The Quezon City Government and UNICEF Philippines recognized the voice, agency, and leadership of children and youth in climate change efforts during this year’s World Children’s Day celebration.
Despite being the global epicenter of the climate crisis, having the highest levels of youth eco-anxiety, and displacement, children in the Philippines are taking matters into their own hands through their own initiatives.
“Ngayon, Para Bukas! A Call for Collective Climate Action” brought children’s perspectives ahead of the COP28 in Dubai. Results from children’s dialogues and surveys from the Local Conference of Youth 2023 (LCOY), U-Report, and the Quezon City Children’s Climate Change Agenda were presented to the COP28 Philippine delegation.
Philippines Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte also graced the event to express her support.
Among the demands of the children and young people include community-centered platforms for young people’s education and participation, mental health support networks and safe and enabling environments for Indigenous Peoples and environmental defenders.
“Children in the Philippines are bearing the brunt of climate change. They need to be given more opportunity to meaningfully participate in the decisions and actions that affect them. The voices, perspectives and ideas of children and young people must be heard at the highest levels and taken seriously. Many children and youth are already doing their part,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov says.
Among the youth-led programmes highlighted in the event included an organization protecting Irrawady dolphins in Western Visayas; an initiative teaching environmental and agricultural programs to public schools; a network of young environmentalist journalists; and an advocacy group that empowers communities living around the Pasig River.
“Youth are our most active force in nation-building, and we must maximize their skills and talents to secure the success of our climate change initiatives,” Mayor Belmonte said.
The Quezon City Government is at the forefront of the battle against the climate crisis. From promotion of sustainable energy, active mobility, food security, water conservation, air quality management to circular economy, the Quezon City Government has been successful in its environmental endeavors resulting in many recognitions here and abroad.
UNICEF in the Philippines is working to make essential social services more resilient to the effects of climate change, support mitigation and adaptation strategies, and giving children the education and skills needed to play a leading role in the just transition to a more sustainable world.
UNICEF is calling on the Philippine government to:
- ensure that government agencies involved in climate, environment, resilience, and those working with children and young people to work together and rationalize plans for climate mitigation and adaptation and ensure that these plans are sufficiently resourced
- include youth representatives in the interagency steering committees that make decisions on key climate change efforts and provide them with regular feedback
- work with local government agencies to ensure proper coordination, rationalization and consolidation of government agency directives involved in climate change to lessen the burden on the local government unit (LGUs). Plans of local governments should be fully funded and responsive to the specific and heightened vulnerabilities of children and youth, and that their right to meaningful participation is realized.