Education, health and food security: children and adolescents Demand authorities address their needs in emergency contexts
- On World Environment Day, Save the Children Peru organized an intergenerational dialogue between representatives of childhood, high-level public officials, and members of international cooperation and civil society.
In emergency contexts, children in Peru have specific needs that must be urgently addressed by the authorities. During an intergenerational dialogue organized by Save the Children on the occasion of World Environment Day, representatives of children and adolescents demanded that key sectors such as education, health, and food security be prioritized, as they are areas that are critically affected by the climate crisis.
“In terms of health, we see how dengue in the north has severely affected us (…) Other issues include food security, with rising prices that impact malnutrition and anemia in the highlands and the jungle. We have also been affected in education,” said Andrés, representative of the Interdistrict Network of School Municipalities (REDIME).
According to official figures from the Ministry of Health (Minsa), over 37,000 children contracted dengue between January and May 2023. Unfortunately, 24 of them died. Furthermore, according to the Ministry of Education (Minedu), 978 schools have confirmed infrastructure damage. Overall, according to INDECI, more than 25,000 children have been affected by rain and flooding, a figure that was updated only until April 10.
In this context, Nohelia, a child representative of the Association for the Protection of Vulnerable Population (APPV), emphasized that solutions to these problems should involve the participation of children, considering that many children do not have the resources to access participation spaces like those organized by Save the Children within the framework of their global campaign “Generation Hope.”
Xiomara, an adolescent representative of the Advisory Council of Girls, Boys, and Adolescents (CCONNA), requested that participation recognize the diversity of childhood that exists in Peru. “Climate crisis, economy, food, physical health, mental health, all these problems may seem distant, but they end up being common throughout our territory,” she said.
These demands were presented to high-level public officials, including Cristina Rodríguez, Director of Climate Change Adaptation and Desertification at the Ministry of the Environment (MINAM); and Sandra Soria, Coordinator of the Environmental Education Unit at the Ministry of Education (MINEDU). Ivan Ayme, Specialist from the Directorate of Indigenous Policies at the Ministry of Culture (MINCUL), and David Patiño, Social Specialist from the Directorate of Policies for Children and Adolescents at the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations (MIMP), also participated.
During his intervention, David Patiño acknowledged that many subnational authorities are still not sufficiently committed to children’s participation in decision-making spaces. In the same line, Ivan Ayme indicated that there are institutional and legal barriers that limit children’s participation in various areas. A relevant example is that CCONNA has a voice in the National Commission on Climate Change but does not have the right to vote.
The event was concluded by Elba Espinoza Ríos, Deputy Minister for Vulnerable Populations at MIMP, who recognized that the Peruvian State must improve regulations related to children’s participation and strengthen the child-focused approach in response to the emergency caused by rain and flooding. Finally, Cristina Rodríguez, Director of Climate Change Adaptation and Desertification at MINAM, emphasized that their sector works applying an intercultural and intergenerational approach, making it crucial to listen to the voices of children.
- During the event, letters, artistic boxes, and other expressions were presented in which children and adolescents conveyed their demands regarding the climate crisis to the authorities. This initiative is part of the activities that Save the Children organized in 24 countries as part of the “Children’s Action Week” to draw attention to the problems of the climate crisis and inequality.
- As part of its “Generation Hope” campaign, Save the Children seeks to have the voices of children heard by leaders and policymakers as they prepare to review the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the UN General Assembly in New York in September.