We launched the Youth Climate Dialogues in 2015, in the run-up to COP21. Since then, we have facilitated 27 dialogues in 26 countries.
The dialogues have brought together students from countries as diverse as Switzerland and Malawi, Sweden and Mongolia, Bolivia and France, and Zambia and China. Through the dialogues, young people have been able to hear directly from other young people, increasing their understanding of each other’s perspectives and realities.
In preparation for the dialogues, students undertake modules from the UN CC:Learn introductory e-course on climate change. They also prepare a range of audio-visual material, such as photos, videos and statements, which they share with their peers to explain their views and perspectives.
We have learned four key lessons from our experience convening the Youth Climate Dialogues:
- They provide a space for young people to voice their own views, perspectives and experiences on climate change, based on what happens in their communities. This enriches and expands the ‘one model-one science’ climate science, by exploring how young people in different parts of the world are affected by climate change.
- The dialogues offer a platform for North-South exchange, challenging established North-South narratives that portray the South as the recipient of Northern or western knowledge and support.
- The dialogues’ peer-to-peer format creates a space for interaction on an equal footing. Instead of having the usual ‘top-down’ transmission of information, this format helps break down walls and fosters better interactions. Despite cultural differences and vast distances between them, participants are able to learn from each other.
- Taking part allows students to reflect more deeply on the link between climate learning and climate action. Past participants have said that they felt motivated to change their habits following a dialogue. Many have also become agents of influence and change in their families and among their friends.
If you or a student or teacher interested in running a dialogue, contact us here.
Curious about how dialogues are run? View a playlist of videos made by Youth Climate Dialogue participants.
You can also read short summaries of past dialogues.