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

Banners at a demonstration

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.

Media Show/Hide content

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Who listens to children when schools are closed and warnings of a "lost generation" are heard? Hear children around the world who want to make their voices heard and listen to Greta Thunberg on how children can set the agenda. Jonathan Josefsson participates in Swedish Radio "The children's voice in times of crisis".

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Podcast

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In the podcast, Jonathan Josefsson talks about children and young people – and about the different strategies they acquire to influence and take power over their lives, and shake up the adult world. On climate activism, migration, education, gang crime and the fight for a voting age of 16 years. And about the concept of the child's best interests, where the clash between rhetoric and practice is often abysmal.

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