DECEMBER 2004 NO. 13 OUR FUTURE: WATER, THIS MONTH ON ENVIRONMENT AND SANITATION VOICES OF YOUTH This issue of ―What Young People Are Saying‖ is dedicated to how young people Enough silence! Make your voice on Voices of Youth see water, environment and sanitation (WES) impacting their heard about violence! lives. Children and adolescents are dedicated to ensuring that every child has 13 Dec – 13 Jan, contribute to the access to clean water and sanitation, and call for everyone to work together to UN Sec. Gen’s study on violence! this end. UNICEF is responding to this call globally, and in particular through its continued efforts in emergencies situations. State of the World’s Children New module and global chat! OVERVIEW Young people on Voices of Youth are WEBSITE SPOTLIGHT concerned about the present GERMANY Make a difference! 1-minute video environmental situation and stress the contest ―I think that the people of the world importance of a healthy environment Submit a video by 1 March about should look after their planet. If we don't for all children. They express anger at start caring now, then there will not be making change and win! the existing pollution and a planet earth for us to live on in the contamination, feeling past UPCOMING future.‖ boy, 16 generations did not place sufficient H2O.01: Water game importance on WES related issues. Children and adolescents on Voices of But they approach the future with an Youth show dedication and interest Tackle floods, avoid droughts, save optimistic attitude and believe now is through their online debates. They your community in this new game. the time to make a difference. would like to see their concerns and commitment to these issues mirrored SPECIAL Specifically, postings focused on the Just released! ―Youth and the MDGs‖ by those of policy makers. Their lack of access to clean water, air discussion focused on the future and Download the paper and submit pollution, and deforestation as major how they can work together to create a comments by 10 January by clicking problem areas. Concrete suggestions world where all people have access to here! for how to overcome these clean water, sanitation and a non- challenges included: using alternative polluted environment. INSIGHT OF THE MONTH means such as solar power to decrease pollution; establishing ―…But the government alone cannot Following is a brief summary of young solve the entire problem [of water widespread educational awareness people’s comments and suggestions on campaigns to inform people of what pollution]. It is ultimately up to us, to the issue of water, environment and the problem is and how individuals, be informed, responsible, and sanitation. communities, and policymakers can involved when it comes to the make a difference; and planting trees For more information contact: Amber problems we face with our water. for reforestation. Oliver, Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org girl, >21, Malaysia UPCOMING FEBRUARY ISSUE Violence WATER, ENVIRONMENT AND SANITATION conditions. ISSUES IN CONTEXT December 2004 Government: In certain situations Click on a link to read What Young People Are Saying about governments overlook the needs of people in poorer and under-populated Water, Environment and Sanitation areas. Contributing factors Political implications Pollution Recycling Practical solutions What can young people do? What can leaders do? Conclusion THE PHILIPPINES ―It’s unfortunate to know, that only at the major city do the government have CONTRIBUTING FACTORS what we are doing and how much some programs to stop and fight Young people on Voices of Youth people need it in other countries.‖ smoke belchers. I hope they notice us identify many factors as contributing girl, 14 here at the small city. We’re still a part to the problems related to water, of the country, you know.‖ girl, 21 environment and sanitation in their communities and around the world. MALAYSIA Poverty: Young people express They have focused on issues they ―Water was once free and clean. We concern for people living in poverty feel have the strongest impact on polluted the water, and we are now who often have less access to clean buying water…Everybody has the water and live in less sanitary young people’s lives today. They right to access clean water for free as conditions, and recognize the view people as the major contributor nature’s most precious gift, but this relationship between a lack of natural of current environmental problems. seems to be a fairyland dream now. ‖ resources and poverty. girl, 18 AUSTRALIA Past generations: Discussions on Voices of Youth talk of how the CAMEROON ―There are so many environmental environmental damage we are ―Je pense ici au pays en voie de issues that are getting worse and experiencing today is the développement qui n'ont pas toujours worse. Erosion, soil degradation, consequence actions by previous assez de ressources financières pour salinity, urbanization, endangered generations. établir ce genre de structures [pour species, extinct species, the ozone l’eau potable]...N'oublions pas que depletion, increased pollution like l'eau est aussi utiliser comme source carbon dioxide in the air forestry, d'énergie..pour l'électricité..c'est donc TURKEY rubbish and waste. This is something un casse-tête pour certains pays de we can all help fix.‖ ―In the summer I can no longer swim trouver la balance entre offrir girl, 14 in the beautiful sea of Marmara suffisamment d'eau a boire a la because it is no longer blue. My mom population et l'électricité..‖ People: Humans are the major tells me about the years when it used girl, 18 reason our natural resources are to be so clean that you could see the being dismantled, with members citing bottom even when the water was the ozone layer and the extinction of deep. Now it is almost the color of Coca Cola.‖ boy, 10 ZIMBABWE animals as examples. ―In developing countries like Norms: Young people on Voices of Zimbabwe where the entire economy Youth state that people continue to is based on natural resources, it is the MALAYSIA result of overpopulation, land take action that results in ―Man is the heaviest consumer of raw environmental damage partly because degradation and ownership patterns materials that mother nature has to society does not condemn such that people are becoming more poor. offer. We chop down trees and mine actions. Natural resources are owned by resources. If that is not enough we private interests who have also pollute our surroundings marginalised the poor and landless.‖ unabashedly.‖ boy, boy, >21 SRI LANKA 20 ―It becomes a habit to ignore the harm done to the earth. And now it has POLLUTION Wastage: Children and adolescents on Voices of Youth speak of become a norm to ignore There are many forms of pollution that wastefulness of natural resources as environmental pollution. young people recognize as hazardous one reason we are facing issues girl, 20 to the environment, but they focus related to water, environment and particular attention on acid rain. sanitation. POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS Acid Rain: Young people are angry Young people recognize the role with the widespread destruction of the governments need to play to ensure environment by acid rain. UNITED KINGDOM access to water and clean living ―We waste a lot of [water] not realizing INDIA ―This plant produces sulfur dioxide that turns into acid rain when it reaches the atmosphere. The acid rain problems are so bad that mountains are treeless. Even the lakes are left fishless. boy, 15 WATER, ENVIRONMENT AND SANITATION BRAZIL RECYCLING girl, 13 & girl, 14 Young people view recycling as an important part of taking care of the Twenty Ways to Help the environment. They want to conserve their resources and maintain a clean planet. Ecosystem: They want to promote programs that encourage recycling in all areas of daily life. In their opinion recycling programs can easily be implemented and have a 1. Use more biodegradable positive effect the world. products. 2. Cut down fewer trees. RUSSIA 3. Recycle everything possible. ―I think the main problem in the environmental crisis today is the lack of recycling programs. Spread of such programs would be a start perhaps making them 4. Separate garbage for recycling. mandatory in cities....An incentive could be offered or a tax on companies that 5. Make all important forest (like produce non-recyclable every-day-use-items.‖ boy, 16 the Amazon) World Ecological Reserves. Save a tree: Trees are essential to a healthy environment. Recycling is a simple way to help preserve these precious natural resources. 6. Only clean chemicals or no chemicals should be thrown into bodies of water. SPAIN 7. Have more garbage recycling ―One thing people could do is recycle paper. If we recycle a number of papers we industries. could save a tree.‖ boy, 11 8. Forbid entrance of armed humans in to the Ecological JAPAN Reserves. ―There are many books and magazines, waste paper in the office or at school that 9. Reduce to a minimum the use of can be recycled. I hope the environment will be a place with no garbage, people CFC gases. not wasting the woods, and cans. And I hope it will be much cleaner in the future.‖ girl, 10. Replant the barren areas 15 caused by cutting down trees. 11. Treat sewage waste to use as PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS fertilizer. Young people acknowledge the problems that exist but also actively discuss ways to make a difference. They have discussed numerous creative alternatives to 12. Treat the smoke that cars give promote a healthy environment for children. out. 13. Produce cars that use natural Solar Power: Young people ask that solar power and natural gas be used to combustion that won't affect the decrease pollution and increase everyone’s quality of life. atmosphere. 14. Use more glass instead of EGYPT plastic. ―In hot countries like Sudan and Egypt the sun is out almost everyday of the year. 15. Teach the children the Why then is solar power not used? This will make life easier for poor people as importance of recycling and not they will not have to pay electricity bills. Pollution can be avoided if vehicles putting poisonous gases into the worked on solar power as it is pollution free, another option is natural gas which atmosphere. can be used in public transport‖ girl, 14 16. Stop making things that are Education: Voices of Youth members recognize the important role education harmful to the earth that are not plays in creating an equal balance between the environment and modern needed. development. They encourage the use of education as a tool to attempt to change people’s behavior in a way that is environmentally respectful. They 17. Recycle all clothes or distribute understand that these changes will not happen overnight but believe that we need them to the poor. to start now. 18. Sign peace treaties to cease all threats of Cold War. EL SALVADOR 19. Use the money for the Cold ―There needs to be a balance, we cannot just stop using some products, just War to help recycling and the poor. buying biodegradable things, just stop cutting trees…We need a balance between 20. Stimulate the world to preserve the environment and development. The answer is not a radical change to stop its land. what we are doing, but an education on how to efficiently use the natural resources.‖ boy, 20 New WES site: http://www.unicef.org/wes/ WATER, ENVIRONMENT AND SANITATION WHAT CAN YOUNG PEOPLE DO? Values: Increasing people’s appreciation of the environment would AUSTRALIA greatly assist in fixing current water, Organize: ―If every person planted one tree a year. That’s 6 billion trees environment and sanitation. being planted every year…So get together, organize with friends, school Education is the most effective way to groups, family, neighbours as many people as you can in your area and plant get people to value the environment. trees. It will make a better place to live for everyone. girl, 14 GREECE ―The right education, the right and on time programming can help human NIGERIA kind to re-establish his relation with Working together: ―The idea of leaving a deteriorated earth to future nature. In general a change to values generations is deplorable and its alternative requires innovation from all facets is demanded in which the modern of development (economics, politics, science, and sociology) in order to make civilization is developed. People it a reality. ‖ boy, 19 should get over the consumption thinking that they have and they should practice a new strategy.‖ UNITED STATES girl, 17 Conserve and care: ―We should at least do little things to help prevent global warming. Try not to throw away so much stuff, reuse as many things as you CONCLUSION can. Maybe if the world’s kids and young adults start caring more about the Growing up with access to clean water earth, then adults and other people will too.‖ girl, 13 and sanitation and in a clean, non- polluted environment is a right of WHAT CAN LEADERS DO? every child and adolescent. Young people on Voices of Youth recognize the critical impact water, environment MEXICO and sanitation has on their Prevent factory pollution: “Lo que yo harma es pedir que los fabricas no development, and on the overall conteminen mucho y no tirar basura en los lagos, playas y rios…‖ boy, 9 quality of life of every individual. Voices of Youth members have taken an active role in creating positive ESTONIA change to eliminate existing Change production: ―I think that right now there is no other way [to save the environmental problems. They have environment], but to shut down all the factories or start producing only things proposed solutions they can safe to the environment.‖ boy, 15 implement with their peers, focusing on aspects of conservation and recycling. Their discussions also included solutions that need to be THE PHILIPPINES implemented by current policy makers, Society change: ―There are always alternatives from non-toxic chemical including pollution regulations and substitutes, to reforestation- all contribute to the stabilizing…Environmental- access to clean water for everyone. friendly goods should be sold cheaper and awareness campaigns expanded The voices of these young people from the most urban to most rural places.‖ boy, 17 show their commitment to a safer, healthier environment for the present and future generations. It is the hope of these young people that communities around the world will join together – with children – to promote a VOICES OF YOUTH http://www.unicef.org/voy/ healthy environment for everyone. Since 1995, VOY has focused on exploring the educational and community building potential of the Internet, and facilitating the active and substantive participation of young people on child rights and development related issues. For more information: Through web boards, interactive quizzes, youth leadership profiles, live chats and more, Voices of Youth provides thousands of young people from over 180 Read the past VOY newsletter on countries with an opportunity to self-inform, engage in lively debate, and WES: April 2003: Water, environment and sanitation partner—with their peers and decision makers—to create a world fit for children. Summarized WES Core Commitments for Children in Emergencies Support for a minimum safe water supply Water purification Water handling and storage receptacles Soap and hygiene messages Safe excreta and solid waste disposal TAKING ACTION ON WATER, ENVIRONMENT AND SANITATION (WES) IN EMERGENCIES Water, sanitation and hygiene programming continues to be an important component of UNICEF support to children in emergencies. Because of UNICEF’s history and reputation in the area of WES, it is often the first agency that governments and partners turn to for support at the onset of emergency situations. What type of emergency How do these disasters affect affects the water, families and children? environment and Homes are damaged. sanitation of a country? Families are driven away to seek refuge and safety. Floods Displaced populations need Earthquakes food, shelter, safe water and Drought sanitation. Hurricane Communities hosting displaced War/Conflict populations or refugees need assistance as their facilities and capacities become overstretched. Following are some examples from around the world of how UNICEF has coordinated the WES response to emergencies - for children. How does UNICEF respond to different types of emergencies? IRAQ Emergency: Conflict, 2003-2004 Effect: The already deteriorated water and sanitation system in Iraq collapsed as a result of sanctions and this latest war, with around 40 per cent of the system damaged in the capital, Baghdad. UNICEF water and sanitation response: Emergency response included water trucking, providing 17.6 million litres of water daily to over 825,000 people at the height of conflict in 2003. As well as a continued focus on rehabilitating piped- water networks, sewage pumping stations and garbage removal. Training and capacity building of water departments has also been integral. Continued… BANGLADESH Emergency: Floods, Annually Effect: As flood waters recede to the normal levels, children continue to be exposed to the dangers of diarrhea, cholera and other water-related diseases, suffer from the lack of adequate nutritious food, miss out on schooling and remain vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. UNICEF water and sanitation response: Raising hygiene awareness, repairing hand pumps, disinfecting wells and providing temporary water and sanitation facilities for millions of affected people. UNICEF’s existing water and sanitation capacity and 30-year partnership with the government allows it to support strategic interventions quickly for children and families. HONDURAS Emergency: Hurricane, 1998 - 2001 UNICEF water and sanitation response: Safe water was provided to 800,000 people in Tegucigalpa, including in hospitals and shelters. Participatory hygiene awareness-raising techniques were successfully implemented in partnership with stakeholders. Extensive support was given for reconstruction of water and sanitation systems for the 1.9 million people affected over a four-year period. THE SUDAN Emergency: Conflict and drought, Ongoing Effect: Approximately 1.2 million internally displaced people and host communities have been directly affected by the fighting in Darfur and surrounding areas for the past year. Children are succumbing to a deadly array of threats: Extreme overcrowding in camps for displaced people, shortage of clean water, inadequate latrines and sanitary conditions. Many families have inadequate shelter, rendering them highly vulnerable to the season’s heavy rains and winds. UNICEF water and sanitation response: UNICEF and its partner aid agencies have been working hard to improve water, sanitation and health services – To date, 700,000 displaced people now have access to safe water, 30,000 latrines have been built and 127 health facilities are reaching 950,000 people. LIBERIA Emergency: War and conflict Effect: Nearly 13 years of war have decimated water supply systems in the capital and major rural towns. Liberians have increasingly relied on ground water wells with hand pumps. But there are too few of them, leaving 69 per cent of Liberians without access to safe drinking water. 70 per cent of Liberians do not have access to sanitation facilities. Coupled with the total breakdown of garbage collection and disposal services in the capital and other major cities, poor sanitation has compounded the problem of inadequate safe drinking water. UNICEF water and sanitation response: As part of the Back-to-School campaign, UNICEF-supported partners have provided 240 schools with water and/or latrines with hand washing facilities. These facilities are benefiting a total of 96,000 students in schools located in Montserrado, Bassa, Margibi and Bong counties. Following a ―Clean-up Monrovia‖ campaign, Monrovia City Corporation was provided technical assistance in the long-term management of its solid waste. Other long-term institutional capacity building measures are on- going.