Legarda Renews Call for Greater Youth Involvement in Climate ActionNovember 25, 2015
Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call for the government to empower the Filipino youth to become more actively involved in climate change issues.
Legarda, United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, made the statement in observance of the first National Day for Youth in Climate Action, which is celebrated every November 25, starting this year, by virtue of Proclamation No. 1160.
“Our children and young people have the greatest stake in the sustainability of our planet. If we do not act now to mitigate climate change, the adverse effects of global warming will already be greatly felt by our children and grandchildren,” she said.
The Senator also noted that children are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts.
According to a UNICEF study, about 690 million of the world’s 2.3 billion children live in areas most exposed to climate change, which means they face higher rates of death, poverty and disease due to the warming climate.
“We have to strengthen the protection of our children from climate change and natural hazards. We have to ensure that public infrastructure such as schools are safe, and child protection must be a priority, before, during and after a disaster,” Legarda explained.
She said that children and young people must be empowered and supported as agents of social inclusion and safety. “When we create an enabling environment for children to witness and practice disaster risk reduction early on in life, we inculcate in them a level of disaster preparedness that will be passed on to the succeeding generations when they become adults.”
Meanwhile, Legarda also said “It is important that our youth’s voices are heard and they are involved in climate negotiations, like the COP21, to discuss issues such as sustainable economic development and climate resilience because these issues will define their own future.”
From November 30 to December 11 in Paris, at the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), nations including the Philippines will gather in the hope of achieving an ambitious and legally binding agreement that would limit the rise in global temperatures to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.
“The COP21 will be a life-changing conference, a world-changing event. Its outcome is crucial to the survival of this generation and the succeeding ones, and of Earth itself. We hope that it will be more than just the usual dialogue of leaders; that world leaders will declare or renew their commitment to lead our people out of the crises and uncertainties brought about by climate change; that political will would finally match the call of climate science,” Legarda stressed.
Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, has filed Senate Resolution No. 1669, supporting the proclamation of November 25 of every year as the National Day for Youth in Climate Action.
She also filed Senate Bill No. 2502, the proposed Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act, which aims to improve the provision of emergency relief and protection for children during humanitarian emergencies by directing the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in coordination with the office of Civil Defense (OCD) to formulate a Comprehensive Emergency Program for Children upon the declaration of a national or local state of calamity.