Nurturing a greener tomorrow: reflections on the International Youth Day webinar on green skills for youth in the Arab States

August 17, 2023
Photo: UNDP Lebanon

In a world where environmental challenges are ever more pressing, the role of youth in shaping a sustainable and a greener future has never been more crucial. On the occasion of International Youth Day, a virtual stage was illuminating with insights, ideas, and inspiration as more than 300 youth from the Arab States came together to discuss the pivotal topic of green skills for youth.

The virtual arena buzzed with anticipation, as youth and experts from across the Arab States gathered to explore the intersection of green skills, climate action and sustainable development. Hosted by UNDP, the webinar aimed to harness the potential of youth in catalyzing positive change and propelling the region towards a more eco-conscious sustainable trajectory.

Diverse panel of experts, youth leaders, and sustainability advocates shared insights, experiences, and practical knowledge about the significance of green skills among youth in the region. Discussions revolved around the drivers and trends of climate change and its implications for the labour market of the region. The webinar also discussed the role of youth in a green socioeconomic transition and the bottlenecks that challenge the transition.

The panelists emphasized the importance of acquiring green skills for a sustainable future, and highlighted success stories of youth-led green initiatives in the region, showcasing how innovation, passion, and collaboration can translate into tangible impacts on their communities and beyond.

The webinar was not just an event; it was a call to action. The discussions, insights, and connections forged have laid the foundation for valuable contributions in upcoming high-level dialogues including the Middle East and North Africa Climate Week, and COP28, where UNDP will carry three priorities from this discussion to policy-makers and stakeholders:

1. Diversity of Green Skills: Green skills encompass technical, cognitive, and social abilities. While they benefit everyone, they hold particular significance for youth due to the potential they offer, including access to green jobs. These skills are essential for reimagining economic models within planetary limits and constructing technological and social systems for a green transition in the Arab States.

2. Access and Development Challenges: A primary challenge faced by youth is the accessibility and development of green skills. Governments play a pivotal role by modernizing and investing in education systems, infusing environmental awareness across curricula, and fostering collaboration among various stakeholders. Collaborative efforts involving governments, the private sector, and educational institutions are essential to

proactively adapt education and training curricula in response to fluctuations in green sectors and employment needs.

3. Green Economy's Workforce Impact: The shift towards green economies also affects the employment landscape. When effectively managed, this transition can generate significant opportunities for decent jobs, especially for young people. Renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, urban planning, and green infrastructure are potential sectors ripe with employment prospects in the realm of a green transition.

The International Youth Day webinar reinforced the idea that through education, collaboration, and unwavering determination, youth can steer their communities towards sustainability. Equipped with knowledge, passion, and a commitment to environmental stewardship, these young leaders are poised to create a future that is not only green, but also filled with opportunities.

As we bid goodbye to this year’s celebration of International Youth Day, the echoes of its discussions continue to reverberate – a powerful reminder that the youth of today are the architects of tomorrow's sustainable and green world.