January 25, 2024

Youth Together for Arctic Futures

The EYP is part of a new project to empower Arctic youth, to influence policies that affect them, and to help foster exchanges between European and Arctic youth.

Youth around the world will live with the consequences of climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation. The Arctic, as a region, and Europe, as a continent, are warming several times faster than the global average. The impacts of climate change are already felt all cross the Arctic and Europe.

Current and future decisions by policymakers at all levels shape the severity of these consequences, and the EU is committed to ensure that future generations have a liveable and thriving planet. Young people want to have greater agency to act and influence the policies that affect them. For this they need the skills, opportunities, and connections to advocate for good climate and environmental policies.

In January 2024, a group of Arctic and European partner organisations launched the project Youth Together for Arctic Futures to empower Arctic and European youth to influence policy for a peaceful, sustainable and prosperous Arctic future. The 4-year project aims to support Arctic and European youth with knowledge, skills and opportunities to work towards implementing good climate and nature policies for the Arctic. Special attention will be given to the inclusion of underrepresented groups in the Arctic, including women, Indigenous Peoples and social or other minorities.

This project not only seeks to address the disproportionate impact of climate change on Arctic youth but also recognizes the importance of involving European youth in the dialogue. By fostering collaboration and mutual learning between Arctic and European youth, the project aims to bridge gaps, exchange ideas, and collectively find solutions to common challenges. It is a unique opportunity for European youth to gain insights into the specific issues facing the Arctic, fostering a sense of shared responsibility and understanding.

”We are excited to work together with Arctic and European youth and with our partner organisations. ‘Together’ is a key word for the project – only together can we shape policies that will truly safeguard Arctic ecosystems and livelihoods”, says Vicki Lee Wallgren, Director of the WWF Global Arctic Programme.

A key part of the project is the establishment of an EU-Arctic Youth Dialogue, that will become a part of the EU’s flagship events on the Arctic, namely the EU Arctic Forum and the Indigenous Peoples’ Dialogue. To ensure that the project reflects the needs and perspectives of youth, a Youth Board of Arctic and European youth will steer its direction.

“This initiative gives Arctic youth a unique opportunity to put their issues on the political agenda. Through the new Arctic Youth Dialogue, we are creating a platform for Arctic-specific concerns, particularly those of Indigenous Peoples, to be openly discussed with their European peers. We’ve noticed a growing interest in Arctic issues among European youth, and this project provides an invaluable space for exchanging ideas about EU policies affecting the Arctic.”Anja Márjá Nystø Keskitalo, Indigenous Coordinator, Youth Together for Arctic Futures .

In addition to the EU-Arctic Youth Dialogue, the project will also produce a State of the Arctic Youth Report, allowing youth to formulate policy demands and hold policy makers accountable. On top of this, there will be a range of activities like a mentorship programme for young people, crash courses on EU and Arctic policy-making, youth-led media and arts productions, and more.

“This project is an opportunity for European youth to connect with young people from one of the outermost regions of Europe. I am looking forward to see how Arctic youth and European youth can stand together for a sustainable, resilient, and peaceful Arctic and European future,” says Anya Suprunenko, Executive Director of the European Youth Parliament.

The project is led by the WWF Global Arctic Programme, in cooperation with organisations that bring decades of experience in youth empowerment, policy shaping, and research and conservation of Arctic ecosystems and livelihoods: Arctic Youth Network, European Youth Parliament, Saami Council, Arctic Mayors’ Forum, Tromsø commune, University of Tromsø, and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists. The project is supported by the Norwegian Arctic Council chairship, WWF Greenland, and Arctic Frontiers as associates. Youth Together for Arctic Futures is funded by the European Union.

This publication was funded by the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the the European Youth Parliament and partners and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.