The challenges faced by youth in cities, especially in the Global South, are becoming more urgent. However, there isn't much direct communication with governments about these issues. Often, young people aren't seen as a distinct group with an important role in shaping the future. But when equipped with the necessary knowledge and opportunities, they can emerge as a powerful force for driving climate action. The new publication Youth and Climate Action in Informal Settlements: The Hidden Champions of Urban Change highlights best practices based on the work of Cities Alliance with young people.
Climate change will profoundly impact all aspects of our economies and societies, and affect people in cities differently.
Young people, especially girls, will feel the effects of environmental, economic, and social problems the most. This burden will be especially pronounced in crowded informal settlements, where multiple ecological, economic, and settlement-related risks converge.
The ensuing climate effects will jeopardize the prospects of the younger generation in the decades to come, potentially erasing any strides made in progress.
In this context, incremental climate adaptation solutions that harness the complementary strengths of local governments and communities have a critical role to play in building urban resilience. These solutions have the potential to address the root causes of vulnerability, and bolster household and community resilience, while simultaneously supporting city-wide planning and action.
To be truly inclusive and rectify existing inequalities, it is imperative that such solutions adopt gender-transformative approaches and actively involve youth and minority groups.
Young people are vital in the battle against poverty and the promotion of sustainable development. As the main demographic in the urbanisation process, urban youth need to be supported and be given space to fully perform their social, economic and political roles.
Drawing on climate action initiatives led by Cities Alliance, this publication underscores the opportunities and benefits of investing in youth engagement, including leadership, to advance climate action in informal settlements. It is a call to action, highlighting the vital role youth and climate action play in shaping our urban future.