GUWAHATI: A workshop was jointly held by ICLEI South Asia and Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) on Tuesday in Guwahati to disseminate the results of two pioneering studies on young children, caregivers, and pregnant women.
The first study is on the impact of climate change, while the second study focuses on the use of public spaces with regards to young children (birth to 5 years), caregivers, and pregnant and women. The workshop included 50 participants from different backgrounds, including government officials, urban planners, child development practitioners, policymakers, and representatives from NGOs and civil society organisations.
The study on public spaces collected data from 18 Indian cities and showed that almost 60 per cent of children mostly use neighbourhood streets for accessing public spaces. Study findings focused on accessibility, availability, safety, and comfort of use. The usage of parks and playgrounds is much lower due to issues of accessibility and safety. City officials confirmed that the focus in India is on developing public spaces for teenagers rather than children below 5 years of age. According to the findings of the study on climate change, young children and pregnant women are very vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as heat waves, flooding, and air pollution.
Household surveys in a slum where 30 per cent of the population consists of children under 5 showed that parents were concerned about the impact of climate change on their children. However, climate action initiatives do not have a specific focus on these vulnerable groups. Participants stated that there is a lack of linkages between young child welfare and climate action. Both of the studies included specific recommendations that looked at policy integration, identification of funding sources, planning and design, infrastructure improvement, monitoring and evaluation, and engagement with communities, stated a press release.