State of the World Population 2009
No. of pages: 56
Publication date: 2009
Available languages: English
This is the fourth edition of the Youth Supplement to UNFPA’s State of the World Population Report. This Youth Supplement addresses climate change and young people, through the lens of what impact climate change is predicted to have, and what that will mean for young people’s lives, livelihoods, health, rights and development. The Youth Supplement explores these issues because the young people of today will be standing in the frontline in the coming decades, meeting the challenges posed by climate change. As the Youth Supplement shows, young people will be dealing with the threats and opportunities of climate change whether they choose to do so or are forced to do so, and whether they like it or not. Some of the young people featured in the Youth Supplement have started their passage to adulthood with a strong interest in something completely different, but having identified the issue of climate change and realized how it relates to their lives and communities, they shifted their focus.
Climate change vulnerability also has gender and age aspects: Women account for about two-thirds of the poor people in the world, and about seventy percent of the world’s farmers, meaning women will face the lion’s share of the challenges in many rural areas. Young people between 10 and 24 years constitute over 1.5 billion people in the world, of which 70 percent live in developing countries. Thus, young people, especially young women, are particularly vulnerable to projected climate change impacts. The young people of today are standing at the frontier of climate change. Today’s actions of governments, the private sector and civil society will determine what lies in store for them, and how well equipped they are for what is to come. A great number of today’s youth are growing up in parts of the world where the impacts of climate change will hit hardest; there is an urgent need to address their capacities in taking on the challenges that stand before them. In doing this, the lives and opportunities for young people must be viewed holistically. Climate change is coinciding with a current global trend of urbanization. As of 2008, more people in the world live in urban areas than rural, with many of these being young people. This is both a challenge and an opportunity, as urban areas emit high levels of greenhouse gas, but provides possibilities for a more climate friendly organization of waste management and transportation, among other things. Young people in cities are characterized by a similar dualism – they are more educated than their parents, but face greater risks of ending up as slum dwellers, compared to adults. Thus, if young people in cities are to be able to exploit the environmental potential of cities, attention must be given to improvement of their livelihoods.