change and adaptation strategies, policies and planning documents.

The Vice President’s remarks came while delivering the keynote address on online webinar- ‘Climate Parliament with Children’ organized by the ‘Parliamentarians’ Group for Children’ on the occasion of World Children’s Day today.

“India and the world finds itself at a pivotal juncture – our children are at tremendous risk due to climate change and as policymakers, leaders, upstanding members of the society, parents and grandparents, it is only us, who can come to their rescue. We cannot let apathy jeopardize our children’s future,” Naidu said.

While looking forward to hearing the perspective of children on these challenges, he said, “Child rights should be interwoven into key national climate change strategies, policies and planning documents. It is our response to climate change that needs to include a child centric approach that can be done through such platforms.”

UNICEF in partnership with the Parliamentarians’ Group for Children (PGC) organized  a Climate Parliament with Children, in the presence of Vice President Naidu, Minister, Women and Child Development, Smriti Irani and 30 Members of Parliament.

The special event was organised by UNICEF while Observing 31 years since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on November 20, that defined the rights of all children everywhere.

150 children representing children’s groups discussed the impact of climate change with the parliamentarians and presented an eight-point Charter of Demands on climate action. Approximately 7000 children were involved in the process supported by CivilSociety Organization networks across the country.

Speaking at the Children’s Climate Parliament, Women and Child Development Minister, Smriti Irani said, “It is wonderful to see such informed representation from children coming together with us to discuss the impact of climate change and working to dedicate ourselves to create an environmentally conscious future.” Outlining the efforts of the
government, she said, “We pledge to our children that we in our actions are committed to being environmentally responsible and prudent in resource actualization.”

Dr Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF India Representative said, “Millions of children around India are facing difficult times. Today we want to bring into focus the urgency for the pandemic recovery to be child centric, green and sustainable. Children are among the major stakeholders in the debate on climate change. It is important for them to be a part of the solution to one of the greatest challenges faced by humanity today.”

The eight – point Charter of Demands for Climate Action (attached) highlights the need for: Greener Public Transportation Options; clean environment, banning single-use plastics; prioritizing afforestation; creating greater awareness in schools and communities; research linking climate change and public health; stronger enforcement of environment regulations by
local government bodies; bridging the digital divide and building a climate movement.

UNICEF said that the current pandemic has demonstrated how quickly global risks can multiply and spread, and why resilience and timely actions are vital to protecting the world from major threats that the climate change pose. Young people across the world are speaking up about climate risks and the action that governments across the world need to take, it said in a release.

On the occasion, well-known celebrities also expressed solidarity with children and their rights for World Children’s Day and through the pandemic. They included UNICEF Global Goodwill Ambassador, Amitabh Bachchan; Sachin Tendulkar, Regional Ambassador, UNICEF South Asia; Ayushmann Khurrana, UNICEF Celebrity Advocate; Kareena Kapoor Khan, UNICEF Celebrity Advocate.

-ARK