ICLEI South Asia is conducting two independent studies on the Impact of Climate Change on Young Children (0-5 years) and Usage of Public Spaces by Young Children, Their Caregivers, and Pregnant Women in Indian Cities, in partnership with technical institutions and research organisations, and with support from the Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF). The studies are being reviewed and guided by a Technical Advisory Group (TAG), comprising experts working in the same domain.
A series of webinars and workshops have been planned to share the experiences and learnings from the studies. The first webinar, held on the 24th of January 2023, was attended by municipal engineers, administrative officials, local government representatives, women and child development professionals, climate experts, urban development practitioners, and other key stakeholders. They discussed several initiatives to promote a healthy environment for young children, such as creating green infrastructure to reduce air pollution and making public spaces conducive to children’s well-being. BvLF has developed documents on making cities climate-friendly by helping them to focus on and be responsive to the needs of young children. At the webinar, some interesting examples from Udaipur and Pune were shared and explained to emphasise the fact that nature can be used to make open areas/parks more child-friendly. For instance, native vegetation has been found to be beneficial for children as such vegetation can create soft spaces and control heat islands, besides helping to improve human-nature interaction, spread awareness and build a knowledge base.
Additionally, the challenges and issues of space restriction faced in hilly areas were also discussed. Case studies from Nagaland state’s capital Kohima were presented, which focused on the concept of developing pocket parks to help utilise spaces near junctions and under foot-over bridges. The experts added that it was important to work together on the design as well as systematic and behavioural changes in order to develop innovative solutions for children.
The webinar ended with an indication about the next steps on the compilation of findings from both studies, as well as the holding of the final webinar and in-person workshops. Access the full recording of the webinar here.