Children over the years have become aware of climate change and are often seen raising this issue at various platforms. Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, 17, even challenged world leaders to take immediate action against climate change. In order to urge parliamentarians in India to make policies taking into consideration climate change, the Parliamentarians’ Group for Children (PGC) organised a virtual Climate Parliament with children on the occasion of the World Children’s Day on November 20.
The virtual Climate Parliament took place in the presence of Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani, 15 MPs and over 150 children representing children’s groups.
Naidu, who delivered the keynote address, said that children are at tremendous risk because of climate change and it is the responsibility of policymakers, leaders, parents and grandparents to come to their rescue.
The Vice President added, “Child rights should be interwoven into key national climate change strategies, policies and planning documents. It is our response to climate change that needs to include a child-centric approach that can be done through such platforms.”
Manisha Ram, the Vice President’s equivalent in the National Inclusive Children’s Parliament, asserted that they have all seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has been addressed in a decisive way. She also said that policies for climate should be formulated beyond the limited politics and even called for the declaration of climate emergency. She highlighted that people have got a few years to save this planet, Earth.
During the event, children put forward a charter of demands to Parliamentarians calling on them to take specific and urgent action against climate change. They drew the attention of Parliamentarians towards the issue through storytelling methods such as songs, art, speeches and poetry. Children even asked questions to leaders on topics ranging from greenhouse gas emissions to the role of corporates in combating climate change.
Appreciating the children for being aware of the issue of climate change, Irani said, “We pledge to our children that we in our actions are committed to being environmentally responsible and prudent in resource actualization.”
The PGC organised Climate Parliament in association with UNICEF India and it was supported by Swaniti Initiative.