Children Charter On Climate Justice
Reassuring Ecological Child Rights –initiative by KNH and Its partners in India with children
Kinder Not Hilfe (KNH), a German based child rights organization, jointly with its partners endeavors to adapt “child rights approach” as central to its development partnership. Child Rights Approach calls for a change in the way things are viewed. This approach empowers children to demand justice as a right and not as charity (and) implies the direct involvement of children in decisions relating to their own development. Thus partners of KNH in the southern states of India, who adapted to Child Rights Approach periodically, meet, to reflect on the effectiveness of the approach in relation to basic rights of the child including Ecological rights. Series of discussions within the working group of KNH partners as well among children across the southern states resulted in appropriate peer pressure built across children in the partners working area and a signature campaign at every field level with convergence activity wherein a children charter evolved. Later this charter was presented to the Mayor of Chennai where children were able to demonstrate their voice not only by charter but also through a human chain which called for wider publicity across general public. Later few representatives of the children from RCPDS presented the charter at the National Public Hearing held in New Delhi to reach the National government. The final version of the children charter and the children signature banner was presented to wider audiences at COP 15 held at Copenhagen by representatives of the working committee, sponsored by KNH. Children, apart from making a charter, evolved way forward to address not only climate justice as macro issue but also making micro plans for appropriate adaptation and mitigation.
Dr John Devavaram
Children are the hopes of our future. They are the roots of humankind. Any society that denies warm welcome and the right to share to the children cannot flourish. There is a strong will commitment from the adults including local and international governments, as duty bearers, to ensure sufficient space and opportunity for children to enjoy their basic rights. To ensure this KinderNotHilfe (KNH), a German based child rights organization, jointly with its partners endeavors to adapt “child rights approach” as central to its development partnership. Child Rights Approach calls for a change in the way things are viewed. This approach empowers children to demand justice as a right and not as charity (and) implies the direct involvement of children in decisions relating to their own development. This change of perspective which makes children into rights holders, who have a legal claim against persons or system that govern their life.
Later 20 children from the representative groups promoted by RCPDS, participated at the National level public hearing event on climate justice held at New Delhi during 11-13 November 2009 to raise their voice and to make an appeal of the children charter to committee pressurizing Government of India to accommodate the views of children in their text at COP 15. Children also explicitly and categorically made a demand for including their views at all levels (local/State/Regional/National and International) to ensure their ecological rights. This move made most of the senior bureaucrats to reflect on the need to include children perspective into the National Action Plan for climate crisis.
We, Children, recognise impact of climate crisis is beyond the boundaries of geographical country line and any excess emission of harmful gases will create its impacts on the global community and global children and their future. With this in the perspective we as children also realise that there is a great deal that we could contribute to change the scenario by not only blaming the governments and external community. No doubt there need to be strong and conducive policies at every level backed by strong will taking into consideration of our view. As a result of the above process we place our charter.
- Avoid over exploitation of our National resources by vested interests of developed nations and not instituting effective mechanisms for pay back of debts which aggravate poverty and pose a great threat to our food security
- Assure to address equity issues related to our basic and ecological rights as stipulated in UNCRC, which We children from marginalised sections (local/regional/National/Internationally)are experiences as against the children of developed economy/countries
- Provide/create adequate space to express/raise our voices from our experience, perceptions. Recognise and Include “Children Led Ecological Rights Clubs” (may be this is formed in different names in various States/countries) as part of the policy formulation processes at local/State/National and International forums including UNFCC
- In the domestic front equity issues should be addressed and assured from the “have-nots” perspectives - the great 70% living in poverty stricken fragile eco systems and food security
- Provide adequate space for awareness on the root causes of climate crisis and is impact on our future and the very existence of ecological child rights should be given to our fellow
- Protect our food security and sovereignty
- Introduce systematic CRR (climatic Risk Reduction) practices as part of our regular learning
- We call for a Child Focussed State/National Action Plan on Climate Change that will be arrived at after a wide consultation of children and be sanctioned by State Assembly/parliament.
- “The earth provides enough for everyone’s need for not for anybody’s greed”
- We have rights as children for survival, protection, to be heard and to enjoy ecology within the national and International framework.
- Our demand is that our voices should be heard at all policy debates on climate crisis and given special space in the policy formulation processes.
- We feel “WE CHILDREN” form 1/3 of the global population and eagerly awaiting a prosperous eco friendly future.
- Hence our voices cannot be sidelined. Our demand is not optional but our basic right. We feel our concern should go beyond the National boundaries as Voice of the Global Children.
- The decisions we make today will have a signiﬁcant impact on our lives. We will live the consequences. We will breathe air and drink the water you leave for us. As children and future citizens of this earth, we need to be given a greater voice on climate change issues from the Rights perspective as spelled out in the “Ecological Child Rights”. We use this platform to make our voice for climate justice heard at all levels and from which we can express our demands.
- We, Children have considerable strengths that are a significant resource for families, communities and organisations. The value of our knowledge, creativity, energy, enthusiasm, and social networks should be recognised and encouraged.
- We assure and want to work closely with Regional/National and International governments and adults to contribute ideas and design policies that will affect our lives, now and into the future. We would like to move forward with a multi-generational, multidisciplinary vision.
Our next plans
- Initiate a forum to reiterate climate justice for children at the national level
- Children working groups to set up hands on experience on low carbon, mitigation and adaptation process including advocacy
- These working groups, apart from doing the above, will act as pressure groups at the local/regional and National levels through appropriate campaigning and advocacy
- Formally register our network, with representation across the states, legally to gain full participation and representation eligibility at various forums to make our voice heard.