Climate change, children and violence top the agenda at innovative Visionaries speakers event
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DHAKA, 6 April 2022 – Climate change as a driver of violence against children, including child marriage and child labour, was the focus today of a Visionaries speakers event, a newly-created platform for inspiring talks that spark ideas, bold thinking and creative solutions.
The event, which took place on 6 April at the InterContinental Dhaka, was hosted by UNICEF, World Vision and the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Experts took to the floor to shed light on links between climate change and violence against children. They also explored ways to protect children’s well-being and safety – and to ensure that young people’s voices are heard – in the response to climate change.
UNICEF’s Children’s Climate Risk Index, which looks at how exposed children are to climate and environmental shocks, ranks Bangladesh 15 out of 163 countries.
Children in Bangladesh are not responsible for climate change, yet they are paying the highest price for it. One in three children in Bangladesh, nearly 20 million children in total, are victims of extreme weather, floods, river erosion, sea level rise and other environmental shocks driven by climate change. Many of these children end up adrift in city slums, their health and educational prospects shattered. Millions are trapped in exploitative child labour, child marriage and trafficking.
“Children are at the frontlines of the climate crisis. The most vulnerable are forced into overcrowded city slums where they often take on hazardous work to survive and are at greater risk for child marriage or sex work,” said Mr Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh.
"Children and adolescents are crucial agents of change in the global fight against climate change, and at World Vision, we believe that involving them in solutions will generate positive results. We also believe that greater collaborations across diverse stakeholders are required to generate solutions for climate issues that can have lasting results,” said Suresh Bartlett, National Director of World Vision Bangladesh.
“Environmental degradation is a driver of gender-based violence. Resource scarcity, conflicts and displacement caused by environmental degradation and climate change affect hard-won development gains and place vulnerable groups like women and children in a more disadvantaged position. Ending gender-based violence and securing environmental sustainability will help us achieve the interlinked global goals,” said Raquibul Amin, International Union for Conservation of Nature Country Representative in Bangladesh.
"Adequate funding, awareness and training will help youths make the right choice to protect themselves from risks and impacts of climate change," said Md Alamgir Kabir, a youth activist from World Vision Child and Youth Forums, who spoke at the event.
Speakers at the Visionaries event:
Dora Platevic, USAID Bangladesh: Towards Resilient Futures: Let Youth Lead the Way;
Jahin Shams Sakkar, Uttaran: A Youth-Led Adaptation Strategy to Save Bangladesh's Tidal Rivers;
Jose Amaya, Gildan Activewear Inc.: Education as Key to Tackling the Climate Crisis;
Md Alamgir Kabir, World Vision Child & Youth Forums: The Multi-Faceted Reality of Vulnerability: Where does Climate Change Fall?;
Mohammad Shah Alam, Sesame Workshop: Our Climate, Our Future - Big Thoughts for Small Kids;
Natalie McCauley, UNICEF Bangladesh: Child Protection & Climate Change;
Sofia Canovas, United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) – Cox’s Bazar: GBV, Natural Disasters and Protracted Displacement: Towards a Rights-Based Approach;
Syed Tamjid Ur Rahman, Winrock: Expanding Opportunities for Climate-Vulnerable Youth through Digital Inclusion
Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association: Governance and Rights: Missing Link in the Protection of Women and Children Against Vulnerabilities from Climate Change and Environmental Degradation
Towfiq Khan, Centre for Policy Dialogue: Unpacking Inclusive Localisation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Bangladesh
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UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org
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The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a membership Union composed of both government and civil society organisations. It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,400 member organisations and the input of more than 18,000 experts. This diversity and vast expertise makes IUCN the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.
About World Vision
World Vision Bangladesh is a global Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization striving to create lasting change in the lives of children, their families, and communities living in contexts of poverty and injustice. With over 1,000 staff across the country and in partnership with local organizations, faith leaders, academia, private sector, and the government, World Vision Bangladesh implements multi-sectoral, integrated programming that places the sustained well-being of the most vulnerable children, at the center of all of its interventions.