Climate change is a human rights issue. Any plan, solution or action to tackle climate change in Scotland must respond to the needs, and rights of everyone living here and this means listening to the diversity of views and lived experiences of Scotland’s citizens. This includes children who equally have the right to have opinions and for these opinions to be heard and taken seriously as outlined in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
As Scotland’s Climate Assembly members must be over the age of 16, the secretariat invited Children’s Parliament to support the participation and engagement of children under 16, to ensure their views, experiences and ideas are part of the discussions and calls to action going forward. To capture the diversity of children’s views and experiences, and to echo the process of the Assembly, Children’s Parliament is working with 100 children across Scotland from 10 schools. The children are a mixed gender, income and ethnicity group representing both urban and rural communities.
About Children’s Parliament
Established in 1996, Children’s Parliament is Scotland’s centre of excellence for children’s human rights, participation and engagement. Through rights-based, creative practice, they provide younger children from diverse backgrounds across Scotland with opportunities to share their experiences, thoughts and feelings so that they can influence positive change in their lives at home, in school and in the community.
Their mission is to inspire greater awareness and understanding of the power of children’s human rights and to support implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) across Scotland.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, this work is being facilitated digitally and remotely. A map of the project participants locations was produced and shared with the children, so that they could see their work was of national significance. The children’s investigation into climate change for the Climate Assembly has two key components:
Interactive, Digital Survey
The 100 Members of Children’s Parliament (MCPs) across Scotland are completing interactive, digital surveys in October, January and February which explore their views and ideas on what needs to happen in Scotland to tackle climate change. Each survey is complemented by a small group workshop delivered by a supporting adult from the children’s school using materials designed and provided by Children’s Parliament. There is a creative element to the survey, such as creating and uploading a piece or art or short audio/film clip.
Here is an infographic highlighting some of the key findings from the first survey, completed by the 100 children across Scotland in October 2020.
Children’s Vision for the Future
As part of the first survey, children were invited to illustrate their vision for Scotland in the future if we work together to tackle, and adapt to, climate change.
In addition, Children’s Parliament is working with 12 children from 4 of the 10 participating schools to analyse the findings from their peers gathered in the surveys and to further explore the core climate change themes (discussed by the Citizen’s Assembly) through creative, participatory methods and activities.
The 12 MCP Investigators meet through an online video call twice a month. The call is facilitated by the Children’s Parliament team. Each month, the 3 children are also sent short, fun, creative activities to prepare in advance of the calls. Here you can see the investigators’ monthly ‘mission’ packs, and some of the activities they have been up to:
To read the contents of the MCP Investigator packs, click on the links below:
To communicate the children’s journey, findings and key messages to the Assembly members, Children’s Parliament is creating a series of short films to be shown at the Assemblies taking place between October 2020 and March 2021.
The first film was shown on the weekend of the November Climate Assembly and it can be watched below:
The second film was shown at the December Climate Assembly and it can be watched below:
The third film was shown at the February Climate Assembly and it can be watched below:
If you have any questions or would like more information, you can contact Katie Reid, project lead on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our website to find out more about Children’s Parliament current and past work: www.childrensparliament.org.uk