Children bring their visions of climate and economic equality to decision makers
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The 16-year-old girl concluded that there are factors that can be positively adapted to serve children in facing the challenges of climate change, which is the use of social media to reach decision makers on these issues, as well as strengthening the role of social responsibility in terms of dialogue with children , and in parallel with that, the needs of parents for responsibility and education of children about climate change.
According to a girl living in the Gaza Strip, these factors are one of the means that enable her as a child to participate with decision makers on climate action and economic equality, during her recent participation in a regional hearing conducted by Save the Children and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission of Nations for Western Asia (ESCWA). ), and the United Nations Population Fund.
This girl is one of 44 children in 12 countries of the Middle East and North Africa (Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, Sudan, Somalia and Morocco) who participated in the session.
Save the Children and its international partners spoke to 54,000 children in 41 countries, including 8,000 children in the Middle East and North Africa; Find out what they think about climate change and economic inequality, as part of the Generation of Hope campaign.
Their views and ideas have been compiled into a booklet, released last week, to be made available to decision-makers, researchers and those interested in climate change.
According to the booklet, the children interviewed emphasized the need to convey their opinion to those who make decisions. As they are seen to have the greatest share of responsibility for mitigating climate change and ensuring societies’ ability to adapt, children mentioned various ways in which they can become more involved with climate action decision-makers.
On the other hand, a 17-year-old girl from Morocco believes that one of the methods to attract the attention of decision-makers on climate measures is to participate in plays, songs and presentations, because the idea can be conveyed to adults by writing plays to depict the problems that children face .
For his part, a 14-year-old refugee living in Lebanon said: “We have to work on participatory research, where we collect data from decision makers, meet with them, get some information, and when we finish this work, we can present it to them.”
How are children included and involved?
All national adaptation plans submitted to date mention children, including a focus on children’s health, and include background information on climate and the impact of economic inequality on children, the handbook states.
Of the NDCs made in the region, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 45% are child sensitive, the second highest percentage of any region in the world, according to the handbook.
UNICEF clearly defines what it means to be child-sensitive: it must specifically relate to children and young people and it must be rights-based, which means ensuring that children and young people are referred to as “rights holders,” as the booklet says .
Recognizing the role of children in influencing climate policies and involving all groups, including those most affected by inequality and discrimination, UNICEF analyzed all 103 nationally determined contributions globally in 2021 and found that only 35 were “child-friendly . ” .
According to the brochure, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Palestine and Morocco have child-sensitive Nationally Determined Contributions. Many countries in the region have also included specific reference to youth in their NDCs, including Jordan, Tunisia, Somalia, Lebanon and Egypt.
According to the booklet, adults should recognize children as peers and partners in defining solutions to the climate crisis and make additional efforts to ensure that the views of children most affected by inequality and discrimination are communicated.
On the other hand, the participating children highlighted various ways in which governments and organizations can support their participation in climate change and inequality work, such as the need to financially and socially support large institutions or the government.
For her part, the 18-year-old girl from Oman calls on the competent authorities to make field visits to meet the children and listen to them. In this context, a special commission can be formed where children could express their views and needs, and a donation fund can be established to cover the damage caused to some families and children.
Children stated that they need moral, psychological and financial support from adults in order to meaningfully participate in activities related to climate change, including support for running their own campaigns and financial support for families in need of climate adaptation.
For her part, a 16-year-old girl from Iraq notes that children are trying to convey messages of climate change awareness, motivating people to plant trees and reduce factories that cause air pollution that leads to cancer and death.
In context, the 16-year-old girl from Lebanon said that governments and large institutions should provide financial support to help them implement these awareness campaigns and projects, “or distribute seedlings and recycling bins to encourage people.”
What is required of governments to support climate action in the region?
The children highlighted some of the important areas of climate action in the region that governments and organizations should support, which are aimed at “participating in road cleaning campaigns, recycling campaigns and other awareness campaigns to contribute to improving people’s knowledge about human actions that negatively impact on the environment and the important role that social media plays.” Social communication to increase this awareness.
For her part, a 13-year-old girl from Yemen emphasized the need to communicate with community committees and raise awareness through schools and social media, as well as cooperation in different contexts, with governments that support each other and work together and support children to interact in different contexts, countries.
In context, children emphasized that climate change is a global problem and cannot be tackled alone, while recognizing the importance of having strong climate change laws and policies, amid their calls for more social media campaigns to encourage people to join and participate in taking action on climate.