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Youth Adaptation Network: Connecting youth and climate change

  • Published at 08:05 pm October 22nd, 2021
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Youth Adaptation Network in South Asia will focus on youth from the global South and promote the need to adapt to human-induced climate change's adverse impacts

As per the Global Climate Risk Index (2020), Bangladesh ranks 7th, making its perpetuated vulnerability to climate change-induced occurrences a globally recognized narrative. Apart from being a crisis with a global and national impact, the effect of climate change on various segregated demographics, communities and groups remain contextually heterogeneous. Climate change poses the biggest threat to the most marginalized communities, for whom adaptation needs remain wide-ranging and include primarily financial, technological needs along with capacity building, livelihood, access to healthcare and education.

Given the intergenerational nature of climate change, many of us might not be around to experience the brunt of climate change, while today's young generation will be fighting wildfires. Understanding the need of the hour, youth worldwide are spearheading conversations, debates and movements as advocates for a climate - resilient present and future.  Globally youth movements have been the harbingers of social change, fuelling meaningful social, economic and political needs. The need for capacity building, empowerment and inclusion of the youth voices is unanimously recognized today, and their perspectives are taken into due consideration. 


GCA Global Youth Adaptation Network (YAN) 

Young people bring new ideas, and radical ambition and efforts to empower and educate youth on climate change mitigation and adaptation are seen by many as a crucial element in our fight against climate change. Therefore, the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), an international organization that works as a solutions broker to accelerate action and support adaptation solutions, aims to put youth in the driving seat. 

Global Center on Adaptation is a global expertise centre that supports nations, organizations, and businesses with knowledge and advice in climate adaptation. Founded in 2018, the Netherlands hosted the worldwide office of Rotterdam, with regional offices in Africa, South Asia and the Asia Pacific, and a knowledge and research hub based in Groningen. GCA aims to engage in innovative solutions to drive adaptation at scale through the evolving network of offices, high-level policy development, new research contributions, advocacy, communications, and work with our partners to deliver action on the ground. 

GCA has launched a global Youth Leadership Programme in partnership with a group of leading international companies, aiming to mobilize the next generation of adaptation leaders around the world, empowering youth to make a case for adaptation on the global stage and make their communities more climate-resilient through various initiatives centering around youth involvement in climate adaptation, training and capacity building, employability, along with women leadership. 

The Youth Adaptation Network (YAN) aims to provide a platform for its members to access adaptation knowledge and campaigning materials, offer opportunities to implement adaptation action on the ground and connect them with the leaders at the forefront of the global response to climate change. 

The Youth Adaptation Network will engage, empower, and amplify the role of young people in the adaptation plan. By creating an environment where young people are involved as equal stakeholders in climate adaptation actions and providing them with learning opportunities, the Youth Adaptation Network will translate knowledge into action by engaging and participating in the design and implementation of local and national adaptation plans. The Youth Adaptation Network works with partner groups, networks, and education institutions in more than 110 countries and is always seeks to connect with more. 


Youth Adaptation Network in South Asia and Bangladesh

In September 2020, the South Asian Regional Office of GCA was jointly launched by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Shortly afterwards, Saima Wajed Hossain, the thematic ambassador for Vulnerability of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) launched the Global Youth Adaptation Network (YAN), GCA's flagship initiative for, by and of the youth. 

As a transformative approach to building and promoting youth leadership, the Youth Adaptation Network (YAN) is set to commence with a series of national and regional consultations with youth across the world. 

Youth Adaptation Network in South Asia will focus on youth from the global South and promote the need to adapt to human-induced climate change's adverse impacts. As a platform advocating for creation, dissemination and translation of adaptation knowledge among the youth, the network will not only seek to connect youth from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, diaspora and communities within Bangladesh and across the South Asia region but also play the role of a bridge between them and policymakers, climate change experts, researchers, academicians and environmentalists.

In the long run, the Youth Adaptation Network seeks to support the needs of the young people and build their capacities through a three-pronged approach of knowledge creation, knowledge dissemination and knowledge-based action. 

By partnering with leading organizations leading the climate change arena locally, regionally and internationally, via country partners and focal points, YAN will mobilize the youths, community groups and like-minded stakeholders to actively engage within the Youth Adaptation Network.

In the current climatic context, the youth demographic will inevitably be on the receiving end of adverse climate change impacts in the upcoming decades. From Greta Thunberg's 'Fridays for Future' to the nameless, faceless young climate change advocates based in remote coastal villages of Bangladesh- young voices everywhere are striving to create platforms to disseminate their call for concerted and cohesive climate action, making us realize that every small step matters. 

Unfortunately, in Bangladesh, individual climate action remains scattered and unrecognized, more often due to the limited capacities of youth to mobilize as collective forces through strong, country-wide networks. Youth Adaptation Network (YAN), thus, will act as a platform seeking to address the prolonged absence of a regional platform bringing all climate activists under one umbrella. 

It is high time that we recognize the role of the youth in upscaling local adaptation efforts across diverse socio-economic settings. Our next generation of leaders must be prepared to tackle climate change. This cannot be realized until vital regional and national agendas recognize that the time for action is now. 


Nusrat Naushin is working in ICCCAD as a Research Officer of Global Center on Adaptation. Her research interest lies in urban climate change, youth leadership in climate and climate adaptation and resilience. She can be reached at [email protected]

Lamia Mohsin is currently working as a Junior National Consultant (Research for Global Center Adaptation) at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bangladesh Country Office. Her areas of interest include climate change resilience, public policy and governance. She can be reached at [email protected] 

Rupita Tahsin is working as a Junior National Consultant (Research for Global Centre Adaption) at UNDP. Her areas of interest include Urban Resilience, GIS and Spatial Analysis, Environmental Planning and Management. She can be reached at [email protected] 


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