As we celebrate International Children’s Day, the Association for the Rights of Children in Southeast Asia (ARCSEA) adds its voice to the children of the world who are demanding that their voices be heard in negotiations regarding climate change, even as COP27 in Egypt draws to a close.
Children making their presence felt in COP27, going toe-to-toe with world leaders, highlight the fact that they are the ones who will experience the results of the negotiations as they inherit the future we are building for them.
We add our voices to 10-year-old Ghanian Nakeeyat Dramani Sam who demanded that rich nations be held liable and pay compensation for the damage that they have wrought on the environment. We join the call of 11-year-old Indian climate activist Licypriya Kangujamfor for the immediate and unconditional release of jailed climate activists.
Already, children of the world are suffering from the climate crisis. Due to their vulnerabilities and needs, children suffer more from droughts, severe typhoons and storms, and other natural disasters that have intensified due to climate change. They have difficulty continuing their education and learning when their homes and schools are flooded. Growing up becomes more burdensome when they are forced to evacuate or migrate because their village is at risk of sinking.
Only just a few weeks ago, the death toll from Severe Tropical Storm Paeng (international name: Nalgae) that ravaged the Philippines was pegged at 121 and affected over 3 million people. In Malaysia, over 1,800 people from various parts of the country have been relocated to relief centers due to severe flooding as the monsoon season begins. The start of this month also saw flash floods in five provinces in Thailand due to heavy rainfall.
The children at COP27 showed that children have an important role to play in climate negotiations. We at ACRSEA believe that only by including their perspectives and by considering the impact of the decisions we make today on their future can true climate justice be achieved.