December 6, 2022

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Building a resilient future led by youth

The futures of young people around the world are being devastated by the impacts of climate change, forcing them to mobilise and act. Young people are stepping into leadership roles in their communities, in local government, and even becoming youth-negotiators to take their urgent need for climate resilience into national and international decision-making. Yet there are few leadership support programmes or networks for young climate resilience leaders. 

So today The Club of Rome and its youth engagement programme The 50 Percent, the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Friendship, Slum Dwellers International (SDI), and Manuia are launching the Youth Resilience Hub. The aim of the hub is to help young leaders radically strengthen climate resilience in the places they live and help them with personal development support and transformative leadership skills. 

“Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders and an essential voice in redesigning our economic, political and financial systems to ensure a resilient, healthy, sustainable and equitable planet.” Commented Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of The Club of Rome. “Young people are leading the way in bringing global attention to the climate crisis; they shoulder the long-term economic and social consequences of stresses and shocks like pandemics or conflict as well as the short-term impacts on the frontlines. Despite this, they are rarely meaningfully engaged in decision-making, nor adequately compensated for the incredible role they play in society as bold changemakers and solution providers. This needs to change if we wish to achieve an equitable future on a healthy planet.” 

The Youth Resilience Hub will offer emerging leaders a range of experiences and capabilities necessary for them to take and fulfil leadership roles with confidence, durability, creativity, and expertise. It aims to provide the means, support, skills, space, and confidence for young people to meaningfully participate in climate policy and programming, help reshape institutions and influence decision-making. Importantly, the hub will provide a platform for knowledge exchange with and between youth from the most vulnerable communities and climate-impacted regions globally. 

“If there is one thing that has become clear at COP27 it is that young people continue to be key players on climate action – from bringing innovative ideas, delivering impactful projects on the ground to holding our leaders accountable”, said Vanessa Terschluse, Chief Editor of The 50 Percent. “Young people must be recognised as the leaders they are. The launch of the Youth Resilience Hub presents an opportunity for truly meaningful inter-generational engagement, where young leaders who are often excluded from decision-making spaces, are empowered to strengthen climate resilience in their communities in a way that meets their needs.” 

“I’m very pleased to join The Club of Rome and partners in launching the Youth Resilience Hub and hope we will be able to bring together youth from all over the world to work on resilience for both food systems and climate change.” Commented Dr Saleem Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change. 

Youth and Youth Hub partners at COP27

Youth at the COP27 Children in Youth Pavilion with Youth Resilience Hub partners Runa Khan, Friendship, Sandrine Dixson-Declève, The Club of Rome, Saleem Huq, ICCCAD, Sheela Patel, Slum Dwellers International, Gonzalo Muñoz, Manuia. 

The Youth Resilience Hub will initially focus on the following areas:  

  • Involve, engage, and enable youth in driving and implementing transformative systems solutions for building resilience in terms of anticipating, coping and recovering from extreme climate-related events. 
  • Foster collaborative and integrated exchanges amongst young people to enable them to share experiences, knowledge and solutions, tapping into their inner spirit of social accountability, community engagement, and responsibilities.  
  • Promote and coordinate leadership and advocacy efforts and meaningful youth participation in the global, regional and national fora on climate resilience. Engage youth negotiators and enable them to bring their insights and experience into international decision-making. 

The Youth Resilience Hub will combine capacity building, networking, peer support, visibility, fund mobilisation, mentorship, and a bottom-up programmatic design process. The hub will be co-designed with youth organisations to ensure relevance, scope, and impact. Rather than launch a ready cooked programme, we are inviting a young leaders-led design process to ensure it meets their needs. We also welcome partners to join by signing up and showing your interest here.  

“Youth will have to take a steep learning curve to build skills and capacity to compete for green jobs that we all keep talking about and support their families and communities to move beyond survival towards resilience. Let’s make youth participation inclusive to youth from urban and rural movements and not delay their joint exploration to challenge the adult world of what legacy they are being given”, said Sheela Patel, Founder Director of the Society for Promotion of Resource Centres, chair of the board of Slum Dwellers International and leader of the Roof over our Heads campaign. 

Gonzalo Muñoz, UNFCCC COP25 High-Level Champion for Climate Action and CEO of Manuia commented, “Resilience has been at the forefront of my work as COP25 High-Level Champion for Climate Action through the launch of the global Race to Resilience. The campaign has been successful in mobilising business, investors, cities and civil society to strengthen the resilience of people in climate-impacted communities, but does not yet have a dedicated space for youth empowerment and leadership. The Youth Resilience Hub fills that gap and provides a platform to voices of youth on the frontlines that hold the key to our future.” 

Tom Mitchell, Executive Director of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) added, “Today’s young people are being forced to fight the injustice of climate change that will see them inherit the worst impacts and effects of the carbon emissions of previous generations. IIED wants to support them as they step into leadership roles in their communities, local government and as negotiators. With more than ten years of experience of providing legal, technical, and strategic support to the world’s most vulnerable countries in their climate negotiations, IIED is excited to start work with the next generation of climate resilience leaders.” 

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