The Convention on the Rights of the Child provides articles which support the right of children to express their views and more importantly have the right to have their voice heard.
The one message that the adults need to hear is ‘involve us in the climate change analysis and decision making as it is the world that we will inherit from you”
- Children’s Climate Forum kicks off in Copenhagen
Children of the world are making their voices heard in the lead up to COP15.
Marie Sauer-Johansen “You will become frontrunners of your generation. You are the future, and I hope that you will remember Copenhagen as the beginning when you look back 10-20 years from now,” said Else Sommer from City of Copenhagen’s Department of Children and Family Care as she opened the Children’s Climate Forum on November 28.
The symbolism could not be stronger when the delegates, 165 children from 44 countries, plastered handprints in all the colours of the rainbow on a large globe and lifted it up, declaring the forum open.
“Children have a great ability to communicate, because we can hold hands and unite. While we are here, we can teach each other a lot about our cultures and what we are going through in our countries. We can come up with ideas of how to mitigate the effects of cliamte change to protect our environment, our countries, and the world at large, ” says Vanessa Njovu from the Zambian delegation.
Over the next week the children will share their local experiences of climate change and debate solutions, concluding in a resolution to be handed over to Connie Hedegaard, Minister for the UN Climate Change Conference 2009, at the close of the forum.
The forum is a collaboration between UNICEF, the City of Copenhagen and 22 Danish school classes acting as hosts for the visiting children.
Many of the child delegations represent ‘at risk’ countries, particularly vulnerable to climate change, such as Konduani Joe Banda from Zambia, a country struggling with droughts and heavy rain falls.
“The effects of climate change have been taking place gradually over the last five years in Zambia. If the sea levels rise in other countries, we see floods in Zambia, resulting in the spread of disease. Rain falls are also happening at the wrong time, and the country suffers under deforestation,” explains Mr. Banda.
After the forum, the children are to educate other children in their home countries on climate change issues.
And what is the message from the children to the adults at COP15, so far?
“Children are the grass roots of all nations, so if our opinion is taken into consideration it can affect the world at large. My message to the negotiators is less talk, more action. We want to see that the conference actually has an impact,” concludes Mr. Banda.
Check this site also:
considerus.org – a voice for children on climate change