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’Children are at the frontlines of climate crisis’

Children are at the frontlines of the climate crisis and the most vulnerable are forced into overcrowded city slums where they often take on hazardous work to survive, said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF representative to Bangladesh, Monday.

They are also at greater risk for child marriage or sex work, he added while addressing an event of Visionaries speakers – a newly-created platform for inspiring talks that spark ideas, bold thinking and creative solutions – in the city.

Experts shed light on links between climate change and violence against children at the event.

They also explored ways to protect children’s well-being and safety – and to ensure that young people’s voices are heard – in the response to climate change.

Climate change as a driver of violence against children, including child marriage and child labour, was the focus of the event hosted by UNICEF, World Vision and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

UNICEF’s Children’s Climate Risk Index, which looks at how exposed children are to climate and environmental shocks, ranks Bangladesh 15 out of 163 countries.

One in three children in Bangladesh, nearly 20 million children in total, are victims of extreme weather, floods, river erosion, sea-level rise and other environmental shocks driven by climate change.

Many of them end up adrift in city slums. Millions are trapped in exploitative child labour, child marriage and trafficking.

“Environmental degradation is a driver of gender-based violence. Resource scarcity, conflicts and displacement caused by environmental degradation and climate change affect hard-won development gains and place vulnerable groups like women and children in a more disadvantaged position,” said Raquibul Amin, International Union for Conservation of Nature Country representative in Bangladesh, at the event.

“Ending gender-based violence and securing environmental sustainability will help us achieve the interlinked global goals.”

“Children and adolescents are crucial agents of change in the global fight against climate change,” said Suresh Bartlett, national director of World Vision Bangladesh.

“We believe that greater collaborations across diverse stakeholders are required to generate solutions for climate issues that can have lasting results.”

Adequate funding, awareness and training will help youths make the right choice to protect themselves from risks and impacts of climate change, said Md Alamgir Kabir, a youth activist from World Vision Child and Youth Forums.

Source: United News of Bangladesh