January 04, 2023
With the looming climate crisis that Pakistan is facing, it is imperative that every single person has a seat at the table. Carrying this ethic forward, PCE held its 13th Annual Convention on December 15 2022 at the Best Western Premier Hotel in Islamabad. The evening featured two policy discussions and gathered experts from a range of fields.
The first policy discussion titled "Towards a Climate Resilient Education System" shed light on the aftermath of the monsoon floods, the disproportionate impact it had on women, children and other marginalized groups and generated a dialogue to embolden our education system.
We were joined by Mr. Khalid Naeem, Retired Director General of Directorate General of Special Education, who shifted our focus towards children with disabilities. With 4 million children living with a physical or intellectual disability, around 2.5% of those are enrolled in schools. To bring a positive change in these figures, he urged the public to challenge the norms and deconstruct the language used to exclude these children.
Ms. Areebah Shahid, Executive Director of PYCA, proceeded to speak about how climate induced disasters drastically enhanced the risks for women and young girls. She highlighted how under-prepared women and young girls are to deal with these calamities due to their oppressive environment.
With these contextual matters discussed Mr. Ali Kemal, the Chief SDG Unit, proceeded to highlight how SDG 4 and SDG 13 can be combined to create a sustainable education system. He insisted upon early planning to mediate the fallout of these disasters and urged for a collaboration with civil society members working at the tehsil level.
To demonstrate what a successful practice of multi-stakeholder partnership looks like in the face of emergencies, we were joined by Director Ronilda Co from the Department of Education of The Philippines. She shared many efficient projects that provided quality and holistic education to the children during the COVID-19 pandemic and other environmental disasters.
With these arguments in place, the attendants of the convention along with the speakers drafted a list of recommendations to present to the leading political parties.
Proceeding from the first policy discussion, PCE held a youth dialogue that also invited four speakers to establish the foundation of a youth constituency.
Hassan Dajana, the Program Manager from Amal Academy, shared multiple accounts of youth-led movements and organizations to elucidate how a lack of resources and exposure shouldn't discourage youth leaders. Moreover, Arooj Khalid from The Citizens Foundation also shared her individual journey towards leadership and making a difference in her own community as a climate leader.
Then we were joined by Priyanka Pal, the youth coordinator at ASPBAE, who also shared how a youth constituency operates on a regular basis and especially during a disaster or calamity. Finally, we were enlightened by Kinza Jamal, the Coordinator at the YP Foundation, with a set of strong tenets that a youth constituency should be built upon such as intersectionality and non-infantilization of the youth participants.
With these guiding factors, youth participants belong from different universities and youth collectives, discussing amongst themselves the emerging demands in the light of the recent floods. These participants were also further guided by the speakers and moderator, Ayman Babar. The evening was successfully concluded after the youth participants read out their demands followed by everyone's mutual agreement.