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United Nations Joint Framework Initiative on Children, Youth and Climate Change

Since September 2008, the UNFCCC secretariat has been working together with United Nations entities and youth organizations to empower children and young people to take action on climate change through the United Nations Joint Framework Initiative on Children, Youth and Climate Change.

The work of the Initiative is closely linked to the implementation of Article 6 of the UNFCCC and in particular the implementation of the pdf-icon Doha work programme on Article 6 of the Convention. It also draws guidance from the following policy instruments:

The Initiative's main areas of work are:

  • Coordination of activities and sharing of information among participating entities
  • Empowering children and young people to take action on climate change

For more information please e-mail us at youth (at) unfccc.int

Recent and upcoming activities by members of the UN Joint Framework Initiative on Children, Youth and Climate Change

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Climate Change guide for youth
This publication contains over 20 chapters covering various aspects of climate change from causes to action on the ground.

Climate change and food security mini projects
In collaboration with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, FAO is supporting climate change and food security mini projects where young people learn about the topics and then develop projects in their local communities from school gardens, tree planting to community energy efficiency initiatives.

Manuals on climate smart agriculture for junior farmer field schools
FAO with a number of partners is developing a series of manuals on climate smart agriculture and community seed banks for junior farmer field schools and other relevant institutions. And is supporting projects related to youth and climate change in countries such as Mexico, Cambodia as well as in the pacific region.

Youth portal
FAO is developing a youth portal with information for youth on e.g. agriculture, biodiversity, climate change, forestry, fisheries, food and nutrition, and a special kids corner that will also include quizzes, videos and games on these topics.

Challenge badges
FAO is developing with partners several challenge badges that focus on e.g. oceans, forestry, energy, agriculture, nutrition (include a section on sustainable diets). These badges complement the pdf-icon biodiversity,pdf-icon food security and climate change and pdf-icon water challenge badge, which FAO published earlier.

For further information please visit the FAO Climate Change/Children and Youth website or contact Mr. Reuben Sessa via email at Reuben.Sessa@fao.org

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

GEF Small Grants Programme - The UNDP-implemented GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) has prioritized youth and children in its grantmaking. This is in recognition of the fact that sustainable development must actively involve all stakeholders. Sustainable development is also a long-term process, even an intergenerational one. In the climate change focal area, for example, the future is seen as much more challenging in terms of both the impacts to be dealt with and the extent by which the implementation of comprehensive solutions must be done. Capacity development, particularly of the sector that will provide the leaders of tomorrow, is thus a key priority. In addition, the necessary change in values and attitudes must be fostered in today’s youth and children in order to change our current environmentally destructive lifestyle into a more protective and sustainable one. SGP therefore puts great value in investing grant support in youth and children. Below are some of the ways in which SGP engages youth and children in the climate change focal area:

  • Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Projects - SGP can provide grant support to youth organizations in communities as well as in schools to implement on-the-ground climate change mitigation and adaptation projects in over 100 countries where the programme operates. The grant is up to $50,000 per project. Projects are expected to meet objectives of climate change mitigation and/or adaptation as well as that of sustainable livelihoods, capacity development, and policy advocacy.

  • Climate Change Awareness Activities - Most SGP projects engage youth and children through awareness raising activities that include training workshops on energy efficiency and/or renewable energy in communities and in schools, signature campaigns that commit not only the youth and children sector but also the larger citizenry to environmental protection, tree planting events that link biodiversity and climate change, and the organization of mobile exhibits, art contests, as well as environmental fairs that use music, theater and other innovative media forms to educate the public.

    For more information please contact Mr. Delfin Ganapin via email at delfin.ganapin@undp.org

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Tunza International Children & Youth Conferences
UNEP recognizes the impact of Climate Change on young people and places a great importance on the role young people can play in addressing these challenges. In an effort to raise awareness, UNEP in collaboration with the UNEP National Committee Korea organized the 2009 Tunza International Children and Youth Conference. Themes included: Climate Change and its effect on Biodiversity, Climate Change and Young People, Water and Sustainable Lifestyles. The conference provided a unique opportunity for over 800 children and youth to share their views and concerns about climate change, and resulted in a youth statement which was presented at the December 2009 climate change meeting in Copenhagen.

In 2010, UNEP in cooperation with the Aichi Prefectural Government and the City of Nagoya, hosted a Children’s Conference on Biodiversity. The Conference resulted in a children’s declaration on biodiversity, presented at COP10 in Nagoya in October.

In 2011 UNEP in collaboration with the Indonesia Government organized another Tunza International Children and Youth Conference which was held in Bandung Indonesia from 27 September to 1 October 2011. The Conference brought together 1,400 children and youth, to discuss their role and inputs to the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development "Rio+20". Under the slogan: 'Reshaping Our Future through A Green Economy and Sustainable Lifestyles'. The conference reviewed the contribution of children and youth to the International Year of Forests and how they can adopt more environmentally friendly lifestyles. The conference themes were Rio + 20 (Green Economy) / Green Lifestyles, Forests, Sustainable Consumption and the State of the Global Environment from the youth perspective. The Conference resulted in a declaration containing an action plan detailing what children can do to promote the outcomes of the document.

In 2013 UNEP hosted the Tunza International Youth Conference on the Environment at the United Nations Complex in Nairobi, Kenya from the 10 to 14 February. The conference provided a platform for 300 youth from 75 countries to learn, exchange information and share best practices under the theme; Health & the Environment. Subthemes included; Green Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Consumption and Production, Food Waste, Water, Rio+20 outcomes and the Post 2015 Development agenda, and Youth and the Global Environment. An outcome of the conference was a Youth Statement, presented to the First Universal Session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum calling for governments, business, cities and civil society to support and facilitate youth led campaigns and projects. The conference also saw the launch ofpdf-icon ‘Tunza Acting for a Better World: GEO-5 for Youth’, a publication geared towards engaging young people, globally, to respond to environmental challenges. New Tunza Youth Advisors were also elected for each region to serve in the Tunza Youth Advisory Council for the next two years.

Global Youth Gathering
The UNEP Tunza Youth Advisory Council met in Nairobi during UNEP’s Biennial Governing Council Session. The youth meeting brings together the Tunza Youth Advisory Council and youth leaders from around the world providing a platform to influence the decisions of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environmental Forum (GC/GMEF) and to participate in the Global Civil Society Forum. Participating youth review and provide inputs to Governing Council documents, participate in the Global Civil Society Forum and the Governing Council. The Gathering also provides youth opportunities to meet with UNEP staff to discuss environmental issues, and to review their roles and expectations in the implementation of the Tunza strategy.

International Children’s Painting Competition on the Environment
The International Children’s Painting Competition has been organized every year since 1991 by UNEP and the Foundation for Global Peace and Environment (FGPE). Bayer and the Nikon Corporation joined as organizers in 2005 and 2006 respectively. The 21st International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment is ongoing and open to children between the ages of 6 and 14 years. The focus of the 2013 competition was Water: Where does it come from?/ Source of Life.

The Competition has been one of UNEP’s most popular outreach activities receiving millions of submissions from over 100 countries over the last 21 years, inspiring people all over the world to see the environment through the eyes of children. The Competition encourages children to focus on a particular environmental issues and how these issues affect their communities. Its goal is to increase environmental awareness and action among children, articulating the hopes and fears of today’s children and portraying actions by children to address environmental issues.

Tunza Magazine
The UNEP Tunza magazine is one of the initiatives under the UNEP Tunza long term strategy on the involvement and engagement of young people in environmental issues. The magazine is produced quarterly and in three languages – English, French and Spanish. The magazine is distributed to young people around the world. All Tunza issues are posted here. A new feature during the reporting period was the introduction of the Tunza mobile platform, which allows young people to access the magazine on their mobile phone. This has been a huge success and now registers several thousand subscribers.

Children environmental series
UNEP published a children's environmental series and two out of the seven storybooks are on the theme of climate change and on what children can do to mitigate the effects of climate change. The series is hosted on the Tunza website.

UNEP/UNESCO YouthXchange guidebook on climate change and lifestyles
The UNEP-UNESCO YouthXchange project was partners with UNEP’s Tunza youth strategy. The initiative aims to develop activities in the area of capacity building, environmental awareness and information exchange, with a vision to foster a generation of environmentally conscious citizens. As a part of the YouthXchange Initiative, UNEP in collaboration with UNESCO, launched a guide book on Climate Change and lifestyles aimed at young people aged 15-24. The guide book is a training kit, which seeks to promote sustainable lifestyles through education, dialogue, awareness raising and capacity-building.

For further information please visit the UNEP children and youth website or send an email to: children.youth@unep.org

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Climate Change Education is one of UNESCO's focal topics for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). It uses Climate Change Education as an entry point for promoting the principles and practice of sustainable development through education. UNESCO’s Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development (CCESD) programme focuses on strengthening countries’ capacities to provide quality climate change education; promoting innovative teaching approaches to integrate climate change education into school programmes and curricula; and raise awareness about climate change as well as enhance non-formal education programmes through media, networking and partnerships.

UNESCO materials on Climate Change Education for Sustainable Development

YouthXchange climate change and lifestyles guidebook (UNEP/UNESCO)
The joint UNESCO/UNEP YouthXchange (YXC) Initiative on youth and sustainable lifestyles and livelihoods includes a series of thematic YXC guidebooks, which present global sustainability challenges to young people so they can better understand how such challenges are connected to their everyday lifestyle choices.

The pdf-icon YouthXchange guidebook on climate change and lifestyles explores the links between climate change and lifestyles and helps young people consider the actions they might take towards more sustainable lifestyles. It takes into account challenges, opportunities, good practices and case studies on global challenges.

Climate change in the classroom: UNESCO course for secondary teachers on climate change education for sustainable development
This six-day course supports teacher education institutions to introduce climate change education into their pre-service and in-service training programme. The course is designed to give teachers confidence in facilitating climate change education for sustainable development across the curriculum and inside and outside the classroom. The course suggests that the teaching of climate change should go beyond the science classroom. It proposes a pedagogical framework, exercises, regional resource and facilitation guidelines to teacher educators.

Climate change education starter’s guidebook (UNESCO/UNEP)
UNESCO together with UNEP developed a pdf-icon Climate Change Starter’s Guidebook that provides an introduction and overview for education planners and practitioners on the wide range of issues relating to climate change and climate change education, including causes, impacts, mitigation and adaptation strategies, as well as some broad political and economic principles.

The aim of this guide is to serve as a starting point for mainstreaming climate change education. It has been created to enable education planners and practitioners to understand the issues at hand, to review and analyse their relevance to particular national and local contexts, and to facilitate the development of education policies, curricula, programmes and lesson plans.

Learning to address climate change
The UNESCO video “Learning to address climate change” shows in four minutes why climate change education is important to shape sustainable development and how it works in practice. It shows how education can help us understand the causes and consequences of climate change. It also gives examples of how teachers and students can get active and address the challenges of climate change.

Clearinghouse on Climate Change Education
UNESCO’s ‘Clearinghouse on Climate Change Education’ website makes easily accessible hundreds of teaching and learning materials on climate change through a new database, complementing UN clearinghouse platforms in support of UNFCCC Article 6, such as CC:iNet and CC:Learn.

Sandwatch Project
Being active in more than 50 countries, the Sandwatch project seeks to change the lifestyle and habits of children, youth and adults on a community-wide basis, by developing their awareness of the fragile nature of marine and coastal environments and the need to use them wisely. The volunteer network of children, youth and adults is working together to monitor and analyze changes in their beach environment using a standardized approach. Children and youth share their findings with the wider community and then take action to address issues, enhance their beach environment and build resilience to climate change. Sandwatch was initiated by UNESCO more than 10 years ago. It is coordinated by the non-profit Sandwatch Foundation with support from UNESCO and many other partners.

For further information please contact Ms. Julia Heiss via email at j.heiss@unesco.org

United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)

Social Media and Blogging Competition for UN-Habitat’s Cities and Climate Change Initiative (CCCI)
UN-Habitat’s CCCI recently organized a Social Media and Blogging Competition for youth bloggers and social media enthusiasts from CCCI’s global network of over 40 cities. The competition prize for the three top blogger's is an opportunity to attend the EcoMobility World Festival taking place in Suwon, Republic of Korea in September 2013.

The blogger’s were required to blog on the concept of ecomobility i.e. the integrated promotion of walking, cycling, electric cars and other alternatives to vehicles that run on fossil fuels that can provide innovative, environmentally friendly transport options to all of a neighbourhood’s residents irrespective of age, gender or physical capability. The blog entries provided individual perspectives and stories highlighting the competition eco-mobility concept. A selection panel selected the top three bloggers according to set criteria including the standard and quality of writing, the approach to the theme and grasp of research, evidence of commitment to the principles of eco-mobility and evidence of ability and innovative plans to share and disseminate knowledge and impressions. Also considered was regional and gender balance, the pre-existence of a live blog and period of time that it has been in existence and the number of page views, comments, likes, and re-tweets the entry had.

The EcoMobility World Festival is organized though collaboration between the City of Suwon, Republic of South Korea, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, and UN-Habitat.

For further information please contact Mr. John Mwaura via email at John.Mwaura@unhabitat.org

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Climate Ambassador Programme
In 2009, in the week before the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s COP15, UNICEF organized the Children’s Climate Forum in Copenhagen (CCF or CCFC). The true launch of the Climate Ambassador Programme, the event brought together 160 young people from 44 countries to discuss climate change and build their skills to make change in their communities. For UNICEF, this was in many ways the beginning of widespread action on climate change and adolescent participation in Country Offices and NatComs worldwide. Below are many of the stories of how UNICEF offices prepared their Ambassadors for the Forum and what Climate Ambassadors did with UNICEF after the CCF with their increased skills and knowledge.

Classroom Education Programmes
Canada: UNICEF Canada works with educators (boards, teaching organizations and education federations) to raise awareness around children’s rights and how to bring the rights based approach into the classroom in a practical and manageable way that will make the classroom a better place. UNICEF Canada has integrated "Learning for a Sustainable Future" workshops into this programme, featuring trainings at conferences for teachers and students. UNICEF has also created a number of "Green Learning" sites, with numerous resources for teachers online. This has been shared with all of the teachers within UNICEF's network. Since UNICEF works with both teachers and professors who teach teachers in training, the change can often reach far more people indirectly than directly.

Luxembourg: UNICEF is working to support the government's initiative to integrate sustainable development into school curricula, as a part of the Decade for Education for Sustainable Development. UNICEF Luxembourg feeds into government dialogues and has shared the tools that other UNICEF offices have developed when needed.

China: UNICEF is running Environment, Climate Change & Disaster courses in a few pilot schools, and have support to scale this up to 100 schools. They have developed an interactive and integrated whole school climate programme, which includes both content for the classroom as well as tangible actions such as planting trees, stabilizing slopes, planting vegetables for nutrition purposes, and teaching children to calculate their carbon emissions.

Community Education Programmes
In order to make widespread environmental change in a community, many UNICEF offices have recognized a need to not only engaging children but larger communities. Identifying key social events and community values in a region, these projects can often reach people that traditional environmental programmes may miss. Even for children, engaging outside of the classroom can ensure that environmental ideas are translated into practical action.

Tree Plantations & Gardens
All over the world, tree plantations are often seen as the easiest way to engage children in an environmental event or project, and when approached this way, they remain little more than a one-off event. These projects become more valuable when they are bundled with long-term engagement in that community or when accompanied by community trainings to ensure the trees are cared for and protected.

Action Research
The idea of Action Research has been very promising in many areas besides environment, and there are examples of how this idea can be very effective at engaging adolescents. By training adolescents with key research skills and focusing research on critical social issues, the outcomes can directly translate into action plans for community projects or into advocacy at a local, regional or national level to the government.

Water, Sanitation and Health
As WASH is both a key area of UNICEF’s operations worldwide and also one of the sectors and resources that will be most impacted by climate change, WASH projects are a natural fit for climate change interventions. Furthermore, water quality testing and monitoring is very straightforward to train children and youth to do at their schools and community water sources. When young people are conducting these tests, they can be more frequent and more distributed than if an expert outside of the community is doing testing, and the youth and their families become strong advocates for water quality management.

For further information please contact Ms. Stephanie Hodge via email at shodge@unicef.org

Earth Child Institute (ECI)

Side-event at United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting on Youth
In July, ECI co-organized a side event entitled: Youth Leaders Speak Out About Effective Inter-Generational Climate Action (link to press release) with United Nations Environment Programmme (UNEP), the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), the Brookings Institution’s Center for Universal Education, and in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Establishment of youth-led Nepal country office
ECI's youth-led Nepal country office is up and running making strides for children in the Dolpa district. Their Facebook page is accessible here.

For further information please contact Ms. Donna Goodman via email at donna@earthchildinstitute.org

Plan International

Plan International is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world. We work in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty. Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.

Plan’s climate change programming and advocacy is focused on children’s rights. This includes work on both securing child-sensitive adaptation policy and programming at global and national levels and also incorporates children’s active participation in adaptation programmes and advocacy. Plan is a member of the Children in a Changing Climate coalition and facilitates the participation of children and youth in climate change and disaster risk reduction policy forums such as the UNFCCC COPs and the Global Platform for DRR (GPDRR). Plan has been involved in the COPs since 2007, and in 2009 brought 11 young journalists from Indonesia, Kenya and the EU to COP15.

Plan has a particular focus on climate change and disaster risk reduction education. Recent work by Plan in this field includes the Make the Link - Climate exChange project. This was 3 year project funded by the European Union, promoting learning, dialogue and action on climate change through linking 11-19 year olds in primary and secondary schools, as well as youth groups in the EU (UK, Netherlands and Bulgaria) with those in Africa (Kenya, Malawi, and Senegal).

In Asia, Plan is implementing a Child Centered Climate Change Adaptation project in 5 countries in South East Asia (Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam) and 6 countries in the Pacific (Fiji, Kiribati, PNG, Solomon Island, Tonga and Tuvalu), applying strategies such as awareness raising, climate change adaptation education, capacity building and group formation, participatory risk assessment and planning, pilot community and child-led initiatives, research and advocacy. It is also exploring the link between youth vocational training and climate change adaption (green jobs for youth). Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines are also implementing similar child-centred CCA projects.

Plan has produced a youth friendly version of the IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX report): Climate Extreme - How young people can respond to disasters in a changing world.

A Child Centred Approach to Climate Smart Disaster Risk Management
Plan worked with members of Strengthening Climate Resilience to develop the Climate Smart Disaster Risk Management (CSDRM) approach. This publication provides an adaptation the CSDRM approach for use with children. It also includes some guidance and advice on communicating some of the critical ideas to children.

Climate extremes and child rights in South Asia: a neglected priority
This project briefing presents the findings and policy implications from a Plan study on how girls and boys in South Asia perceive and experience climate extremes and disasters.

Benefits of a child-centred approach to climate change adaptation
Plan developed in coordination with UNICEF this scoping study that highlights the economic arguments for a child-centred approach to climate change adaptation.

Children’s Action for Disaster Risk Reduction: Views from Children in Asia
A collection of essays written by children and youth from Asia on their action for disaster risk reduction and climate change.

Weathering the storm: Adolescent girls and climate change
This report calls for better integration of adolescent girls' needs in climate change adaptation and disaster risk management policies and programmes, based on interviews with girls involved in Plan's programmes in Ethiopia and Bangladesh.

pdf-icon Child Centred DRR toolkit
This toolkit includes modules on training children on disaster risk reduction through the hazard, vulnerability and capacity assessment; planning, monitoring and evaluating child-centred disaster risk reduction programmes; action planning with children on disaster risk reduction and advocacy with children on disaster risk reduction.

ABC Education Book on climate change
Developed in Vietnam, this is a guide to help children learn about climate change

Global Warning: Children’s Right to be Heard in Global Climate Change Negotiations
This report calls on governments and all stakeholders working in the field of climate change to do more to listen to children, and to prioritise the education and involvement of young people in decisions and actions to protect their future.

Plan has supported children to make their own documentary films about disaster risk and climate change in their communities and what they think should be done about it:

Act to Adapt: Plan’s Child Centred Climate Change Adaptation (4CA) programme is a 3-year project taking place in 12 countries across Asia and the Pacific. It aims to build the awareness of children and their communities about climate change and to empower them to be active participants in adaptation efforts. This publication describes the approach and presents a range of case studies.

For more information contact Mr Jesse DeMaria-Kinney  via email at Jesse.DeMariaKinney@plan-international.org


TakingITGlobal is in the process of conducting a series of five European Youth Environment and Education forums to involve youth, educators, and environmentalists in forming recommendations to the agenda of the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit.

TakingITGlobal has launched Youthmovements.org, a collaborative mapping platform for youth-led and youth-focused projects. The online tool is an updated version of TakingITGlobal’s project management infrastructure and a series of monthly inquiry groups to increase cross sector contact. This project is not solely focused upon climate initiatives, but aims to draw connections between actors across movements.

For further information please contact Mr. Liam O'Doherty via email at: liam@takingitglobal.org

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS)

With ~10 million members in 145 countries, WAGGGS is the largest international voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women. WAGGGS supports its members to reach their full potential as responsible citizens of the world, through a programme of values based non-formal education. WAGGGS empowers its members to learn, speak out and take action at a local, national and international level with a focus over the last few years on the Millennium Development Goals.

WAGGGS’ is currently running projects, youth training and advocacy programmes on key issues relating to the environment and sustainable development. Current activities include grassroots-led climate change and food security mini projects in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Flag for the Future – a youth competition run in partnership with Greenpeace International as part of the Save the Arctic campaign and Together Greening – a international project led by Girl Scouts USA and supported by the Alcoa Foundation which catalyses youth-led grassroots action and cross-cultural learning.

WAGGGS works with the Youth and United Nations Global Alliance (YUNGA) and especially FAO to create non-formal curricula called ‘United Nations Challenge Badge’ on topics including Water, Biodiversity and Climate Change and Food Security. The badges support children and youth to increase their knowledge, inspire behavioural change, raise awareness and become empowered agents of change in their communities.

WAGGGS’ also takes international delegations of young women to UNFCCC and UNCSD conferences to advocate on behalf of girls and young women, with a specific focus on non-formal education and youth empowerment.

For further information please contact Environment Programme Coordinator, Ms. Harriet Thew via email at harriet@wagggs.org