Climate change is a child rights issue: Bangladeshi children ahead of COP26
Bangladeshi children today called on the country's national leaders to address climate change as a child rights issue ahead of the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, UK, on October 31.
The children also asked decision makers to commit to involving children more in finding solutions to the climate crisis, highlighting the need for urgent action.
The calls were added to the Bangladeshi Children's Climate Declaration that a group of children handed over to the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Shahab Uddin, Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and other leaders through a programme.
Unicef Bangladesh organised the programme at the LD Hall of the Jatiya Sangsad.
The children's message to the government's official COP26 delegation was, "Bring our appeal with you when you travel to Glasgow. Climate change is a child rights issue."
The declaration was prepared in November 2020 at the first-ever children's climate summit by engaging over one million children pf the country involved with the UNICEF-supported Generation Parliament initiative by Bangladesh Debate Federation (BDF).
Children's climate declaration calls on the government to protect children against the impacts of climate change, reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, increase investments in education, training and a green economy, and consult children on policies and decisions that impact their future.
"Climate change is threatening our survival, well-being and future. We are asking you to stand up for the children of this country and do more to fight climate change," said 13-year-old Kaba Kaushin Arisha, who handed over the declaration on behalf of the children who participated in the 2020 Summit.
"Unless we act now and we act together, we will reach a point of no return. This is our call to you, and to COP26."
Shirin Sharmin Choudhury said children can be the catalyst of change. Children's climate declaration is making bridge between children and policy makers.
She said children are able to tell policy makers what kind of planet and earth they want. It is important to include children's views on climate change in the global agenda of COP 26. In this case, Bangladesh can lead the global platform.
She said concerted global effort is a must to address the adverse effects of climate change.
Shahab Uddin who is part of the official Bangladesh delegation to COP26, said, the government is committed to upholding the rights of children and addressing climate change as a child rights issue.
"We will continue working with and for children - for a better, safer, greener Bangladesh," he also said.
Sheldon Yett, Unicef Representative to Bangladesh, said, "Children in Bangladesh are not responsible for the climate crisis, yet they face its most severe impacts, paying the highest price."
"Unicef stands with children in Bangladesh in their appeal for intergenerational solidarity. The needs of children must be at the centre of the climate change response."
Although Bangladesh is among the lowest per-capita greenhouse gas emitting countries in the world (bottom 20 per cent), it is one of the countries that is most affected by climate change.
Unicef's first-ever Children's Climate Risk Index (CCRI 2021) found that children in Bangladesh are among the world's most vulnerable to climate change.
The Index ranked Bangladesh as the 15th country globally in terms of climate change risks and impacts on children.
Unicef estimates that one in three children in Bangladesh, nearly 20 million children, bear the brunt of climate change every day.
Ruling Awami League MP Shamsul Haque Tuku, president, parliamentary caucus on child right, presided over the programme.
AL MPs Aroma Dutta, Tanvir Shakil Joy, among others also spoke at the programme.