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					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!
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
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,                                       girl,   >21,

                                                                                         UPCOMING FEBRUARY ISSUE
 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
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
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
                                            ―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
―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
                                 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.
2. Cut down fewer trees.
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.
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.
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,
                                             New WES site:
                                              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

―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                            
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
                                Support for a minimum safe water
                                Water purification
                                Water handling and storage
                                Soap and hygiene messages
                                Safe excreta and solid waste disposal

               (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

  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

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?

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.

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.

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.

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-

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