National Climate Change Conference highlights the voice of the youth

Climate change remains a global concern needing attention as its unprecedented impact has been strongly felt more than ever. In the Philippines, the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, rising temperatures and extreme rainfall have become evident in the recent years. Global Peace Index 2019 ranks the country as the most susceptible to hazards brought by climate change. The study also records that 47% of the country’s population is in the areas highly exposed to climate hazards such as tsunami, floods, tropical cyclones and drought. Taking urgent action to combat climate change and its seemingly irreversible effect is one of the priorities of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which the Philippine government is committed to implement.

In continuing response to the climate change issue, government agencies, academicians, youth members, and civil society organizations trooped to the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City for the 3rd National Climate Change Conference.

With the theme “From Lessons to Actions: Bridging Schools to Communities, Towards Addressing Climate Challenges,” the conference this time underscored the youth as potent and proactive participants who could provide valuable contribution in mitigating risks from the effects of climate change.

In a continuing response to the climate change issue, government agencies, academicians, youth members, and civil society organizations trooped to the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City for the 3rd National Climate Change Conference.
“Our youth whose minds are more creative and innovative can make a difference if given the right platform. It is the youth who may have the most at stake in whether we achieve sustainable living. You must raise your voice louder and take action. They will be the ones who will find solutions to the problems that the older generation has failed to solve,” says former Senator and now Antique Representative Loren Legarda. A known environmentalist, Legarda challenged the youth to act, mobilize others, and help raise awareness through all available platforms and dared all participants to do small acts that could make far-reaching impact. “Indecision and denial may be the worst stance we can make today. We have a future to secure. Each of you can be leaders of your community,” added Legarda.

In a continuing response to the climate change issue, government agencies, academicians, youth members, and civil society organizations trooped to the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City for the 3rd National Climate Change Conference.
Among the younger participants in the conference was Grade 7 student Joana, who has already been involved in environmental causes. For her, the conference served as a great venue for young voices like hers to be heard as they appeal to other members of the youth to take part in such activities no matter how small they may seem. “Hiling ko na mas marami pang kabataan ang maging kabahagi. Friends, we may be young but we can make a difference. We can dream of a better future for our environment. Nothing is impossible as long as we believe in it and work on it now.”

Joana and other children have the right to be heard and be taken seriously as stated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). It recognizes children’s capability to form their opinion and their right to express them on matters affecting their being and future. These insights will be valuable contribution for strengthening the country’s policy, advocacy, and innovation to address climate change.

World Vision shares this view and recognizes that finding solutions to climate change requires holistic engagement and partnership, and should include children and the youth. “We want our children’s voices to be as resounding as the gong. It is our duty to ensure that their rights are being promoted and that they are given full participation,” shares Aivon Guanco Regional Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs (HEA) Capacity Building Specialist- Asia Pacific Region of World Vision.

Presently, World Vision applies a child-focused disaster risk reduction management approach in Resiliency Improved for Sustainability and Empowerment for the Communities of Loon, Bohol (RISE Bohol), a project that aims to train at least 200 children and youth members on disaster preparedness, basic life support, basic first aid, and environmental protection initiatives. World Vision’s education technical program also includes campaigns on mitigating risks in schools and preparing children and teachers to respond should a disaster happen.

Every child deserves a resilient, safe and protected environment. Though children are among the most vulnerable sectors, they have the potential to act as agents of change and they have significant contribution in making decisions for their families and the wider community.

 



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