COP28: UNICEF & Generation Unlimited Launch Green Rising for Youth Climate Action at RewirEd Summit
Green Rising will create pathways for at least 10 million children and youth in developing countries to take grassroots action by 2025
DUBAI, 8 December 2023 – In a major drive to mobilize world leaders to scale children- and youth-led grassroots climate action, UNICEF, Generation Unlimited (GenU) and partners launched the Green Rising initiative at RewirEd Summit hosted by GenU Founding Partner Dubai Cares on the first-ever COP Youth, Children, Education and Skills Day.
Over the next three years (2023-2025), Green Rising will create pathways for at least 10 million children and youth, especially girls, in developing countries to take grassroots action through volunteering; green skills building, jobs, and entrepreneurship; and advocacy – while mobilizing hundreds of millions more to do the same through an ecosystem of other public, private, and youth stakeholders.
"Breaking down barriers to youth participation in the climate action agenda requires collective action,” said Kitty van der Heijden, Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships, at UNICEF. “Through the Green Rising initiative, UNICEF, Generation Unlimited (GenU) and a large ecosystem of public, private and youth partners will support children and young people who are lending their time, creativity and grit to protect the planet and build resilience in their communities."
His Excellency Dr. Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of Dubai Cares, and Board Member of GenU, said: “Empowering youth with essential skills to actively contribute to shaping their future is not enough. Youth should be included in decision and policymaking processes to enable them to co-create the solutions the world needs today. Our goals for the RewirEd Summit are to align strategies, unite climate and education actors and position youth at the heart of the global climate agenda, with a sharp focus on green skills for green jobs and green economies. RewirEd Summit served as a critical moment for GenU to bring the Green Rising to global leaders and showcase it as an example of the concrete solutions that are needed to drive the shift towards a net-zero world.”
The launch at the RewirEd Summit, Dubai Cares’ flagship platform advocating for rewired education systems as the core enabler for a sustainable future for people and planet, took place in the presence of leaders across public-private-youth sectors, including government representatives.
Hon. Shri Bhupender Yadav, Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, and Labour & Employment of India, said: "Youth suffer the most due to the effects of climate change and they are crucial key to attaining a sustainable world. There is no denying that young people are valuable agents of change as innovators, entrepreneurs, and climate-conscious individuals who can foster positive change. The youth today is making the best use of education, science and technology to scale up their effort to drive up climate action. Our responsibility is to provide them with a blend of the right knowledge and skills focussed on technological power and environmental sense and equip them to take advantage of new environment-oriented opportunities."
“The formal launch of the Green Rising initiative is a testament to the power of adopting an inclusive multi-stakeholder approach to climate action and to the value of empowering youth as key agents in the fight against climate change. As a proud member of GenU’s Global Leadership Council, I commend the teams in UNICEF and GenU in launching this initiative and the potential impact it will have through volunteerism; advocacy; and skills, jobs and entrepreneurship. Through Egypt’s very own national version of GenU (Shabab Balad), climate action is a cross-cutting theme across all strategic priorities, reflecting the government’s commitment to ensuring the participation of youth,” said Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Her Excellency Dr. Rania Al Mashat.
Rwanda Minister of Environment, Hon. Dr. Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya shared the initiatives launched to equip and empower children and youth in the country to take transformational climate actions. “Rwanda proudly supports the Green Rising initiative empowering our youth through volunteerism; special community work Umuganda where youth take community-based environmental action; advocacy; and youth climate dialogue, providing a platform for impactful discussions on climate politics, skills, and jobs." The Ecobrigade Programme, Rwanda Greenpreneurs Network, and Green Care Rwanda Project aim to develop green skills, provide green jobs, and promote entrepreneurship for youth.
Throughout COP Youth, Children, Education and Skills Day, the focus at the RewirEd Summit was driving a global discussion that showcased powerful solutions that exist at the climate-education intersection.
As Dr. Kevin Frey, Chief Executive Officer of Generation Unlimited, said: “There is reason for optimism. But we need to take talk and commitment into real dollars that flow and make it to last mile community. It is the young people living in communities that have been the most hard hit who have to live with the impact of climate change. We need to invest in them so they have the skills they need to create the world all of us want.”
Collectively these young champions can deliver concrete environmental impact in their communities and catalyse systems-level change, ensuring that the most vulnerable youth receive the education, skills, opportunities and the power to contribute to a just green transition.
Mobilizing partners to deliver impact
Children and young people — the least responsible for the climate crisis — are the most impacted, often suffering its greatest consequences. Half of the global youth surveyed (57%) in a recent study from UNICEF USA experience “eco-anxiety”. Yet, they are keen to tackle the crisis with resilience and action. Supporting them as lifelong champions for the environment with skills and opportunities can power a faster and fairer transition to a low carbon economy.
Green Rising united leaders across sectors at COP28 to spotlight commitments to integrate children and youth as partners, influence policymakers toward a more youth-centred perspective, and encourage organizations to contribute their resources and expertise. Prominent leaders are pledging support for the Green Rising in a significant crowding-in of global partners committed to this vision.
The ambition of Green Rising would not be possible without the commitment of long-term implementation partners like Goodwall and the World Organization of Scouts Movement.
This complements existing support from partners IKEA Foundation, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Unilever and the Government of Netherlands for programmes already aligned with Green Rising.
Green Rising is also supported by the Green Jobs for Youth Pact – a joint effort by UNICEF, ILO, and UNEP, alongside private sector contributors, launched at COP27 to work towards creating 1 million new green jobs, greening 1 million jobs, and supporting 10,000 green entrepreneurs by 2030.
Furthermore, Green Rising is gathering momentum, with local and regional chapters being launched around the world:
The Green Rising India Alliance (GRIA) is part of the global Green Rising campaign. Led by YuWaah at UNICEF, Capgemini, Children's Investment Fund Foundation, Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies, ReNew Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and SAP, GRIA aims to equip 50 million children and young people in India to become climate-conscious, adaptable, and resilient by 2030.
COP30 host H.E. Helder Barbalho, Governor of Pará State in Brazil's Amazon region, highlighted efforts on Green Rising Amazonia to support youth-led ecological transition. The State Government has established an unprecedented Environmental Education, Sustainability, and Climate Policy, which will include a school curriculum component benefiting over 500,000 children and adolescents. “It is an initiative that aligns with the Green Rising proposal, as it positions Pará to potentially serve as a reference for Brazil and the world in the realm of environmental education.”
The Government of Kenya launched the one million youth Green Army committing to plant 15 billion trees by 2032 and restore 10.6M hectares of land, expressing alignment with Green Rising.
Young people as partners at COP28
Throughout COP28, Generation Unlimited and partners advocated for the inclusion and preparedness of children and youth as partners in a climate-changed world, from grassroots to negotiation tables and forums like COP28. This was the focus at an event co-hosted with UAE Minister and COP28 Youth Climate Champion H.E. Shamma Al Mazrui; while a Green Skills Fair hosted with the COP28 Presidency in partnership with LinkedIn and Pupilar facilitated opportunities for 3,000 youth to connect with employers from nearly 80 organizations present at the Green Zone to explore the future of work, changing hiring trends, and in-demand skills for a greener economy.
Through collective efforts of partners uniting in a powerful coalition to address the most pressing issue confronting this generation, we can affirm the right of every child and young person to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, and propel a just transition.
For more information, contact:
Anupama Saikia, Chief Marketing Officer, Generation Unlimited firstname.lastname@example.org
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UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
About RewirEd Summit
RewirEd Summit is Dubai Cares’ flagship platform advocating for rewired education systems as the core enabler for a sustainable future for people and planet. Hosted on 8 December 2023 inside COP28’s Green Zone at the Connect Conference Center at Expo City Dubai, RewirEd Summit is the first ever global education summit on climate that brought together more than 1,000 participants, including 2 heads of state, 22 ministers, and 28 CEOs, with 260 speakers, representing 209 entities and 76 countries, leading a global discussion that showcased the powerful solutions that exist at the climate-education intersection.
About Generation Unlimited
Launched by the UN Secretary-General at the 2018 UN General Assembly, Generation Unlimited is a leading global Public-Private-Youth Partnership on a mission to skill and connect the world’s 1.8 billion young people to opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship, and social impact. Anchored in UNICEF, the partnership brings together global organizations and leaders including Heads of State, CEOs, Heads of UN agencies, and civil society champions with young people to co-create and deliver innovative solutions on a global scale.