Klimagipfel in Cancún: Letzte Eindrücke von Satish Samuel, Koordinator aus Indien

(10.12.2010) While visiting Cancun Messe, I had the opportunity to attend the Side Event “Bearers of future responsibility: Engaging Children and Youth in building climate change resilience” which was organized by Save the Children, Plan International and UNICEF.

 The aim of this event was to draw from the work on child-led/child centered adaptation programming, specifically that the voice of children is necessary to achieve community-led adaptation to bring integrated and effective climate change resilience. 

I was glad to witness that four children from Indonesia, Mexico, Belize and Haiti shared their experiences with the audience. Mrs. Mary Robinson and Mr. Evan have been the guest speakers.

By the organizers, three questions were raised:

  1.  How can inter-governmental justice considerations shape political decisions made today on climate adaptation and mitigation?
  2. What can leaders at national and community level do to empower children and young people to influence climate policy decisions and actions?
  3. What can we do to make the most vulnerable children – the poorest and least likely to have access to services – more resilient to disasters?

The guest speakers addressed the gathering saying children are using radio as communicating method. There should be a children centered approach while addressing this issue. Children are good in networking and hence they should be made to raise their voice. The children’s voices should be made heard by the politicians at least in Durban. 

The children shared their experiences as follows: 

Master Walter from Belize said that environmental education plays a major role among the children at schools. He also mentioned that children will do as the leaders do and hence the leaders should give the lead to the children on the issue. 

Miss Wendodyum from Mexico shared that in her country animals are vanishing because forests have been destroyed. In this context, animals do not find place to live hence people are not able to see many of them. She also challenged the negotiators that youth and children are willing to work with adults. But are you willing to work with us, she asked. 

Miss Marina from Indonesia shared that children are trying to raise funds from their pocket money to initiate few activities addressing the issue of climate change. Children are planting trees, particularly mangroves. Consciousness has been created on using plastic bags and now children are using non-plastic bags. Besides, they are insisting their communities to use the same. Youth and children are influencing their parents to support them in addressing this issue. 

Miss Coralien from Haiti explained that she is 14 years old and she has experienced hurricanes every year. She could not feel any difference between the seasons and the government is cutting down more and more trees. Fertile soil is washed away due to this factor. Butterflies are disappearing and pollution has become a big problem. Forests do not exist anymore. She also shared that many organizations come to Haiti when disasters occur. But do they come to make business or do they really intend to help the people out of these disasters, Miss Coralien asked.

 Mrs. Helena Molin from the organization “Values” summarized that through communication the climate justice issue should be addressed. She also asked whether schools are safe for children and if communities are taking care of this aspect.

 Mr. Evan expressed that there is a need to have time for children to interact with the negotiators. He also suggested that one child should be allowed to sit with every 6 or 7 ministers during official meetings. All delegations should include one youth in the team.

Then the floor was open to questions and comments from the audience and I explained that Kindernothilfe wanted to bring four Indian children to COP16. Moreover, I stated that we did not get the permission due to the strict rules and regulations of UNFCCC. I requested the organizations to take it up with UNFCCC and steps to be taken that UNFCCC to be flexible with their rules to create an opportunity for children to participate in the next COP17 at Durban. A huge applause by the audience welcomed my suggestion: “When you talk about the children, the children who are really affected should be heard.”

Finally, Ms. Emila McElvenney from Save the Children said that General Secretary, UNFCCC should be requested to provide accessibility for children at future negotiations.

“CHILDREN RAISE YOUR VOICES – BEFORE AND AFTER COPs”

Sathish Reginald Samuel,
Kindernothilfe India Coordinator

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