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Harnessing the potential of climate mobility with and for children and young people

Wednesday 14 – Friday 16 February 2024 I WP3346

CHIldren displaced in a changing climate

Youth empowerment

Green skills

While the need to prepare young people with the skills and capacities to fill the growing number of green jobs projected worldwide has been recognised by governments and climate and development actors, migrant and displaced young people are being overlooked in current policy discussions and programming efforts related to a green transition. Participants emphasised that displaced children and young people already face unique barriers to accessing education and workforce development opportunities in their host communities, regardless of whether these opportunities are green. For example, only a third of refugees (27% of refugee girls and 36% of refugee boys) are enrolled in secondary school around the world compared with 84% of secondary-age children worldwide, and a mere 3% are in higher education compared with 37% of non-refugees.

In addition, a lack of or unrecognised degrees or certifications, social networks, social protections, legal status, right to work, post-training support and connectivity can further hamper their potential to access employment and contribute to, as well as benefit from, green transitions in their host communities. Participants discussed how targeted policies and programming are needed to ensure displaced children and young people benefit as countries invest more in green transitions.

  • SPOTLIGHT: Youth Agency Market Place (YOMA)

    YOMA is a digital marketplace where youth from under-resourced communities can actively engage in social impact projects and learning and earning opportunities through several integrated functions, such as job matching, mentoring, technical and transferable skills training, experience-based learning and work-based learning opportunities, all of which can be added to a digital CV. YOMA also equips youth with future-based skills through the YOMA digital platform that mitigates against the impacts of climate change while providing opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship. Skills provided through YOMA include data collection and analysis, technical, digital and vocational skills for environmental evaluation and monitoring. Green YOMA currently has several projects in South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi and Peru, with prospects of project expansions in Ghana and Ivory Coast. To date, more than 250,000 youths have directly benefited from the YOMA digital platform.

Participation, inclusivity, voice

Participants pointed to the importance of educating and empowering migrant and displaced children and young people to meaningfully engage in climate policy and action. Providing children with knowledge of climate change and resilience techniques through climate education is critical to enabling children and young people – including those on the move or in hotspot locations – to effectively influence climate policies, budgets and plans. It is particularly important to ensure that children and young people are directly informed about the lived experiences, priorities and knowledge of communities affected by climate change and displacement.

Achieving meaningful participation, inclusivity and voice must extend beyond tokenism, and feature real commitments by key stakeholders to offering opportunities, mechanisms, and spaces for the co-creation and co-implementation of solutions with affected children, young people and their communities. Participants emphasised the importance of ensuring these efforts included the most marginalised and vulnerable groups amongst children and young people, whether as a result of gender, disability, legal status, or other factors. 

It was also pointed out that children and young people from indigenous communities are disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change (including mental health), despite their minimal ecological footprint. Often with strong material and spiritual reliance on their lands, indigenous and pastoralist communities depend on the environment and its resources for their livelihoods. At the same time, young people from Indigenous communities have a deep knowledge of their environment and understanding of appropriate prevention and adaptation measures to climate change and can play a critical role in driving this agenda.

Potential next steps:
  • Establish a constituency at COP for internally displaced people and those at risk of displacement living in climate-vulnerable locations, including indigenous populations.
  • Explore opportunities to anchor diverse and inclusive child and youth participation into the new Loss and Damage Fund architecture

Child-centred and displacement-sensitive climate finance


Migration as adaptation

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