ICLEI South Asia, in partnership with Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Limited, on Friday, hosted a workshop titledUnderstanding Public Spaces and the Effects of Climate Change and Air Pollution on (0-5yrs old) Young Children, Caregivers, and Pregnant Women in Goa’.

The efforts of the event sought to highlight the important connection between public spaces, climate change, and air quality and their impact on the health and well-being of young children and their caregivers in urban India.

Urbanisation greatly impacts children’s development, especially in India, where 472 million children represent 39% of the population. By 2050, nearly 70% of children will reside in urban areas. Alarmingly, more than 90% of children under 15 worldwide breathe polluted air, posing health risks. This highlights the urgency to revamp public spaces for early childhood development. India, identified in a recent UNICEF report, is highly vulnerable to climate change.

The IPSDCL’s workshop aimed to tackle important issues affecting young children, their caregivers, and pregnant women in urban settings. It sought  to understand the specific challenges they face, particularly regarding the impact of declining air quality and diminishing public spaces, amidst the backdrop of climate change. Through insightful discussions and knowledge exchange, the event sought to gather diverse perspectives from experts, policymakers, and community representatives. These exchanges will inform actionable recommendations to enhance urban planning, public space design, and air quality management.

Additionally, it also sought to empower caregivers with information and tools to advocate for improved public spaces and air quality in their communities. Furthermore, the workshop endeavored to foster collaborations between researchers, NGOs, and policymakers to further investigate the intersection of climate change, air quality, and public spaces concerning young children. Collaborative efforts are essential among government, civil society, and the private sector to address these challenges. Promoting walking, cycling, and public transport can reduce vehicle emissions, improving air quality for children and caregivers. The workshop represented a significant step towards addressing the challenges faced by young children and their caregivers in Indian cities. By bringing together diverse stakeholders and fostering collaboration, IPSCDL aimed to create actionable strategies for building resilient and child-friendly urban spaces in Panaji.

The key speakers for this workshop were Ashish Rao Ghorpade, Urban Sector Expert, ICLEI SA, Dr. Arunava Dasgupta, Professor, Department of Urban Design, School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi, Peter Borges, Chairperson, Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (TBC), Avantika Arjuna, Assistant Programme Coordinator, ICLEI SA, Pragya Jain, Senior Manager, Ipsos Research Pvt. Ltd., Keshav Jha, Manager, ICLEI SA, Dr. Mukunda Dev Behera, Associate Professor, IIT Kharagpur, Dr. Ajanta Goswami, Associate Professor, IIT Roorkee, Dr. Kaushal Kumar Sharma, Professor, Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University who made detailed presentations drawing insights into finding workable solutions to understanding and improving Public Spaces and the Effects of Climate Change and Air Pollution for young children. Stakeholders from Goa also participated and shared valuable insights on the topic during the day long workshop, stated a press release.


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