Youth Leadership

The mission of GCA’s Youth Leadership & Education Program is to mobilize the next generation of adaptation leaders around the world, empowering young people to make the case for adaptation on the global stage and make their communities more climate resilient through action areas like the:

Contact Info

For more information on this program, or to get involved, please contact:

Adriana Valenzuela

Youth Leadership Program Lead

Goal for 2025

“Empower, Connect, Educate, Innovate, Advocate, Participate”

The Youth Leadership & Education Program aims to make young people central to driving the adaptation agenda and implementation worldwide. The program’s mission is to mobilize the next generation of adaptation leaders around the world by providing capacity-building for young people and creating adaptation jobs to make their communities more climate resilient. The action areas are the Building the Youth Adaptation Movement, Promoting Youth Participation in Decision-Making, Delivering Adaptation Education and Capacity-Building, and Cultivating the Leadership of Young Women.

2023 Regional Youth Adaptation Forums

Moving across six regions of the world, the regional Youth Adaptation Forums will rally young people around the adaptation agenda ahead of the annual global Youth Dialogue on Adaptation, the landmark convening for the youth adaptation movement leading into COP28. The 2023 regional Youth Adaptation Forums build on GCA’s flagship consultation process that engaged over 2,300 young people from around the world in 2022 and built momentum for the ‘African COP’.

CEO’s Youth Advisory Panel

The Youth Adaptation Network (YAN) is piloting a flagship Youth Advisory Panel to provide strategic advice to the CEO of GCA, Prof. Dr. Patrick Verkooijen. The Panel is a twelve member gender-and geographically-balanced group, which provides strategic advice on youth engagement to drive the adaptation agenda.

Capacity-Building Project and Toolkit on Leadership & Adaptation

The Global Center on Adaptation and the CARE Climate Justice Center have partnered with 40 youth organizations across Africa to develop a capacity-building project on youth leadership on climate change adaptation. The capacity-building project will train young people across Africa to have their say in adaptation policies, decisions and action.

Youth Dialogue on Adaptation Action

Ahead of the landmark ‘African COP’ at Sharm El-Sheikh, GCA and the CEO’s Youth Advisory Panel convened the Youth Dialogue on Adaptation Action: Delivering on the Glasgow Climate Pact. The conference brought together young people and global leaders to accelerate adaptation action and ensure youth’s perspectives and solutions are promoted to deliver on the Glasgow Climate Pact.

Youth Adaptation Network

Goal for 2025

To provide young people with a platform to access adaptation knowledge and campaigning materials while connecting them with leaders and businesses driving the global response to climate change.


The Youth Adaptation Network engages, empowers and amplifies the role of young people in the adaptation agenda. By creating an environment where young people are engaged as equal stakeholders in climate adaptation actions and providing them with learning opportunities, the Youth Adaptation Network translates knowledge into action by engaging and participating in the design and implementation of local and national adaptation plans.

Are you below 35 years? Sign up to become a YAN member and benefit from exclusive adaptation knowledge resources and professional opportunities. Sign up here or email for further information.

Key partners:

The Youth Adaptation Network is working with partner groups, networks and education institutions in more than 110 countries and always seeking to connect with more.

Youth Adaptation Dialogues

From June to December 2021, the GCA’s Youth Adaptation Network hosted monthly Youth Adaptation Dialogues to provide a platform for youth to lead the way in adaptation action.

The Dialogues focused on topics such as the role of education for locally-led action, climate resilient cities, and gender and climate change. The intergenerational dialogues brought together various stakeholders, including youth activists and experts.

Adaptation Education and Jobs Training

Goal for 2025

To train one million young people in Africa for jobs related to adaptation and climate resilience.

Key partners


GCA will work with the African Development Bank to train one million young people across Africa for jobs related to adaptation and climate resilience by 2025. As part of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, GCA will identify new job streams in adaptation, and partner with technical and vocational training institutions, non-profit organizations and universities to develop research and training related to jobs on adaptation and climate resilience. GCA also will work with UN agencies, governments and other development partners globally to mainstream climate adaptation and resilience into the education policies by integrating them into curricula at all levels of formal education. GCA’s scientists, experts and practitioners are also producing training materials, virtual courses and toolkits, to develop the capacities of young people to lead adaptation solutions.

Massive Open Online Course on Climate Adaptation Governance

The University of Groningen/Campus Fryslân, in cooperation with the Global Center on Adaptation, have developed an online course in Climate Adaptation Governance.

Youth Adaptation Solutions Challenge

Goal for 2025

To train youth for jobs related to adaptation and climate resilience to drive large scale green growth and innovative youth-led adaptation solutions.

Key partners:


The Youth Adaptation Solutions Challenge is a competition and awards program for young people to submit innovative solutions on climate adaptation and resilience through the creation of youth led-green and climate-resilient businesses. The participants in the annual Youth Adaptation Solutions Challenge are between the ages of 18 and 35 and have an interest in climate change adaptation. Winners will receive seed funding, tailored training, coaching and networking opportunities to develop business plans on climate adaptation. The Youth Adaptation Incubator Fund will provide seed funding for the Youth Adaptation Solutions Challenge winners to implement their climate adaptation projects.

Young Women Leadership on Adaptation

Goal for 2025

The Online Executive Training – Young Women Leadership on Climate Adaptation is a virtual educational and capacity-building program that responds to the climate crisis by elevating the leadership of young African women. The 20-week long comprehensive training program is tailored to young African women in influential roles leading and advocating for sustainable solutions, and building resilience to the changing climate, in Ethiopia, Malawi, Namibia, Senegal, Cameroon, and Morocco.

Key partners:

Technical and Whitepapers

Youth Engagement with the Global Goal on Adaptation

Following worldwide youth consultations conducted by the Global Center on Adaptation, this report presents young people’s views on the Global Goal on Adaptation.

12 November 2022

Aoife Fleming, Mike Girling, Adriana Valenzuela, David Sharrock

Case Studies on Adaptation and Climate Resilience in Schools and Educational Settings

This publication documents 15 innovative ideas and actions adopted and implemented by educational institutes in Africa, and across the globe. The purpose of this knowledge product is to provide case study examples on adaptation and climate resilience in schools, to offers insights to schools based in Africa, and to amplify real life climate adaptation actions, designed and implemented in different countries across the world.

4 May 2022

Global Center on Adaptation, Centre for Environment Education, Foundation for Environmental Education

Young People and Drivers and Barriers to Climate Adaptation Action

Young people are going to bear the brunt of climate change, so we must involve them—now—as we draw up solutions.

10 August 2021

Global Center on Adaptation, Centre for Environment Education, Kai Analytics, Foundation for Environmental Education

Harnessing the power of youth in National Adaptation Plans

29 March 2023

NAP Expo 2023, Santiago de Chile

Pacific Youth Adaptation Forum

22 March 2023


Learning Laboratory: The Importance of Young Women Leadership for Adaptation Action 

8 March 2023


Driving Climate Action: The Central Role of Youth and Universities

11 December 2022

Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Youth Driving Ambition for Climate Adaptation through transformative innovations and leadership

12 November 2022

Youth Pavilion, Sharm El-Sheikh

Youth4Adaptation: Young People Shaping the Global Goal on Adaptation

12 November 2022

GCA Pavilion, Sharm El-Sheikh

Consultation on the African Youth Climate Council

11 November 2022

Continental Plaza Beach Resort , Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

Youth Toolkit & Capacity-Building Presentation

10 November 2022

Continental Plaza Beach Resort, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

2022 YouthADAPT Solutions Challenge Awards Ceremony

10 November 2022

Africa Pavilion at COP27, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

Latin American & Caribbean Youth Adaptation Forum

12 August 2022


North American Youth Adaptation Forum

15 July 2022

777 United Nations Plaza, 2nd floor, New York, USA

European Youth Adaptation Forum

11 June 2022


Asian Youth Adaptation Forum

31 May 2022


Webinar on Adaptation and Climate Resilience in Schools and Educational Settings

4 May 2022


Pacific Youth Adaptation Forum

28 April 2022


African Youth Adaptation Forum

22 March 2022

Dakar-Diamniadio, Senegal

Youth Adaptation Dialogue: Climate Resilient Cities

20 October 2021


Adaptation Futures 2020 Capacity Building Week: Masterclass on State & Trends in Adaptation: Governance & Young People

1 October 2021


Youth Adaptation Dialogue: Gender and Climate Change Adaptation

22 September 2021


African Youth Adaptation Solutions Challenge (YouthADAPT) Information Session

20 September 2021


Contact Information

For more information on this program, or to get involved, please contact:

Adriana Valenzuela

Youth Leadership Program Lead

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