By Patience Katusiime
According to the UN Climate Change News, 12 August 2023, half of the world’s population is 30 years old or younger. This figure is expected to reach 57 per cent by the end of 2030. This is the largest generation of young people in history.
This year’s International Youth Day highlights the importance of developing green skills for youth to ensure the success of a just transition to a greener and more sustainable world where all people including young people benefit equally.
Green skills include technical knowledge, expertise and abilities that enable the effective use of green technologies and processes in professional settings.
They draw on a range of knowledge, values, and attitudes to facilitate environmentally sustainable decision making at work and in life.
Although green competencies are relevant for people of all ages, they are of greater importance for younger people, who can contribute to the ecological transition over a longer period of time.
One of the main challenges we face as young people in accessing green jobs is the lack of clarity on career paths and training resources, as well as the lack of mentoring or support systems to develop a green career.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), 100 million jobs can be created through the transition to sustainable energy sources and a circular economy scenario.
However, some existing jobs are expected to become obsolete, and the benefits of the transition are unlikely to be distributed geographically or demographically unless young people are provided with the necessary training and support systems.
The reality of young people, as diverse as it is on a global scale, has many commonalities: greater vulnerability in living conditions, lower salaries and greater difficulties to emancipate, uncertainty about the near future, unequal access to higher education, among others
A successful just transition requires addressing the challenges young people face in accessing opportunities to develop green skills and incorporating these needs into countries’ development strategies through greater policy coordination, social dialogue, and collaboration.
It is also very important to have more young people in climate decision-making spaces. We must see young people as key stakeholders in our transition to low-carbon economies.
Article 6 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992) and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement. It provides tools to change the systems, attitudes and behaviors needed to transition to a just, low-emission and climate-resilient world. Engaging youth in the fight against climate change is crucial for creating a sustainable future.
There are several ways you can get involved and empower young people to take action. First, consider organizing educational events or workshops focused on climate change and its impact on the environment. This can help raise awareness and inspire youth to take action.
Additionally, encourage young people to participate in environmental initiatives such as community clean-up events or tree planting activities. Providing them with opportunities to make a tangible difference can be incredibly empowering.
Lastly, consider forming a youth-led climate action group or club where young people can brainstorm and implement ideas to combat climate change. Remember, the power of youth lies in their creativity and passion.
Engaging youth in the fight against climate change is not only essential for addressing global environmental issues, but it also empowers young people to become active participants in shaping a sustainable future.
By providing education, encouraging direct action, and supporting their initiatives, we can unlock the potential of youth and create a collective movement that makes a real impact on our planet.
Patience Katusiime is the Program Assistant, Environment Governance Institute Uganda