Youth Representation in Global Politics: Climate, Migration and Health Governance Compared  

Young people´s concerns in critical transboundary issues such as climate, health and migration have gained significant attention in recent years. In practice, however, the ways in which youth are given voice in global governance remains contested.

One-third of the world’s population is today under the age of 18. As their future will be impacted by on-going geopolitical changes, their voices in deliberations on critical transboundary issues, such as climate, health and migration, are increasingly called for. In the UN system children and youth have been identified as one of the “major groups” whose participation is critical to create effective, accountable and sustainable global institutions. In practice, however, the involvement of children and youth in matters of global governance remains contested.

In this project we compare how, and by whom, young people are represented in contemporary global governance institutions and what the effects of such representations are in three salient domains; climate, migration and health. The project combines text analysis of key international policy documents, negotiation texts, policy briefs and position papers with participant observations and qualitative interviews across the three domains. While transformations of global institutions and the increasing agency of non-state actors are established themes in International Relations (IR), by focusing on children and youth as political agents, this project adds to an emerging research program on youth, IR and governance.

The project builds upon a strong interdisciplinary research team with ample expertise from the global governance of climate, migration and health, as well as from IR and children and youth studies.

The project is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond 2020-2022.

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