GUWAHATI, Jan 30 - Making the children aware of the threats posed by the phenomenon of climate change and its resultant disasters is crucial in the action plan for disaster risk reduction these days. This was the observation made by Dr RM Dubey, Head, Centre for Sustainable Development Goals of the State government.
He was speaking at a workshop organised by the environment group Aaranyak in association with the Centre for Sustainable Development Goals, Assam, and the UNICEF here today on developing knowledge products on sustainable development goals with the focus on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation for children.
In his address, Dr Dubey said, among others, that while he was heading the State Pollution Control Board, he suggested to the State government to formulate pollution measuring norms for two seasons � the rainy and the dry ones � considering the fact that during the dry season, air pollution is an almost constant phenomenon in Assam. He laid more stress on adopting mitigation measures on the environment-related disasters and suggested involvement of the civil society and the policy makers in such efforts.
Dr AK Johari, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Biodiversity and & Climate Change), Assam, proposed making children a stakeholder in the approach of sustainable development. He said that about 40 per cent of the State's population is vulnerable to disasters, which include flood, erosion, and sand casting. Among these people, children are the most vulnerable, he said.
Dr Jaideep Barua of the Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC) said that to understand the impacts of disaster and climate change with special reference to children in Assam, it is necessary to involve them as a stakeholder. He also focused on quality education to understand weather and climate change impacts at school level. To make it more practical, he referred to children science congresses organised in the State in various levels which help schoolchildren understand and explain disasters from their perspective.
Dr Soumen Ray, PPE & DRR Officer, UNICEF, Assam, said that children of different age groups in urban and rural areas respond differently to disasters. Maintaining 'equality' indeed is important while planning and implementing schemes like the DRR in disaster-prone states like Assam, where differences are found to exist in its society in matters of religion, caste, language, geographical locations etc (areas like the chars, tea gardens, etc).
Ray indicated the failure of the government in matters of documentation of school dropouts in flood-affected areas as well as the loss of school days in those areas. The migration from the chars and other flood-affected areas to the slums in the cities is a new problem where the children are more vulnerable to disasters, said Ray.
Earlier, welcoming the participants and guests, Dr Partha Jyoti Das spoke on the significance of attaching a major thrust in formulating the disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation policies. This is very important in the states like Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, among others, he said.