Last updated: 26 Apr 2024

Young people are central in achieving a more sustainable and healthier planet. Youth have repeatedly demonstrated their willingness and capacity to address environmental and climatic challenges through innovative ideas, demanding policy- and decision-makers for bolder action through advocacy. Meaningful and effective inclusion of young people in environmental action and decision is not only a duty as they represent an important part of the demography and disproportionately bear the consequences of the triple planetary crisis. Doing so ensures better, more resilient, inclusive and sustainable decisions that will have long-term impacts.

Youth and the Environment

Although no universally agreed international definition of the youth age group exists, the United Nations refers to youth as people aged from 15 to 24. Today, there are 1.2 billion young people aged 15 to 24 years, accounting for 16 percent of the global population. By 2030, the number of youth is projected to have grown by 7 percent, to nearly 1.3 billion. In less than 10 years, when humanity is supposed to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it will be people that are currently young and those entering in their youth years that will be bearing the fruits of current environmental and climate decisions and suffer or enjoy their consequences the most.

Young people are not only victims of the environmental and climate crises, they are powerful actors and agents of change that contribute to achieving a more sustainable planet, SDGs, equality and respect of human rights.

Humanity depends on the boundless energy, ideas and contributions of youth everywhere. Today and every day, let’s support and stand with young people in shaping a just and sustainable world, for people and planet.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Young people have helped reshape the global climate debate because they know that they’ll be the ones that could inherit a broken planet
Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director

In spite of the recognition of youth capacities and potential as a driving motor for a sustainable future, young people often lack access to policy and decision-making spaces and power or struggle to be really listened to and make an impact when included in these processes. To fully unlock youth potential to address the challenges of the triple planetary crisis, they must be granted access to adequate education, skills, and opportunities.

Youth and the Triple Planetary Crisis

The triple planetary crisis of biodiversity loss, climate change and pollution affects everyone, but with half of the global population being under the age of 30, the youth is not only the most affected and for the longest part of their lives. It is also less  implicated in decision-making processes in response to the triple planetary crisis. Nevertheless, young people from across the world have demonstrated a great sense of awareness, willingness to act and ingenuity in developing solutions to these crises.

Biodiversity Loss

Young people have demonstrated a highly vested interest in halting biodiversity loss and making conservation more equitable, inclusive and sustainable. Since 2012, the Global Youth Biodiversity Network contributes and participates to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) processes through advocacy and policy papers on their vision of biodiversity loss governance and instruments and with proposals on how to transform education to discipline young people and future generations on the protection of biodiversity.

Climate Change

A global survey published in the Lancet found that 59% of young people and children are very or extremely worried and 84% are at least moderately worried. With half of these young people expressing feelings like sadness, anxiety, anger, powerlessness, helplessness, and guilt; climate change negatively affects their daily life and functioning. As a consequence, it is common among young people to lack trust in governmental action over climate change.

Young people have demonstrated a vast array of reactions to this situation. From joining a global partnership of young people asking for more concrete climate actions to their governments through the Friday’s for the Future Movement to climate litigation cases, young people have raised awareness at local and global levels on the most urgent problem facing humanity. Young people are also promoters of lifestyle changes and concrete solutions and advocates for the rights of vulnerable groups, including Indigenous people, who are often excluded from decision-making.

Youth is also present in and vocal about official climate change negotiations. Through the organization of parallel events, interventions, and related actions, young people continue advocating for a more enabling environment for children and young people to access and contribute to decision-making processes and for their voices and inhibit equal access. → More information is provided below in the section Youth @ Climate COPs.

Pollution

Young people are affected by air, soil, water and waste pollution. Oftentimes, young people end up working in informal waste collection and  in agricultural settings where high levels of pesticides are used, risking their health and futures. Young people also represent an important part of consumers, which choices to consume less and better can drastically impact the level of waste pollution generated. Youth is highly engaged in pollution discussions and debates, as demonstrated by the creation of the Global Youth Coalition on Plastic Pollution (GYCPP) on the eve of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution; the active participation on chemicals related processes and negotiations were seen through the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY) Chemicals and Waste Platform.

Youth and Human Rights

Young people face discrimination and obstacles to the enjoyment of their rights by virtue of their age, limiting their potential. The human rights of youth, therefore, refers to the full enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms by young people, including the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. Promoting these rights entails addressing the specific challenges and barriers faced. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) report on youth and human rights (A/HRC/39/33) documents the discrimination and some of the challenges for young people in accessing civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights. Examples include: participation in political institutions and decision-making; access to the world of work and be granted decent and protected working conditions and wages; access to health.

Young people from across the world are also often engaged in environmental protection and climate disobedience. Young environmental human rights defenders who promote human rights relating to the environment, including water, air, land, flora and fauna, are highly vulnerable and under attack across the globe. Evidence suggests that as the climate crisis intensifies, violence against EHRDs also increases, whether through assaults, murders, intimidation, harassment, stigmatization, and criminalization. A human-rights-based approach and more protection for young people protecting their environment and future are in constant need of reinforcement.

International Youth Day

In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation by the World Conference of Ministers of Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day (A/RES/54/120). Over the last two decades of International Youth Day celebrations, several innovative and timely themes have been explored, including mental health, intergenerational solidarity, safe spaces for youth and civic engagement.

2023 Theme: Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World

The shift towards an environmentally sustainable and climate-friendly world is critical not only for responding to the global climate crisis but also for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A successful transition towards a greener world will depend on the development of green skills in the population. Green skills are “knowledge, abilities, values and attitudes needed to live in, develop and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society”.

These include technical knowledge and skills that enable the effective use of green technologies and processes in occupational settings, as well as transversal skills that draw on a range of knowledge, values and attitudes to facilitate environmentally sustainable decisions in work and in life. Due to their interdisciplinary nature, the essence of green skills is sometimes expressed, partly if not wholly, through other associated terms such as “skills for the future” and “skills for green jobs”. While green skills are relevant for people of all ages, they have heightened importance for younger people, who can contribute to the green transition for a longer period of time.

Despite the growing recognition ofthe relevance of green skills, the available evidence suggests a shortage of such skills among young people. The skills gap represents an obstacle for young people to participate in a world of work that is shifting towards a green economy. If current trends persist, by 2030 more than 60 percent of young people may lack the skills required to thrive in the green economy. The 2023 edition of International Youth Day will focus on green skills for youth, highlighting initiatives at the global and national levels, discussing relevant opportunities and challenges, and offering forward looking policy guidance.

For the official commemoration of International Youth Day 2023, DESA will organize a global webinar in collaboration with the UN Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth and Generation Unlimited on 12 August 2023.

Geneva Celebrations of International Youth Day

International Youth Day 2023 | Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World

15 August 2023 | International Trade Center, World Intellectual Property Organization & Sidley

Inclusion of Youth in UN Processes

Since the UN launched the International Youth Year in 1985, the inclusion and participation of young people in UN processes have progressively increased and improved.  At the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, parties recognized that achieving sustainable development requires the active participation of all sectors of society and all types of people. As a result, Agenda 21, formalized nine sectors and rightsholder groups of society as the main channels through which broad participation would be facilitated in UN activities related to sustainable development. These are most commonly referred to as “Major Groups and other Stakeholders”.
In 1995, on the tenth anniversary of International Youth Year, the UN strengthened its commitment to young people by adopting an international strategy — the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond.

Young people’s interventions in environmental-related processes and negotiations have become historic for their framing of adults’ lack of action and their failure to preserve the planet for current and future generations, leaving such responsibility to young people themselves.

15-year-old activist Greta Thunberg speaks at the UN Climate Change COP24 Conference in Katowice in 2018.

Youth @ UNEA

Children and youth are among the Major Groups accredited to UNEP and the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA). Currently, 51 organizations from across the world can get directly involved with UNEP. Children and Youth Major Group to UNEP (MGCY) is the official participation mechanism for children and youth and children-/ and youth-led organizations in UNEA. The group creates working groups on leading topics of the UNEA and consults children and youth globally in order to assess their opinion on the topics negotiated. These positions are then transformed into position papers which are submitted to the member states as well as oral interventions during the negotiations. UNEP MGCY prepares negotiations internally and sends a group of representatives to UNEA and most CPR and CPR Subcommittee meetings in order to represent children and youth voices.

In preparations to the Sixth Session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-6), UNEP MGCY provided inputs to the ministerial declaration to be adopted at the session.

Youth Environment Assembly

Since 2020, the Children and Youth Major Group of UNEP organizes the Youth Environment Assembly. Taking place in the run-up and/or as part of the UNEA, the Assembly comprises sessions on a variety of environmental topics, interactive segments, regional and thematic breakouts, dedicated plenary sessions and high-level segments featuring dialogues between environment ministers and youth. As outcome of the Global Youth Environment Assembly 2024, the CYMG released the Global Youth Declaration on Environment 2024.

Youth @ Stockholm+50

The Stockholm+5o international meeting gathered over 300 young people from all over the world and saw the participation of more than 700 in the Youth Task Force to Stockholm+50, which worked on the preparations to the meeting. After meeting with the UN Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen, the Youth Task Force agreed to the Global Youth Policy Paper. It demands governments to focus on actions for a healthy planet, COVID-19 recovery, the environmental dimension of sustainable development, and ensuring inclusive decision-making. An event organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNEP, and the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), focused on boosting green jobs and green, employable skills in key countries and high-impact sectors announced the creation of the Green Jobs for Youth Pact, later established at the Climate Change COP27 in November 2022.

Youth @ Conference on Biological Diversity

The Secretariat of the Conference on Biological Diversity (CBD) invites youth and children in participating to the presentation, protection and restoration of biodiversity. Even prior to the establishment of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network in 2012, young people have participated and contributed to CBD’s conferences of the parties. COP11 Decision XI/8 formally recognized the importance of youth participation in the decision-making process at all levels. Youth actively participated in the first and second part of the UN Biodiversity Conference (2021-2022).
Among other activities, young delegates led a Youth Summit, a Youth Day, a youth hub in Place Quebec, side-events, exhibitions, marches and caucuses to coordinate young’s people views on the CBD negotiations including on the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Youth @ Climate COPs

Young people’s participation in Climate Change Conferences of the Parties started to become more institutionalized since COP10 in Buenos Aires when young people came together as an “organized caucus” for the first time drafting a declaration that called for “the recognition of a Youth Constituency Group within the COP in order to assure youth participation, in line with other groups such as businesses, indigenous people and environmental organizations.” Since COP11, young people constituencies (officially YOUNGO) have organized Conferences of Youth (COY) ahead of COPs. Built on four major components of policy document; capacity building; skill-building workshops; and cultural exchange. Youth at UNFCCC Conferences also portray in Young and Future Generations Day; High-Level Youth Briefings; UN Youth Booth and more. For the first time at COP27,  youth was mentioned 11 times in the Sharm el-Sheikh implementation plan. These articles recognized the important role of children and youth as agents of change in addressing and responding to the climate crisis, and encouraged parties to include them both in their processes for designing and implementing climate policy at a national and international levels and in national delegations attending climate negotiations. This was also the first time as well that COP appointed a Youth Envoy. → Dubai Youth Climate Dialogue during COP28 highlights young peoples’ priorities for climate action

Chemicals and Waste Youth Platform

The Chemical and Waste Youth Platform (CWYP), operationalized in 2021 aims at engaging youth in the design, implementation, monitoring, follow-up and review of chemicals and waste agenda policies at all levels. Gathering youth organizations from across the world, the CWYP represents the collective voice of young people working towards a healthier, toxic-free world. The consistency takes to various chemicals and waste-related negotiations and conferences of the parties, including the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions COPs, the Resumed 4th Meeting of the Intersessional Process for Considering SAICM and the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste Beyond 2020 and will participate to the  International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5) held in September 2023 in Bonn, Germany as its First Youth Delegation. In the context of ICCM5, the Chemical and Waste Youth Platform hosted a one-day Youth Forum on 27 September, featuring the launch of the “Global Youth Declaration on Chemicals and Waste.”

Establishment of the CITES Global Youth Network

At its 17th meeting (CoP17; Johannesburg, 2016), the Conference of the Parties to the CITES Convention adopted Resolution Conf 17.5 (Rev. CoP18) on Youth Engagement, encouraging broader engagement with youth.

Singapore has also been actively engaging youths both locally and regionally. Over 400 youths from 18 different nationalities in the Southeast Asian region participated in the inaugural World Wildlife Day Regional Youth Symposium in 2022 and its subsequent iteration in 2023. Led by youths, for youths, the annual Youth Symposium aims to grow a community of youths passionate about conservation in Southeast Asia; connect them to regional mentors and role models; and raise awareness of regional conservation efforts.

Singapore plans to invite 40 youth representatives from different geographical regions to Singapore in March 2024 to be part of the founding members of the CITES Global Youth Network (CGYN). Youths will first attend the World Wildlife Day Regional Youth Symposium and subsequently participate in the CITES Youth Leadership Programme to build their knowledge on CITES-related issues; develop leadership skills; and forge cross-cultural bonds and partnerships. As founding members, they will co-create the network’s vision, mission, and terms of reference and execute the planned activities for one year. 8Founding members of CGYN will organize the inaugural Global Youth Summit in 2025 in Singapore to continue engaging with youths around the world and develop their capacity to understand CITES-related matters. The Global Youth Summit will be held annually and in conjunction with the World Wildlife Day, where possible.

Guides for Youth Participation

UN Envoy on Youth

The Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth was established in 2013 when Ahmad Alhendawi of Jordan was appointed as the first holder of the mandate.  The mandate of the UN Envoy on Youth builds off the UN SG vision and strategy Youth 2030 and is focused on three main pillars: 1) Increasing youth participation in the Inter-Governmental Space; 2) Realizing the potential of the young people within the UN system; and 3) Engagement and mobilization of young people.  The current mandate holder is Jayathma Wickramanayake of Sri Lanka, appointed by the UNSG in 2017.  In a Resolution adopted on 8 September 2022 (A/RES/76/306), the General Assembly decided to establish the United Nations Youth Office as a dedicated office for youth affairs in the Secretariat, integrating the Office of the Envoy of the Secretary-General on Youth, following the completion of necessary steps.

UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change

The UNSG Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change was established with the selection of the first cohort in 2020. During their two-year mandate, young people aged from 15 to 29 selected from a pool of candidates nominated by youth- and climate-focused non-governmental and civil society organizations around the world, support the UNSG  with practical and outcome-focused advice, diverse youth perspectives and concrete recommendations, with a clear focus on accelerating the implementation of his climate action agenda. The current cohort started its two-year term on 16 March 2023 and is composed by seven inspirational young individuals.

Youth and the SDGs

Young people are targeted by various Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG4 on quality education; SDG5 on gender equality; SDG8 on decent work and economic growth;  SDG10 on reducing inequality; SDG13 on climate action; and SDG16 on peace, justice and strong institutions. To monitor and measure the state of youth in the SDGs the UN Office of Information, Communication, Technology (OICT) and Qlik, developed the Youth SDG Dashboard data visualization platform.  The 2021 report “Believe in Better: From Policy to Practice”, developed by the UN Youth Envoy in partnership with ActionAid Denmark, demonstrates how the UN currently works with young people so that they are meaningfully and actively included in decision-making spaces at multiple levels of governance, and provides a snapshot of insights and data, into how young people are organizing, included, and responded to by those in positions of power.

Young people play a key role in the shaping of the SDG agenda and in their implementation.  As early as 2016, the Young Leaders for the SDGs initiative was launched. Every two years, a group of 17 young people from all over the world are selected for their agency, courage and ingenuity in finding lasting solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.  Under the coordination of the UN Envoy on Youth,  these young leaders contribute to the achievement of the SDGs in accessible and innovative ways and support the UN’s efforts to mobilize young people.

Summit of the Future

The Summit of the Future is a high-level event that will bring world leaders together to forge a new international consensus on how we deliver a better present and safeguard the future. It represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to mend eroded trust and demonstrate that international cooperation can effectively tackle current and potential challenges. In the words of the UN Secretary-General, the importance and the role of youth in the Summit of the Future is an essential component of its success:

Youth are key to identifying new solutions that will secure the breakthroughs that our world urgently needs. As future custodians of the planet, they also stand to lose the most if societies become more insecure and unequal and if the triple planetary crisis continues unabated. In recent years, young people have become a driving force for societal change through social mobilization – pushing for climate action, seeking racial justice, promoting gender equality and demanding dignity for all. There have also been countless examples of young people driving innovative change in a host of arenas, such as in business, technology and science. When it comes to participation in public policymaking and decision-making, however, youth remain almost invisible. […] Key recommendations call Member States to:

a) Expand and strengthen youth participation in decision-making at all levels;
b) Make meaningful youth engagement a requirement in all United Nations decision-making processes;
c) Support the establishment of a standing United Nations Youth Townhall and an integrated programme from the United Nations system to facilitate greater diversity, representativeness, and preparedness in youth participation.

Role of Geneva

Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

The CITES Global Youth Network (CGYN) was established in 2024 after the meetings of the CITES Youth Leadership Programme in Singapore. CGYN aims to provide a platform for knowledge sharing and networking for youths to better understand the intricacies of wildlife trade from an early stage.

Group on Earth Observations (GEO)

The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) values youth contributions and is committed to making their voices heard and supporting their actions to make a difference through Earth observations. Through the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), a GEO participating organization, the GEO Secretariat supported YouthMappers in Africa and sponsored their participation at the GEO Plenary in Kyoto. Youth involvement has included mentoring the Water Youth Network and young Earth observation specialists, and promoting the use of Earth observations at the ISPRS Student Consortium. Since 2018, the GEO community has mentored hundreds of youth from around the world through annual Indigenous Hackathons tailored to underrepresented communities. The GEO community invites young people to contribute to improving the availability, access, and use of Earth observations for a sustainable planet. GEO organized its first youth track in parallel to GEO Week 2021 under the theme ‘accelerating action with youth’.  At the 2023 GEO weeks, GEO youth presented the first GEO Youth Declaration.

International Labour Organization (ILO)

The International Labour Organization (ILO), together with UNEP and UNICEF launched the Green Jobs for Youth Pact at the end of 2022. ILO, UNEP, and UNICEF will work alongside their member states, employers, workers organizations and educators to tackle the youth and green jobs deficit, address the green skills gap in developing countries, focusing on sectors that are vulnerable to climate change and pushing for systemic change that benefits people, the planet, and prosperity.

International Trade Center (ITC)

ITC’s Youth and Trade Programme promotes youth entrepreneurship in developing countries. It supports young people in the development of their business and employability skills, which in turn improves their access to quality jobs with decent work conditions and increases their income. The programme also contributes to SDG 4 on Quality Education, by ensuring that more young people are equipped with the skills needed in today’s market, and to the SDG on Decent Work and Inclusive Growth.

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) values young people for their help and engagement, unique perspectives and fresh ideas as well as their expertise to address the global challenges humanity is facing. In 2021, it hosted the virtual IUCN One Nature, One Future Global Youth Summit. The Summit strengthened connections between young leaders and their existing global networks, encouraged interdisciplinary learning, provided a space for broader storytelling on conservation, and added momentum to growing youth movements for nature and climate. Youth from around the world were invited to participate in youth-led capacity-building workshops, networking events, and contribute to an outcome document to be delivered to IUCN’s World Conservation Congress in 2021. In 2022, IUCN revised its Youth Strategy and adopted the 2022-2030 Youth Strategy, which aims to embed young people’s perspectives, inclusion and empowerment in all parts and at all levels of the Union.

IHEID Environmental Committee

The IHEID Environmental Committee is the students’ environmental association that brings together students interested in sustainability and environmental issues to give voice to these issues within the Institute. All students are encouraged to get involved, regardless of program, semester or level of experience.

J’aime ma Planète

J’aime ma Planète is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the environment and promoting sustainable living. It targets and supports young people through environmental and sustainability education programs and activities in schools. Since 2015, J’aime ma Planète has been the Swiss representative of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), which with members in 81 countries is the world’s largest environmental education organization.

Swiss Youth for Climate (SYFC)

Swiss Youth for Climate was established in 2015 as a non-partisan association, aiming to give space to the youth in the political debate on climate change. SYFC has regional groups in six cities in Switzerland, including in Geneva, they conduct national political projects, and they participate to international climate negotiations. Swiss Youth for Climate has for objectives to advocate for pragmatic, responsible, and ambitious climate policies at the national and international levels; to raise awareness about the emergency of the climate crisis and about the importance of local and global actions; to mobilize the population, in particular the young generation, in favor of the ecological transition; to take part in international climate conferences as Swiss civil society representatives.

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

The UNECE ESD Youth Platform was set up to provide input to the UNECE steering committee on Education for Sustainable Development. The platform is currently developing future strategies that reflect what young people want and map out the different youth engagement possibilities within the system. In the  Framework for the implementation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development from 2021 to 2030 launched in 2022, emphasis is put on the need to improve education vis-à-vis the triple planetary crisis; ensure youth actively participate and is engaged in the different levels of decision-making that directly and indirectly affects them; and on the need for intergenerational dialogue. To further strengthen the meaningful participation of young people to help address sustainability challenges, in May 2023 UNECE established the Europe Youth Task Force on Education for Sustainable Development, pending the finalization of formal documents. The Task Force builds upon the work previously conducted by the Ad-hoc group on youth linked to the ESD Steering Committee.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – Europe Office

UNEP recognizes the importance of working with and for young people and develops its programs in an effort to foster meaningful youth participation. The formal youth engagement in UNEP processes and activities began in 2003 with the TUNZA Youth Strategy, coming from the Kiswahili word “to treat with care or affection”. The overall Tunza Concept aimed to create a global movement in which children and Youth will actively participate in sustainable development. The TUNZA initiative is meant to develop activities in the areas of capacity building, environmental awareness, and information exchange, with a vision to foster a generation of environmentally conscious citizens, capable of positive action.

In 2012, following a process of internal restructuring within UNEP processes, UNEP Children and Youth Major Group (MGCY)came into existence and was formalized in 2013-2014. As the formal youth engagement mechanism to UNEP, this youth-led and independent constituency advocates for inclusion, empowerment and meaningful engagement of young people in environmental processes, especially those of UNEP and UNEAs. Since 2020, the MGCY to UNEP organized the Youth Environment Assembly in the run-up to the UNEA.

Platforms and initiatives across UNEP have given relevant roles to young people, developing meaningful engagement in the environmental space. The Young Champions of the Earth aims to celebrate and support individuals aged between 18 and 30 who have outstanding potential to create a positive environmental impact. Every year, winners receive seed funding, intensive training and tailored mentoring to bring their big environmental ideas to life. In March 2023, UNEP in partnership with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, launched the Young Talent Pipeline, a new initiative aimed at increasing the diversity of experiences and solutions to solve the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature loss and pollution and waste.

University of Geneva Etudiant-e-s pour le Développement Durable (EDD) 

Etudiant-e-s pour le Développement Durable or students for sustainable development is a student association of the University of Geneva that aim to sensibilize the University community to environmental issues. With the support of the University of Geneva and the Geneva Graduate Insitute, the EDD organize yearly the Semaine de la Durabilité (Sustainability Week), offering multiple activities, conferences and seminars around the topic of sustainability.

The Earth Foundation

The Earth Foundation was founded in 2020 in Geneva to inspire, educate, mentor, and empower students, schools, researchers, and young entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to tackle environmental challenges. It takes enthusiastic youth and inspire, educate, mentor, and empower it to effect real change and hopefully, in turn, embolden the following generation. The foundation hosts the Earth Prize, a global environmental sustainability competition for students between the ages of 13 and 19, which rewards the teams whose projects have the most potential to address environmental issues.

World Health Organization (WHO)

WHO recognizes and involves youth as partners, stakeholders and changemakers in its work and is committed to engaging with youth in many different ways through various initiatives. The Youth Council brings together youth networks from health and non-health backgrounds from all over the world to provide advice to the WHO Director-General on global health and other health and development issue. The Global Health Workforce Network (GWHN) Youth Hub is an interprofessional community of practice working to systematically include youth health workforce issues related to employment, practice and the work environment in the health and social care sector. The Global Youth Mobilization, which empowers young people to driving change and implement solutions in the post-COVID-19 recovery. The Global Model WHO, organized in collaboration withthe World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) provides an authentic student-led simulation of the World Health Assembly (WHA) to high school and university students from all over the world. The WHO Briefing Centre provides an educational service to students and young professionals from a variety of disciplines through interactive briefing sessions (face-to-face or virtual) on public health topics.  WHO Youth Delegate Program allows the inclusion of youth delegates in a Member State’s official delegation so that young people can participate in global health governance as a formally accredited member of a Member State’s official delegation to a WHO high-level meeting.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

WIPO engagement with youth spaces from organization of webinars, ad hoc guides and initiatives. In 2020, WIPO GREEN launched Young and Green,  an initiative to give enhanced visibility to young eco-entrepreneurs and innovators.

World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) set up a parallel website WMO for Youth where information about its activities and meteorology are rendered more easily accessible for young people and where it is possible for youth to share stories about their interest in the subject and work of the WMO. Recognizing the strong stake that young people have in the future, WMO chose “Weather and climate: engaging youth” as the theme for the 2014 World Meteorological Day.

WWF Geneva

WWF Youth offers young people aged from 14 to 25 volunteering experiences granting real hands-on experience in the environment, project management, communication, etc, learning from professionals and people active in the environment. For people aged 13 to 18, the Pandaction allows participating in Nature Camps and plenty of other events around environmental themes. 

GEN Events

Advancing the Six Transitions: What Role for Young People? | RFSD 2024

11 March 2024 | Cyprus, UNEP Europe Office, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Youth and Environment Europe

 

Unleashing the power of youth through Education: Sustainable solutions for a Better Future | RFSD2023

28 March 2023 | UNEP Europe Office, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Geneva Environment Network

Youth Participation in National Implementation Plan and Strategies (NIPs) to the BRS Conventions | BRS COPs Side Event

15 June 2022 | International Pollutants Elimination Network, Center for International Environmental Law

RFSD2022 Peer Learning Round Table | Rebalancing people, planet and prosperity: ESD as key enabler for the 17 SDGs and Agenda 2030

7 April 2022 | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, UNEP Europe Office

Green Jobs and Youth Roundtable

24 Apr 2012 | Geneva Environment Network

Photo Credit: ICAN/Lucero Oyarzun. As part of the Fridays for Future school strikes, youth protest for climate action in Geneva in 2019.