COP28: ‘A critical moment to engage youth’ in climate policy


The first ever Youth Stocktake, bringing together thousands of young people from across the globe under the banner of climate action, was a highlight of ‘Youth Day’ at COP28.

With around one billion children worldwide at extreme risk from the impact of climate change, the work of young green activists is gaining more traction, and yet their input into policymaking remains limited.

COP28 then has been the ideal opportunity to keep the key issues in the spotlight, and so Youth Day day was all about reaffirming countries’ commitments to putting young people at the centre of ‘climate diplomacy’, culminating with the Youth Climates Delegate Programme.

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President, said: “This COP is working to build a global legacy and a better future for youth and children. This is a turnaround COP that will ensure full inclusivity is at the heart of the climate process.”

‘First extensive analysis of youth inclusion’

Young leaders from across the world came to this crucial summit to discuss central youth policy proposals for COP28 and to formulate a 2023 Global Youth Statement. Youth, Children, Skills and Education Day saw the Dubai Youth Climate Dialogue and Youth Stocktake Launch event. This also marked the finale of the COP mandated youth-led dialogue forum to discuss the central youth policy proposals for COP28 and the 2023 Global Youth Statement.

The Youth Stocktake is the first extensive research analysis of youth inclusion in UNFCCC and youth policy outcomes, offering a comprehensive analysis of youth inclusion, engagement, best practices, and strategies for amplifying youth participation in decision-making.


Her Excellency Shamma Al Mazrui, Youth Climate Champion, said: “At this COP, we have witnessed unprecedented initiatives fostering children and youth inclusion. With 110 dedicated delegates on the ground, our youth have not only made a significant impact through numerous speaking engagements and negotiations but have also effectively represented their communities. Today, and all the activity that has led to it, is focused on catalyzing transformative change that will stand as a lasting legacy for future COPs.”

‘Working to build a global legacy’

Education and future skills were the focal point, supported by events designed to help young people unlock future career opportunities. Some 50 young people joined the Marketplace of the Future, a speed-dating-style event that sought to connect young delegates with access to funding, mentorship and job opportunities.

In September, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted the ‘General Comment No. 26 (2023) on Children’s Rights and the Environment with a Special Focus on Climate Change’. This landmark pronouncement acknowledged the negative impact of climate change on all child rights, reemphasizing the right that every child has to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

But despite their greater vulnerability of young people to climate change, just 2.4 per cent of climate finance from key multilateral funds is child responsive. COP28’s Youth, Children, Skills and Education Day is being seen as ‘a critical moment’ to engage youth in climate policymaking, ensuring the meaningful inclusion of children, young people and other marginalized groups in the process of climate policymaking.

Click here for more information on COP28’s Youth Climate Delegates.

Author: Simon Weedy

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