Wednesday October 20, 2021

‘Climate change a big risk for children, threatens their health and education’

September 19, 2021
‘Climate change a big risk for children, threatens their health and education’

Muhammad Ismail Rahoo, Sindh minister for environment, climate change and coastal development, said on Saturday that climate change was a big risk to the youth and children of Pakistan, threatening their health, education and protection.

He was addressing the participants of an awareness session and plantation activity titled ‘Ministerial Talk with Children on Climate Change’.

Save the Children in collaboration with the Society for the Protection of Rights of Children (SPARC) organised the event at the Sindh Boys Scouts Association, Provincial Headquarters, Karachi.

Children from five different schools from Karachi, district education officers and representatives from Save the Children and SPARC also participated in the event.

Yahoo said awareness should be created among children about climate change and they should engage in activities that helped in mitigating the impacts of climate change. He also emphasised the need for planting as many trees as possible.

The minister said the Sindh government was fully committed to dealing with issues in Sindh and the establishment of the Environment, Climate Change & Coastal Development Department in May 2016 was part of the initiative.

It comprises the Sindh Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), Sindh Environment Protection Tribunal (SEPT), Sindh Coastal Development Authority (SCDA) and Climate Change.

Ghulam Farooq, director programs of Save the Children, highlighted the numerous climate change challenges faced by Pakistan and the threats it posed to the survival, learning and protection of children.

He outlined the child-centered approach adopted by Save the Children to respond to climate change to support the federal and provincial governments.

Pakistan is ranked 8th in terms of countries most impacted by climate change and Karachi faces significant challenges such as extreme heat, a sea level rise and flooding.

In coordination with SPARC, Save the Children are engaging children to mitigate climate change by conducting climate change awareness sessions and tree plantation activities at 30 schools in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi.

Shumaila Muzammil, project manager SPARC, said that it was known that Pakistan is the most vulnerable country to climate change. “We face climate devastation, which is getting worse and worse, but not many, especially those making the decisions here, seem to care.”

In the session, children performed a stage drama to highlight climate change and its impact.

At the end of the session, Minister Rahoo, Farooq and children planted saplings in the main garden area of the Scout Headquarters.

Unicef report

A recent Unicef report said that young people living in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and India were among the most at the risk of the impact of climate change, which was threatening their health, education and protection.

‘The Climate Crisis Is a Child Rights Crisis: Introducing the Children’s Climate Risk Index’ is Unicef’s first child-focused climate risk index. It ranks countries based on children’s exposure to climate and environmental shocks, such as cyclones and heatwaves, as well as their vulnerability to those shocks, based on their access to essential services.