On October 22 and 23, National Children’s Commissioner Commissioner Megan Mitchell travelled to Bogor, Indonesia, to take part in a two-day conference on children’s right to a healthy environment, sponsored by range of agencies including the German and Indonesian Governments, UNICEF, the United Nations and Terre des Hommes.
Around fifty children and young people from around the region, as well as international experts, shared their experiences of land, air and water degradation and how this is impacting on children in their communities.
The young people discussed the contributors to environmental damage - like climate change, pollution from industry and mining, deforestation, exposure to hazardous chemicals, and waste.
They also generated many innovative ideas about how to conduct research on the impact of unhealthy environments on children, educate communities and young people about their right to good health, involve children in environmental projects, and affect policy change.
The following day the Commissioner also addressed an event in Jakarta on promoting children’s right to a healthy environment - challenges for the East Asia-Pacific region.
A poll conducted by the Children’s Commissioner last year showed that Australian children share concerns about the environment with their peers in the region, rating having access to clean air and clean water in their top three rights.
The views of Australian children will be featured in the Commissioner’s upcoming Report on the state of Child Rights in Australia, to be launched on Universal Children’s Day, and the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Right of the Child on 20 November in Melbourne.