The climate issue is profoundly and irreversibly altering our world, with serious consequences for present and future generations of children’s rights. When states are classified by income, the top 50% account for 86% of total global CO2 emissions, while the bottom half accounts for only 14%. Despite this, children in poor and middle-income countries bear the brunt of climate-related losses and harm to health and human capital, land, cultural legacy, indigenous and local knowledge, and biodiversity. Without significant mitigation efforts to reduce emissions and limit warming to 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels, led by high-income and high-emitting countries and informed by the best interests and recognized priorities of children. (Save the Children)
According to Young Voices 2022, in Kosovo, the children’s involvement in initiatives to promote the impact of climate change is currently low, with only 15% of children declaring that they have participated in such initiatives.
“Now in high school, we never mention climate change in any subject… Most of my peers are not even aware of climate change. However, since we do not have a good education system on climate change, there is no way to get properly educated on this.”Olt, a 15 – year old boy from Kosovo
The right of all children to live in a clean and healthy world, a protected and loving environment, to rest, play, and engage in cultural and artistic activities, and to enjoy and respect the natural environment is enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Despite tremendous advances in recent decades, far too many children globally continue to suffer from or are threatened by environmental and climate crises. Climate change, together with COVID-19 and continuous crises, are putting future generations’ quality of life at peril. Save the Children Kosova/o is continually supporting children to raise their voices, and advocate for climate action.
“There is no way to protect children’s rights with a polluted environment”.Anja, a 16 year old girl from Albania
Through children’s engagement in child-led organisations such as “Respect Our Rights” and children like Olt Kastrati, a 15-year-old climate activist in Kosovo are taking necessary steps in advocating for climate action in Kosovo. Recently, his views and story were captured in a Save the Children Documentary channel in Spotify episode. In this episode of Save the Children Documentary, Olt talks about Kosovo’s large coal-fired power plants and their effect on the environment. He also shares his journey of joining the national child-led group “Respect Our Rights – ROR” where he understood that many people his age felt the same as him and he was not alone with his interest in the climate. 15-year-old Olt lives in Kosovo. The air is bad and the country’s large coal-fired power plants poison the environment. For a long time, Olt felt alone with his interest in the climate. Then he heard about the youth group Respect our rights where he is now a driving force. For Olt, all change starts with oneself – everyone can do something. In neighbouring Albania, 16-year-old Anja lives in the Albanian industrial city of Elbasan. The climate movement here is small but determined. In Europe, the Balkans are particularly vulnerable to climate change, and together with a group of friends, Anja is fighting for the country’s politicians to take the climate crisis seriously.
Listen to the full podcast here: