UNICEF: Bangladeshi children call for climate action and intergenerational solidarity on World Children’s Day

20 November 2020
Bangladesh. A millions of children at risk of deadly water-borne diseases.
UNICEF/UNI332044/Aronno

DHAKA, 20 November 2020 – Bangladeshi children sounded the alarm on climate change, and called for urgent action today at a historic Children’s Climate Summit.

The Summit culminated in the adoption of a Children’s Climate Declaration, which was presented to national leaders in the spirit of intergenerational solidarity. In the Declaration, the children call for decision makers to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; to invest in education, training and a green economy; and to protect children against the impacts of climate change.

Over 1 million children were engaged in preparations for the Children’s Climate Summit as part of the UNICEF Generation Parliament digital platform, which connects children to policies and decisions that impact their future. The virtual Summit, hosted by UNICEF, brought together 300 “child parliamentarians” representing all constituencies in Bangladesh to debate climate issues, policies, and actions to safeguard their future. 

“Our country is on the front line of climate change. Sea level rise, erosion, pollution and extreme weather jeopardize our survival, wellbeing and future. Children must be consulted on policies and decisions that impact our future. There is no time to lose,” said Ridwana Islam (15), a Child Parliamentarian from Dhaka.

“The climate emergency requires bold leadership as we battle against the clock. We must look to children and young people for inspiration, courage and vision. UNICEF works to facilitate Bangladeshi children to be part of a societal decision-making process on climate change-related issues as they directly impact their future,” said Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh.

The Summit was chaired by Mr. Shamsul Hoque Tuku, Member of Parliament (MP) and President of the Parliamentary Caucus on Child Rights, and was attended by child climate activists, parliamentarians and climate stakeholders from across Bangladesh, as well as by the Government, civil society and the development community.

“Today children have taught us that our youngest citizens should play key role in shaping climate policy. It will be my pleasure if I could make a commitment to the Children’s Climate Declaration in the near future at the Parliament,” said the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Mr. Fazle Rabbi Miah, MP.  

The virtual Summit was the first gender-equal child parliament in Bangladesh with a 50 per cent representation of girls and 50 per cent representation of boys aged 13 to 17 years. The Summit connected young climate activists across geographical and social divides.

Together, the children delivered a clear message to Bangladeshi leaders: “Our futures are intertwined and our planet is shared. We must act now to confront the climate crisis and we, the children, must be part of the solution.”

Notes for editors

  • The Children’s Climate Declaration is available here.
  • The Children’s Climate Summit was broadcast live on the UNICEF Bangladesh Facebook page with a reach of 8.9 million followers.
  • Bangladesh holds the Presidency of Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) 2020-2022 chaired by Prime Minister, H.E. Sheikh Hasina. The CVF represents 1.2 billion people across 48 nations and plays a leading role in building partnerships, cooperation and knowledge to support countries highly vulnerable to a warming planet.

Download high resolution photo here.

Children’s Climate Declaration

Children’s Climate Summit, Bangladesh, 20 November 2020

 

The climate crisis may be the most critical issue of our time. For us children, it is a battle for our future, for the planet we share, for the lives we live, for the children today, and for the children of tomorrow. 

Our country is on the front line of climate change. Sea level rise, erosion, pollution and extreme weather jeopardize our survival, wellbeing and future. Unless we act now, we will reach the point of no return. The harm will be irreparable. The poor and vulnerable children will pay the highest price. 

We represent children in all 300 constituencies in Bangladesh, and we are speaking up for the rights of 61 million children in our country.  

We, the children, call for intergenerational solidarity and for action by our Government:  

  • Protect children against the impacts of climate change. Develop plans that secure health care, education and other essential services for communities impacted by climate change. We need climate resilient schools that can withstand rising sea levels, floods and storms.  
  • Reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Protect children and our planet from climate change. Safeguard the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the ecosystems we depend on.  
  • Expand environment education and green skilling. Teach children how to live in an environmentally friendly way and what we can do to reduce climate change. Equip young people with the professional skills required to reduce and adapt to climate change.   
  • Invest in a green economy and green jobs. Transition to a greener economy and support young people to access the employment opportunities this brings.  
  • Let children be part of the solution. Listen to us. Children must be consulted on policies and decisions that impact our future. We need support and solidarity from our leaders and other adults, we need to be given a say, and we need to be heard.  

We, the children, call for intergenerational solidarity and for exemplary leadership by the Government of Bangladesh. There is no time to lose. Our futures are intertwined and our planet is shared. Together we can reimagine a new vision for a better, safer, greener Bangladesh.  

We, the children, are ready to act with urgency and courage. Join us! 

 

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Media contacts

Faria Selim
UNICEF Bangladesh
Tel: +8809604107077

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.bd

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