SDSN Youth launches report to highlight the impacts of climate change on the peace and security of young people

New York, August 12 – A report which investigates the impacts of climate change and ecological crises on the peace and security of young people was released today by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Youth Initiative (SDSN Youth).

Launched on August 12 to coincide with UN International Youth Day, the report explores the relationship between climate change, security and the development prospects of youth populations, specifically in the Middle East and Africa. It reflects a growing global interest in the correlation between the threat of climate change and peace and security.

SDSN Youth has produced the report as an official thematic paper to support the Progress Study on Youth, Peace & Security mandated by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250, which will be submitted to the UN Security Council by the Secretary General Antoniou Guitteres at the end of 2017.

The report explains that climate change is a threat multiplier, which can exacerbate challenges such as food insecurity, water stress and forced migration.

The report also presents five in-depth chapters on the link between climate change, security challenges, and youth demographics in the regions under study. Each chapter provides an overview of the risks and vulnerabilities posed by climatic events to youth and explains how these events can impact the provision of basic services, leading to economic shocks, famine and water
shortages, and disruption to education and health among others.

The paper concludes with policy recommendations on how to better protect young people from the impacts of climate change, as well as engage youth on environmental issues and support peacebuilding.

All research for the report was undertaken based on an analysis of primary and secondary sources, including expert interviews and survey data, which was conducted in collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). All findings were then reviewed by a group of leading experts, who served as the Academic Advisory Committee (AAC).

Lama Ranjous, National Coordinator of Arab Youth National Movement in Syria - a member of the AAC - presented the main findings during a three-day forum on youth and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Dr. Wiebke Koenig, Head of Global Leadership Academy of GIZ, who also serves as a member of the report’s AAC, is supporting the research; saying that the general understanding has to change from perceiving youth as passive victims to acknowledging their potential to co-create a better future.

"Though the Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace & Security urges us to give youth a greater voice in decision making at all political levels, concrete mechanisms will have to be implemented to include the young generation in decision making processes and secure their meaningful participation and create ownership amongst them." Ms Koenig said.

Julian Payne, the lead author of the thematic paper, said “Youth populations are not only victims. They are also uniquely positioned to contribute to innovation and boost economic growth. Unlocking these benefits will require targeted policymaking that takes into consideration the potential risks posed by climate change and growing youth populations, while recognising the ways in which youth can uniquely shape positive outcomes. ”


For more information on the Impact of Climate Change on Youth, Peace and Security thematic paper 2017, please visit the report page on our website. 

For more information on The Youth, Peace & Security team of SDSN Youth and The Academic Advisory Committee, please our about page.

For media inquiries and interview requests, please contact:
Julian Payne (

In December 2015, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted the ground-breaking and historic Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace & Security. UNSCR 2250 is a thematic resolution dealing specifically with the topic of youth (defined as ages 18-29) from an international peace and security perspective.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was launched at UN Headquarters in September 2015 and adopted by 193 member countries of the UN. The SDGs, which are relevant to all countries, aim to achieve social inclusion, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability.

SDSN was launched by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, in 2012 to mobilize global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical problem solving for sustainable development, including the design and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDSN Youth is the youth initiative of UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, focused on empowering youth globally to create sustainable development solutions. SDSN Youth educates young people about the challenges of sustainable development and creates opportunities for them to use their creativity and knowledge to pioneer innovative solutions for the SDGs.