Terms of Reference
Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. Higher temperatures, extreme weather events such as droughts and flash floods, and reduced rainfalls are already having observable effects in the Arab region. These effects are likely to get worse in the future due to fragile ecosystems and socioeconomic infrastructures prevailing in the region, with sectors such as agriculture and food production, human health, and tourism being among the most vulnerable. The potential for job creation for young people in these sectors and others will depend in some aspects on the future climate. Should climate change impacts intensify in the future, young persons in the region under 30 years old – accounting for almost 60% of the current population – will suffer significantly in terms of well-being and livelihoods.
Arab countries are developing policies and taking action to address climate change, influenced in part by the advocacy of civil society organizations in the region, many of which are youth-led. Arab youth activists, researchers and entrepreneurs are playing an important role in designing and driving innovative bottom-up solutions to reduce climate change impacts, raising awareness and building resilience in their communities. The active engagement of Arab youth in climate action and their effective participation in climate decision-making depend on their ability to access, generate and disseminate relevant climate knowledge.
Knowledge is at the heart of youth-led climate action and an important success factor. Indeed, youth source scientific knowledge and other types of information to build advocacy narratives and design interventions that address climate change. Youth also generate climate-related knowledge in the form of academic and non-academic material. Finally, youth transmit knowledge as part of awareness raising campaigns and other actions using a multitude of communication means, notably digital and social media platforms .
In this context, the following key questions deserve further attention:
In order to get initial youth feedback on the subject, UNESCO Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States held a preliminary e-Consultation with Arab Youth Climate Actors on Knowledge Needs on 22 June 2020, the report of which can be found here (available in Arabic only). The consultation confirmed the need to dig deeper into the knowledge dimension of youth climate action in the region.
- Where do young Arab climate actors source knowledge? What challenges do they face accessing knowledge? What knowledge gaps do they face?
- What knowledge do young Arab climate actors generate? What are the focus areas? How collaborative and multi-disciplinary are the knowledge generation processes?
- What modes of knowledge dissemination do young Arab climate actors favour? What use are they making of the digital and non-digital spaces? How successful are they in reaching policymakers and the general public?
II. Purpose and scope of the assignment
UNESCO Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States (Cairo Office) intends to issue a Report on Knowledge for Youth-Led Climate Action in the Arab Region. The Report is expected to:
II.2. Geographic scope
The Report is expected to cover youth climate action at the regional and sub-regional levels (e.g. Mashreq, Maghreb, GCC…). In addition, the Report is expected to cover national-level youth climate action in a minimum of three (3) selected Arab countries as case studies, to be agreed between the Consultant and UNESCO, and preferably covering the different Arab sub-regions.
- Draw a profile of young Arab climate actors with focus on the knowledge dimension, by:
- providing a critical assessment and in-depth understanding of the knowledge inputs and outputs of Arab youth climate action;
- mapping youth contributions to climate knowledge in the Arab region, including knowledge generation in academic and non-academic settings;
- Provide summary findings and concrete recommendations for strengthening the knowledge dimension of youth-led climate action in the Arab region for better impact.
II.3. Definition of key terms
For the purpose of this report, youth climate actors include all young persons 15-30 years of age who are involved, individually and/or through their education institutions, youth networks or social enterprises, in actions addressing climate change in the Arab region.
“Knowledge” is understood in its wide definition to include scientific knowledge (in the natural and social sciences) in addition to any other type of information supporting climate action such as policies, plans, information about funding and training opportunities, etc.
II.4. Target readers
The readership for this report includes young Arab climate actors, in addition to government and non-government development and knowledge partners concerned with climate action.
II.5. Expected product
The Report is expected to be originally produced in either Arabic or English, to be subsequently translated into the other language by UNESCO (outside this assignment). The Report is estimated to be around 60 pages in length, excluding annexes, and to follow the UNESCO publications guidelines.