Zambian Children’s Climate Conference Opens - Third National Children’s Climate Conference since Copenhagen
LUSAKA, Zambia, 17 August 2011 (UNICEF) – The third Zambian Children's Climate Conference (ZCCC3) started in Lusaka on Monday 15 August at the Barn Motel with participation of 300 young children from Zambia and four child climate ambassadors from Denmark. Since inception of the ZCCC in 2010, this is the first time that there is international participation.
Minna Søe, Line Dreyer Sander, Ziggy Rohde Olsen and Lea Backes, joined the Zambian children aged between 12 to 18 drawn from all of the country’s nine provinces in the five-day conference through which they will be empowered with knowledge on climate change, HIV prevention and life skills education. The conference is a joint collaboration between UNICEF Zambia and the Zambian Government through the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources. The national conference is the third of its kind in the world since the international Children's Climate Forum was held in November 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark where Zambian children were represented by four UNICEF child ambassadors.
Throughout the week, children will attend various workshops on the impact of climate change on food and agriculture, water and sanitation and waste management. They will also learn about HIV prevention as well as life skills education. They will develop Action Plans of what they will do back in their communities.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, UNICEF Zambia Country Representative Iyorlumun J. Uhaa, said that climate change was affecting the lives of children every day.
“Climate change has a bearing on many areas of the lives of children in education, health, water and sanitation, child protection. However, despite being the most vulnerable population, children and young people are rarely empowered to devise solutions to meet the challenges of climate change and to participate in major global debates,” said Dr. Uhaa.
“It is time that we equip the most at-risk stakeholders to participate in global efforts to tackle and reverse climate change. To ensure the health and survival of children worldwide, adaptation to climate change must be mainstreamed throughout development and humanitarian programming; children must be engaged in these efforts, especially by promoting awareness about livelihood and survival skills amongst their risk-prone peers, said Dr. Uhaa.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, Peter Mumba, commended UNICEF for working with the Government in enhancing awareness and building the capacity of children on climate change.
“These efforts will enable our children to grow up into responsible citizens who will ensure that the environment is well taken care of,” said Mr. Mumba.
Mr. Mumba pointed out that climate change was a pertinent issue for Zambia and unless something was done, the lives of future generations would be in danger.
A climate ambassador, Mutibo Kangende, urged other young people to practice what they learn and to share what they have learnt with the people in the community so that we could work jointly towards environmental conservation. Giving the vote of thanks, another child, Adrian Mapulanga, thanked UNICEF and the Zambian government for implementing the Unite4Climate programme and imparting climate change knowledge in young people.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For further information, please contact:
Deepa Risal Pokharel, Officer in Charge, Communications, UNICEF Zambia Tel +260-211-252055, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Maseko, Communication Officer, UNICEF Zambia Tel + 260-211 252055, E-mail: email@example.com