Young voices in high places

Children hold plenary discussion at Kosovo* Parliament on World Environment Day

June 15, 2015

Children_panel_2_copy"Quality of environment" has yet to emerge as a headline topic in Kosovo*, but debate on the issue has intensified recently.

Fresh impetus for the debate comes from access to strategic documents of the Government of Kosovo* on improving air, water and soil quality. But even the most clearly outlined strategies remain far from concrete in terms of identifying actions to improve existing conditions.

Given the current state of environmental gridlock, the "unwritten rulebook" suggests that citizens and children should be given a broader platform to express their views and concerns. As these voices can have positive effects on human health and the natural environment when they become more politically dominant, it is interesting and encouraging that the children of Kosovo* recently held a formal discussion in the very place where crucial decisions are made almost every day - that is, the Parliament of Kosovo.*

The Children's Plenary Session at the Parliament of Kosovo* was held on World Environment Day, June 5, in the context of the global campaign "Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care". The event was co-organised by REC Office Kosovo* and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

World Environment Day provided a great opportunity for spreading the message of accepting responsibility for the care of our planet and for taking the necessary steps towards becoming agents of change. Children from all regions of Kosovo* delivered speeches on the crucial environmental challenges confronting their respective municipalities, and then read and voted on the Statement of the Children's Parliament of Kosovo* for Environmental Protection.

Children_Panel_1_copyThe session was fully supported by the speaker of the Kosovo* Parliament, Kadri Veseli, minister of environment and spatial planning; the deputy ombudsman of Kosovo* Basri Berisha; representatives from the Parliamentary Commission for Environment and from various embassies in Kosovo*; numerous environmental and educational experts; and representatives from civil society, academia and the media.

The event was broadcast on the country's main TV station, Radio Television Kosovo* (RTK).

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.