Giving Compass' Take:

· Although countries are submitting revised Nationally Determined Contributions, The Brookings Institution explains that they are ignoring the rights of youths to participate in climate policymaking.

· How can countries involve youths in climate policymaking? Why is it important to listen to these voices?

· Check out this article about girls' education as a climate strategy

In Madrid this week, the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) meets to finalize key decisions of the Paris Agreement before implementation next year. With countries set to submit revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs—or, a country’s plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement) in 2020, timing couldn’t be more opportune to bring to light a critical gap in climate strategies: NDCs are ignoring girls and overlooking the rights of children and youth, including their right to meaningfully participate in climate policymaking that affects them.

This is particularly important as next year the Doha Work Programme on Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) is up for review. This Work Programme oversees efforts pertaining to education and training, both of which are positioned in the Paris Agreement and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as key to promoting the long-term change in lifestyle, mindsets, knowledge, and behaviors needed to realize a net-zero, climate-resilient future. However, national climate strategies like NDCs are doing little by way of laying out the groundwork for such efforts to translate into practice.

Our new report analyzed 160 NDCs and found that only three countries (Malawi, Venezuela, and Zambia) make explicit reference to girls, only one country (Zambia) mentions girls’ education, and no country formally recognizes the role that an investment in girls’ education could make in its climate strategy.

This is alarming, as research has illustrated how the achievement of universal girls’ education and girls’ rights can be a powerful force against further environmental damage and climate change. For starters, not only can a quality education help enhance girls’ “green skills” to better adapt to climate change, it can also prepare girls to participate and lead in traditionally male-dominated green sector jobs.

The absence of girls, however, is only part of the policy gap within current NDCs. Our study found that more than half of NDCs failed to mention children, youth, or future generations. Of the 42 percent that did reference children, the majority positioned children as a vulnerable group. Only seven NDCs actually positioned children as stakeholders to be included in climate decisionmaking and action. This suggests that in addition to the general insufficient ambition of the NDCs to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees and therefore protect children’s substantive rights, current pledges are also overlooking children’s “access” and rights to information, education, and participation.

Read the full article about climate strategies by Christina Kwauk, Jessica Cooke, Elisa Hara, and Joni Pegram at The Brookings Institution.