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Youth Engagement with the Global Goal on Adaptation

Explore what young people think about the Global Goal on Adaptation in this report by the Global Center on Adaptation. It provides an insight into a series of worldwide youth consultations on adaptation, and discusses the role of the youth in the international climate adaptation agenda.
Young people holding up a sign Youth4Adaptation
Source: GCA (2022)

Introduction

The Paris Agreement established countries’ first collective commitment on adaptation, known as the Global Goal on Adaptation. Countries are seeking to assess progress towards the Global Goal on Adaptation and are thereby defining it. It is crucial that young people’s needs and priorities are reflected in the Global Goal on Adaptation, as young people will live with the consequences of a warming planet the longest. Following worldwide youth consultations conducted by the Global Center on Adaptation, this report presents young people’s views on the Global Goal on Adaptation.

Climate change is an intergenerational issue, disproportionately impacting young generations. Climate change impacts young people directly through extreme weather events, indirectly through disruptions to social, economic and environmental determinants of physical and mental health, and indirectly through distress and anxiety about climate change. There is an imperative for young people to be involved in adaptation.

This publication compiles young people’s views on the Global Goal on Adaptation, comprising outcomes from worldwide youth consultations through the regional Youth Adaptation Forums and the Youth Dialogue on Adaptation Action that took place in 2022. These consultations were organized by the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), in collaboration with its CEO’s Youth Advisory Panel, and were the first ever worldwide consultation with young people on the Global Goal on Adaptation. Based on these consultations, the CEO’s Youth Advisory Panel formulated key recommendations to decision-makers to create a climate-resilient future.

This article is an abridged version of the original text, which can be downloaded from the right-hand column. Please access the original text for more detail, research purposes, full references, or to quote text.

The Worldwide Youth Consultations

The worldwide youth consultations – named the regional Youth Adaptation Forums – took place in seven regions between March 2022 and September 2022. The inaugural African Youth Adaptation Forum was followed in chronological order, by: Pacific, Asia, Europe, North America, Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The consultations concluded with a 2-day hybrid gathering, the Youth Dialogue on Adaptation Action: Delivering on the Glasgow Climate Pact.

To reach a broad group of young people, the majority of the consultations were organized in partnership. In total, 24 organizations partnered with GCA, ranging from youth organizations, to civil society organizations, and government. Theyfollowed a participatory method of engaging young people on identifying their adaptation needs and opportunities. Over 3,200 young people engaged with the consultations, coming predominantly from youth organizations and civil society organizations. 14 participants from nine governments, and seven representatives from international organizations attended the Youth Adaptation Forums and Youth Dialogue. Representatives of the COP26, COP27 and COP28 Presidencies also took part. The Youth Adaptation Forums and Youth Dialogue sought Indigenous perspectives, with a representative of an Indigenous community delivering remarks at the majority of consultations.

The consultations were centred around the following framing questions:

  1. Understanding climate realities:
    • What climate change related challenges do young people face in the region?
  2. Young people in adaptation decision-making:
    • What are young people’s priorities in the region for the Global Goal on Adaptation?
    • What does a climate-resilient region post 2030 look like?
    • What are five actions that can enable transformational change in the region?
    • What do young people need to participate fully and meaningfully in policy-making and what can governments do to ensure young people are included?
  3. Promoting youth-led adaptation solutions:
    • What are innovative youth-led solutions that young people are implementing in the region and what are the lessons learnt?
    • What are the main priorities in the region for youth-led solutions to be sustainable and scalable?

Youth Dialogue on Adaptation Action:

The culminating Youth Dialogue in Rotterdam brought together 100 young people from 50 countries, and over 1,100 participants online. The aim of the Youth Dialogue was to promote an intergenerational dialogue between young leaders and decision-makers and accelerate adaptation action by showcasing youth-led climate-resilient initiatives and solutions on entrepreneurship, advocacy and policy-making, and to foster youth participation in shaping the international agenda by identifying youth recommendations on the international adaptation agenda.

Learn more about the worldwide youth consultations and the youth dialogue on pages 15-45 of the report.

Key Findings

The Global Center on Adaptation seeks to make young people central to driving the adaptation agenda. The worldwide consultations with young people, and the subsequent Youth4Adaptation recommendations are designed by, and implemented with young people.

Although each region has its own realities, contexts, needs and opportunities, four main themes emerged from the consultations. The youth for adaptation, propose these four key transformations to respond to our rapidly changing world for a safer, greener and more prosperous future:

  • Education as a driver for transformation: Promote education, capacity-building and upskilling of young people on climate adaptation.
  • Young people as agents of change: Provide an inclusive and participatory environment for young people in climate adaptation decision-making processes.
  • Bold solutions for economic and climate prosperity: Empower youth entrepreneurs and young professionals to advance the adaptation agenda.
  • Unlocking finance for youth-led adaptation solutions: Increase financing for youth-led adaptation initiatives through adapted and flexible funding mechanisms.

The central areas which were identified – adaptation education, youth participation, employement, entrepreneurship and action on adaptation, and funding for youth-led adaptation solutions – will inform the work of GCA. The international community and all stakeholders are invited to endorse these Youth4Adaptation recommendations and contribute to its effective implementation.

Explore these recommendations in more detail on pages 48-49 of the report.

Suggested Citation:

Global Center on Adaptation. 2022. Youth Engagement with the Global Goal on Adaptation. Rotterdam.

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