Strengthening African Youth Voices on Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change
01 Sep 2023, 16:30pm
International Organization for Migration
Climate change poses a threat to human security, putting at risk lives, health and well-being, livelihoods and jobs, safety and security and cultures of persons and various groups, particularly children, youth, women, indigenous communities, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations in the Global South.
Environmental change and natural hazards have always been major drivers of migration, and climate change predictions indicate that even more people are expected to be on the move as slow onset processes and sudden onset climatic events such as floods, landslides, and drought degrade ecosystems, reduce crop yields, destroy habitable areas, livelihoods, jobs, infrastructure and job opportunities.
Human mobility in the context of climate change is already a reality in the African continent. However, the nexus between migration, environment and climate change is highly complex. There is a need to strengthen the knowledge and evidence base of the links between the adverse effects of climate change and human mobility, as well as effective policy implementation.
Nonetheless, immediate action is required to support at-risk communities, to prevent involuntary migration, and enable orderly migration for those who need to move, and protect individuals who are already on the move. Well-managed migration in the context of climate change and environmental degradation can contribute to both sustainable development and climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.
Migration is a multicausal and multidimensional phenomenon. Evidence shows how climate change can have different implications for particular social groups. Environmental and climate factors are both drivers and pull factors, often acting in conjunction with economic, social, political and demographic aspects. Women, men, girls, and boys experience those impacts differently, with unique vulnerabilities and opportunities. Women and young people are often particularly exposed. Women and young people are often disadvantaged in terms of land ownership, having a sustainable income, and accessing opportunities that could increase their resilience to climate change.
The demographic most heavily impacted by climate change consists predominantly of young individuals. Despite the fact that a significant 70% of Africa's population falls under the youth category, encompassing those under 35, there exists limited recognition and prioritization of the youth's pivotal role in addressing both climate action and the intricate relationship between human mobility and climate change.
In a changing climate, where mobility in relation to climate change drivers is becoming a norm for the youth, the perspectives and voices of youth must be raised, in recognition of the important role that youth can, and must play in influencing the perspectives, narratives, and priorities of policy makers on this topic.
The involvement of young people in policy formulation and decision-making processes holds immense significance in countering these challenges. However, the current level of engagement often remains superficial, necessitating a shift towards more meaningful and substantial participation. Engaging youth in understanding the relationship between climate change and human mobility is essential for shaping inclusive and effective responses.
Youth are powerful agents of change. Youth are at the forefront of the global climate movement, already advocating for urgent action and sustainable solutions. Young people also play a vital role in driving innovation for sustainable solutions for adaptation and resilience building.
In 2022, many youth led declarations were established with requirements and commitments to policy-makers:
- Kampala Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change – Youth Key messages
- ACMI Youth Declaration
- COP27 Youth statement
This session takes stock of successful contributions of youth to address challenges and opportunities of human mobility in the context of a changing climate that could be replicated, addressing the specific vulnerabilities of women, and youth.
It presents youth key messages created in a youth forum Strengthening Africa Youth Voices on Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change https://environmentalmigration.iom.int/events/strengthening-africa-youth-voices-human-mobility-context-climate-change Held in Nairobi 16-17 August 2023.
It also critically discusses meaningful youth engagement in policy-making processes. Furthermore, examines the gender-specific implications of climate-induced human (im)mobility
• Improve knowledge and understanding of, and engagement in climate change induced migration.
• Understand the factors that influence gender-based vulnerabilities and opportunities in the context of human (im)climate mobility and climate change
• To explore the unique experiences and perspectives of youth regarding human mobility in the context of climate change
• Take stock of successful contributions of youth to address challenges and opportunities of human mobility in the context of a changing climate that could be replicated, addressing the specific vulnerabilities of women, and youth, as well as considering effort to enhancing green economy development.
• Presents and reaffirms Youth Key Messages and declarations – needs, evidence and commitments - on human mobility in the context of climate change and provides good practices from the meaningful and inter-generational engagement in different policy processes