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Give our children a voice

Torika Tokalau
Thursday, May 02, 2013

THERE are not enough opportunities given to children and youths in the Pacific to discuss climate change and its impacts.

Plan International Australia's program manager (disaster risk reduction) Suresh Pokharel believes more effort should be made by governments and stakeholders to involve children and youths in an issue greatly impacting their lives.

"The remoteness of communities that climate change is having a direct impact on is unnoticed by governments or other stakeholders — this is quite common in the region," he said at the Child Centered Climate Change Adaptation (4CA) workshop being held in Suva.

"Traditionally, children are either neglected or ignored in development discussions which would have direct impacts to the children, let alone the issue of climate change.

"There is no opportunity given to them to discuss the risk of climate change, planning and participation on implementation."

4CA began in 2011 to build safe and resilient communities in which children and youths could contribute to managing and reducing the risks associated with changes in the climate. This included increasing the awareness and capacity of children, youths and communities of climate change and related disasters.

"Pacific Island countries have a very young generation, having more than 50 per cent within the youth age range," Mr Pokharel said.

"On average, climate change is having very negative impacts on the daily life of people in the region, more than anywhere in the world. Children are most affected, with regards to their education, health, livelihood and growth."

Mr Pokharel said climate change was also a humanitarian concern considering the bulk of the world's population was within the youth and child range.





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