• Ecological Child Rights and Climate Justice

    One of the focal point of the NASC is ensuring Ecological Child Rights. Human rights framework includes Ecological rights as one of the primary rights of the every citizen. Children of the marginalised communities, today, are experiencing various types of exploitation-cause of human rights violations, slavery, child labour, child abuses, and denial of right to food, education, health and negligence even within the protected zones like family, school, and community and in the public. Fundamental rights such as drinking water, food, shelter and education are not accessible by the children in today state. In the case of marginalised sections such as adivasis, dalits, urban poor, migrants, displaced communities are facing continues challenges because of the over exploitation of earth and its resources and because of the ‘gap’ interms of opportunity for participation in development. The climate change is leading to several types of issues. Reduction of agriculture production, water scarcity, food scarcity, unexpected floods and droughts are the big threats to the present and future generation. In this way, the National Adivasi Solidarity Council is promoting ecological rights for the children to gain a sustainable development. NASC involves in advocating equal developmental rights for the best of present and future generation by working towards climate justice with child rights perspective for establishing a justice world with good governance systems. 

    1. Climate Change & Global Warming: Climate change, a global issue, poses a major threat to human security. The first comprehensive report into the human cost of climate change warns the world in the throes of a ‘silent crisis’ that is killing 300,000 people each year. More than 300 million people are already seriously affected by the gradual warming of the earth and that number is set to double by 2030. Problems like drought and flood are nothing new however; the frequency of these has caused concern and much thinking in the recent past. It is believed that in the days to come, extreme weather conditions will become more frequent increasing the frequency of such hazards. Millions of people could be rendered homeless in low lying deltas like Bangladesh, Egypt and China. India will feel the impact not only in terms of heat waves and floods but on the economy as a whole. With increased population, the demand for energy, fresh water and food has considerably gone up putting pressure on the already stressed agricultural sector.  For example, as per the report on July 12th, 2010, the heavy flood in Panjab and Hariyana state made the loss of over 1500 crores of worth agricultural production. This will lead towards heavy food shortage in this year. Global warming and the consequent climate change will affect present and future generation. Vulnerable communities, who are the least contributors to the climate change, are the worst affected groups due to unequal development policies and priorities of the government. Natural resources are over exploited by the profit making companies and the strength of planet is reducing. We need to protect this planet for the children of today and tomorrow.

    2. Extreme Poverty & Climate Change: There are different approaches to relate the concept of poverty to various dimensions of the impacts of poverty. One of the root causes of poverty can be seen by the results of global warming and climate change. The biological approach relates to this irreducible core of absolute deprivation, keeping issues of starvation and hunger at the centre of the concept of poverty. The chronic hunger is multidimensional in nature and complexly inter-linked with a wide range of factors such as economic backwardness, social exclusion, organized exploitation, regional inequality, gender discrimination, livelihood insecurity, land alienation, displacement and resource alienation. The results of this poor and marginalized are the most sufferers. We could conclude that poverty is a main issue, which is creating problems at anywhere. This is how, the marginalized, poorest of the poor, suppressed and most vulnerable people are suffering even to intake sufficient calories, even to get one meal per day and also easily affect from malnutrition, anemia, diarrhea and other deficiency disorders. The upshot of poverty is children are the most sufferers. We need concrete action to overcome poverty. The governments of the world must urgently come up with an effective, realistic and just agreement on how to collectively tackle and cope with climate change without undermining the right to development of the world’s poor and marginalized people. We need an effective negotiation to enhance child rights in this aspect.

    3. Agriculture and Climate Change: Climate-change clearly affects agriculture and food production and the temperatures will rise in India by 2.5 degree Celsius to 4.9 degree Celsius as a result of climate-change. This temperature rise would cause yield losses of about 32% to 40% for rice and 41% to 52% for wheat. There would be temperature rise of +2 degree Celsius and rain change of +7% and farm level total net revenue would fall by 9%. If temperatures rise by more than 3 degree Celsius and rainfall change is +15% or more rainfall in farm level net revenue would be as much as 25%. Across the country water-intensive crops like rice, sugarcane, wheat will suffer. As rainfall diminishes and becomes erratic, mono-crop cultivation gets more and more difficult. Recent “development” of urbanization is reducing number of acres of cultivation and thousands of people are shifting from agricultural activity to non-farming activity. This will lead to several issues. People’s control over land production and organic farming are systematically ruined and their self-determination power is removed from farmers. The impact of this farmer community commit suicide and children are sold out. Child trafficking is closely linked with availability of local resources.

    4. Food Sovereignty & Climate Change: Climate change will create a great impact in food production. Food shortage is occurring in developing countries, which leads to mal-nutrition and death. Asian Development Bank Director Mr. Guinea Senga says that, more than 50 million people will be suffered by water scarcity, 5000 million people will live in hunger and more than 30 million people will die due to the malnutrition, starvation when the earth’s surface temperature increase from 1degree Celsius to 5 degree Celsius. Around 39 million people in India suffer from transitory food insecurity. It is estimated that almost 30% of children have a birth weight of less than 2.5 kg, and 53% of children below five years are underweight. Considering the population growth, it is estimated that by the year 2025, about 17% more water will be needed to grow sufficient food and reduce hunger. 1/5 of the world population has no safe drinking water. Quality of the clean water will be decreased in the following years. Many individuals, families and communities, in both rural and urban areas, continue to struggle with hunger, starvation, which for them is a way of life. They are usually people from the unorganized sector, such as landless workers, poor and artisans, socially oppressed groups like dalits and adivasis, single women-headed households, destitute persons, persons with disabilities, old people without care-givers, migrant workers, urban street children and others. The number of adults who live and die under conditions of starvation is relatively unknown. An estimate says that more than 200 million people go hungry and about 50 million are on the brink of starvation. We have extrapolated from data to assess the extent of hunger in India. UNICEF estimates that in the year 2000 about 24,20,000 children in India died before reaching the age of five. It estimates that about half of these deaths of children under five are associated with food shortage and malnutrition. People have lost their survival rights. Local community’s self-governance power over land usage is vanished. In the name of “development” forced migration, displacement, land alienation, un- acceptance to traditional cultivation have made the food in-security and forced for inequality. Poor Public Distribution Systems and hopeless employment guarantee schemes further increased poverty and injustice. People’s authority over food sovereignty and governance over natural resources are logically violated.

    5. Forestry & Climate Change:The Global deforestation sharply accelerated around 1852. It has been estimated that about half of the Earth’s mature tropical forest –between 7.5 million and 8 million sq km of the original 15 million to 16 million sq km that until 1947 covered the planet –have now been cleared. Some scientists have predicted that unless significant measures are taken worldwide, by 2030 there will only be 10 percent remaining. Deforestation will create changes in weather conditions and loss of biodiversity. Article 48A of the Indian Constitution provides for protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life and Article 51A Protects & improves the natural resources-forests, lakes, rivers and etc. These rights have to be implemented appropriately to protect our earth for the betterment of future world. That means mining should be stopped. Otherwise, it will increase global warming and that will have worse impact on living creatures. Among in which children have to face challenges and their sustainability will became question mark. Sustainable development is depending on protection of forest resources, sustaining balanced agricultural food production, keeping the land & natural resources for the future generation.

    6. Health Problems & Climate Change:The climate change will leads several health problems to the people particularly the most vulnerable including children, women and elderly. Shortage of food materials and price hike will result in malnutrition and ill health. Low birth weight and high infant and mother mortality will be more. Increased incidence of vector borne diseases like malaria, dengue, water borne diseases like jaundice, air borne diseases like asthma, respiratory problems and cardiovNASCular problems will be more among the developing countries. Rural, tribal and urban poor will have more diseases due to changes in climate. 

    Every Year Climate Change may kill 400,000 Children and it will increase year by years! More than 46% of the world's population is now younger than 25 years old and approximately 175 million children will be affected by climate change induced natural disasters like cyclones, droughts, floods, food shortage, water scarcity, child trafficking, violation and exploitation will increase every year! Climate change mainly will hit women and children of the poor and vulnerable communities. Constitutional Rights says that “certain common properties such as rivers, seashores, forests, water bodies and the air, were held by the Government in trusteeship for the free and unimpeded use of the general public. The resources like air, sea, waters and the forests have such a great importance to the people as a whole, that it would be totally unjustified to make them a subject of private ownership. The concept “environment” bears a very close relationship to this doctrine. The doctrine enjoins upon the resources for the enjoyment of the general public, rather to permit their use for private ownership or commercial purposes”. But in reality, human activity causes climate change. Intense use of fossil fuels for rapid industrialization, land & water exploitation by companies, energy guzzling airplanes, motor vehicles and household appliances are emitting carbon dioxide (Co2), methane and nitrous oxide. We need action to protect this earth, to promote climate justice and to secure food sovereignty for the best of all particularly children. Organized advocacy process can lobby with policy makers to establish a World with ecological balance with just & fair governance. 

    Plan of Action of our organisation in ensuring Ecological Child Rights

    Establishing Child Rights and promoting Climate Justice with Food Sovereignty and Good Governance.        
    We advocate for child rights at all level by empowering the local community with children’s participation to fight for climate justice, food sovereignty, good governance and self-rule with people’s power over natural resources for the sustainable development of all. This is structured with systematic plan by building capacities, increasing networking, extending mutual learning and exploring opportunities.  Our aims and activities are...

    • Protecting Child Rights with Human Rights perspective.
    • Promoting Food Security, Ecological Rights and Sustainable Development.
    • Expanding networking and mutual Learning Systems.

    Capacity building programmes:

    • Workshop on Food Security & Child Rights for the NASC members of South India and planning advocacy activities to promote ecological child rights with children’s participation.
    • Community-based programmes with children’s participation to follow it on ‘Children’s Charter on Climate Justice’ as field level actions in line with UNCRC & UNFCC by the NASC network members
    • Organising working group meetings, collecting and sharing of information for mutual learning systems /best practices.

     Networking and Linkages:

    • Formation and strengthening of Child Rights Clubs for Climate Justice (CRCCJ) as state and national level ecological child rights clubs for securing Ecological Child Rights with climate justice. Promoting it at each partner areas and establishing linkages with all NASC and Non-NASC partners.
    • Exposure program between children of NASC and NACDIP partners to develop cross learning on Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Child Rights by networking together towards child friend society.
    • International exchange program between students of Germany & India for examining the current paradigm of development and promoting collective effort towards sustainable development.

    Advocacy & Policy intervention programmes:

    • National level Children’s Conference on Ecological Rights; Dialogue on Food Security Act, Seed Bill, Forest Rights Act, NREGA, PDS and on Compulsory Education Act. Influencing policies and laws through advocacy activities initiated by members of NASC network
    • Developing charter of demands with children’s participation along with self-help groups and submitting to the policy makers to the state governments, national government and to the international bodies on Child Rights, Climate Justice and Governance issues. 

    “It is time to say loudly that the crisis is not really about climate. It is not about rising sea levels and the melting arctic, dead seals and polar bears facing extinction. It is about us, our lives, and the planet and the way the powerful and rich of the Earth have dominated and kept destroying them for centuries, to accumulate private wealth.