The Twin Transitions: Preparing the Next Generation for a Green & Digital Future
Global Leadership Council convenes on action needed to support young people to navigate the green and digital transitions
NEW YORK, 21 September 2023 – On the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Generation Unlimited’s Global Leadership Council (GLC) came together with a diverse assembly of global leaders from governments, businesses, foundations, multilateral organizations, civil society, and youth to explore new prospects to prepare youth for the green and digital transitions, with a particular focus on harnessing emerging Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies.
The twin digital and green transitions are sweeping the globe, transforming the way we live and work. The promise this holds for a climate-resilient future rests on whether today's youth acquire the skills and knowledge to succeed and thrive. There is a need for collective action to create an inclusive ecosystem where everyone has the opportunity to participate and benefit from a green and digital world.
At the GLC, partners announced new commitments and achievements that promise to help young people navigate the twin transitions, supporting them with skills, training, and opportunities.
The World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report 2023 estimates that 69 million new jobs will be created and 83 million positions will be eliminated in the next four years, with green energy, technology, and supply chain jobs driving these changes. The rapid rise of AI will especially impact the skills and job landscape, presenting both risks and opportunities and changing nearly a quarter of global jobs by 2027.
Already, demand for green talent is exceeding the supply. In 2022-2023, the portion of green talent increased by a median of 12.3% while the portion of job postings needing at least one green skill is twice as much with a median of 22.4%.
“It’s not business as usual. Looking at our world now, young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults. We have the climate crisis and the urgent need for green skills. And then we have generative AI that’s calling for collective action and thinking to see how we leverage it for young people."
Vicky Aridi, Board Member, Generation Unlimited
"As leaders, we need to make sure the voices of youth around the world are not only heard, but listened to and acted on. That’s why I’m proud of the work we are doing with Generation Unlimited and its partners, to help young people build the skills needed for a workplace that is being transformed by climate and AI."
Bob Moritz, Global Chair of PwC and
Co-Chair of the GLC
The GLC meeting explored a range of ways to prepare young people for the twin transitions. We looked at how corporations, governments, and young people can work together to harness AI for personalized learning. This entails tailoring education to the unique needs and learning styles of each individual. In the future job landscape which is set to be defined by AI technologies, there's an increasing emphasis on nurturing skills that are distinctly human, such as critical thinking, creativity, and effective communication. Generation Unlimited (GenU) and partners are actively looking at building AI-powered learning tools and resources designed to empower young people to learn at their own pace and in their preferred manner. This personalized approach fosters a deeper understanding and mastery of essential skills.
We are also continuing to provide access to high-quality digital and green skills training to young people globally. Through programmes like The Green Rising, Passport to Earning, imaGen Ventures, Global Volunteer Initiative, Yoma, and more, we are creating pathways to green careers for young people, connecting them with meaningful livelihood opportunities and equipping them with the knowledge and tools needed to actively engage in climate action.
"If we’re going to thrive in a climate-positive world, we’re going to need all of our young people to be part of that. And we’re going to need to equip them with the skills to do that. We believe that investing in the education of young people, especially girls, is not just a moral imperative, but it’s also a strategic imperative for development challenges."
Kate Hampton, CEO of the Children's Investment Fund Foundation
"The combined challenges of COVID, conflicts, and climate change have amplified the urgency of reaching young people and children worldwide. GenU has risen to this challenge. I've witnessed GenU's increased focus on digital and green skills, especially benefiting girls and young women—an absolute priority for UNICEF. It has been rewarding to see the public and private sectors coming together to create opportunities for millions of young people."
Catherine Russell, UNICEF Executive Director
With the diverse knowledge of young people, and the resources and expertise of UNICEF, Generation Unlimited, and our ecosystem of partners, effective solutions can be developed that enable young people to not just adapt but thrive in a world defined by the twin transitions. The insights garnered from our discussions will serve as a cornerstone for shaping partnerships, programmes, and resources toward this end.
In addition to advancing programme development and forging fresh partnership prospects, insights from the GLC will be used to develop "The AI Revolution: Transforming the Future of Learning and Earning", an executive report that will offer actionable recommendations to the public and private sectors, as well as to youth leaders. It will focus on enhancing the skills of young people for the AI era and harnessing AI's potential to enhance the accessibility and quality of learning-to-earning pathways, with particular attention to those facing the greatest disadvantages, including young women.
"One thing is for certain: we are not going to accomplish SDGs 1-16 if we don’t figure out SDG 17: Partnership. Solutions at scale require governments and private sector to work together, in lock step."
Kevin Frey, CEO of Generation Unlimited
"If we do not integrate education and climate agendas together, we will not be able to solve the problem."
Dr. Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of Dubai Cares
COP28 and Mobilization of The Green Rising
Discussions at the GLC demonstrated that there's a united drive to make the upcoming COP28 the most inclusive one to date. The combined focus of our partnership ecosystem is being placed on skill-building, opportunities, and most importantly, active youth involvement.
Through The Green Rising, we are rallying an impressive force of 10 million young people to take real, tangible climate action within their own communities by the year 2025. This endeavor is about fostering a just and equitable transition towards a greener future, ensuring that the most vulnerable among our youth have access to education, skills, and opportunities to become champions for our planet.
What's even more remarkable is that these incredible actions will be in the spotlight at COP28, during the RewirEd Summit 2023 happening on 8 December.
As we bring this accomplishment to the global stage, our aim is to foster an increased understanding of the role of young people in climate action, urging policymakers to adopt a more youth-centred perspective in climate policies, and encouraging private sector entities to lend their resources and expertise.
Hon. Ahmed Hussen, Minister of International Development of Canada, announced $7M investment for The Green Rising from a total of $20M support for Generation Unlimited.
Hon. Ababu Namwamba, Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and the Arts of Kenya, announced the Kenyan government's Green Army of 1 million youth with a target to plant 15 billion trees.