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Youth4Water India Releases Manifesto Urging Political Commitment to Climate Displacement

Bhubaneswar: To address the pressing issue of climate displacement, the ‘Youth4Water India’ campaign, in collaboration with Water Initiatives, WaterAid India, and sixty-eight other organizations, has unveiled a comprehensive 23-Point Manifesto. The manifesto calls upon political parties participating in the upcoming general elections to prioritize special rehabilitation and support programs for youth vulnerable to climate change impacts, particularly sea-level rise-induced displacement.

Ranjan Panda, Convenor of Water Initiatives and Co-founder of the ‘Youth4Water’ campaign, highlighted the extensive groundwork behind the manifesto’s formulation. “Based on interviews and focus-group discussions with 100 youths from Odisha’s vulnerable coastal regions, along with expert inputs and decades of field experience, we have crafted this manifesto,” stated Panda.

Panda emphasized Odisha’s vulnerability to climate change, citing the imminent threat of sea-level rise displacing thousands from over 300 coastal villages. “We urge each political party to endorse a ‘Strategy for Inclusive Rehabilitation of Climate Displaced Communities,’ as outlined in the manifesto, not only for Odisha but for the entire nation,” he added.

Bikash Pati, Technical Specialist – Water at WaterAid India, underscored the manifesto’s inclusive provisions for water, sanitation, and hygiene, catering to both resident and migrating populations. “Youths demand multifaceted protection, including employment guarantees, health insurance, and education rights. Political support for this manifesto is crucial amid growing concerns over climate displacement,” Pati remarked.

Dhaneswar Mallick, an active youth participant from Astaranga, highlighted the need for safe drinking water and improved safety measures for migrating girls. Similarly, Manjulata Swain from Satabhaya advocated for gender equality in wages and dignified transportation for migrant workers.

The manifesto’s 23 points advocate a transformative policy framework focusing on local climate resilience and ecosystem-based approaches. Panda emphasized the significance of a ‘commons policy’ to safeguard natural resources, ensuring protection for those opting to remain in their native areas.

“We urge political parties to consider this Youth Manifesto seriously,” Panda concluded, affirming plans to share it with key stakeholders across the state.

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