Go to content

Youth inclusion methodologies  

The Arctic Youth Network (AYN) engages youth from across the Arctic and beyond to connect and collaborate on Arctic issues. AYN aims to democratize access to opportunities, create a platform to amplify youth voices, and empower a community of young change-makers in the North. Engaging and including youth perspectives is important to strengthen human capacity for the future. The following methodologies can serve as inspiration for future orientations on youth inclusion in decision-making concerning climate change and permafrost degradation. Active participation can be enhanced by involving youth in the design, implementation, monitoring, reporting, and evaluation of instruments, strategies, and programs related to permafrost degradation.
A recent example of active youth engagement in the Arctic context is the UNLEASH Innovation Lab in Nuuk, Greenland. The week-long conference gathered young people from around the world to work on scalable solutions for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of the three topics was connected to climate (SDG13), with the other two focusing on health (SDG3) and education (SDG4). The UNLEASH methodology follows a five-step process (Figure 1), beginning with framing the problem. Afterward, brainstorming sessions take place to select the best ideas for solving the problem. The third and fourth steps involve prototyping simple versions to understand how they would work in real life and then testing the solutions with users to learn and improve. The fifth and final step is implementation, which includes planning and launching the proposed solutions.
p.PNG
Figure 1: Innovation process: https://unleash.org/what-we-do/
The UNLEASH Innovation Lab in Nuuk demonstrated that by encouraging youth to participate in co-creation initiatives, it can create a positive impact on a personal level and for the overall development of societies and economies. In this event, 25 percent of the participants originated from or were based in various locations across Greenland, including Ilulissat, Maniitsoq, Narsarsuaq, Nuuk, Paamiut, Qaanaaq, Qaqortoq, Sisimiut, Tasiilaq, and Upernavik. Given the large distances between cities and settlements in Greenland, there was a strong focus on recruitment from all five municipalities in the selection process. This was done to mitigate the risk of the youth capacity-building project being centered only around the main cities (UNLEASH, 2022: 12).
Engaged young people can provide the public and private sectors with innovative ideas that can stimulate the development of new industries, collaboration platforms, and policy agreements. Youth participation can be encouraged through innovation labs and other co-creative initiatives, such as involving young people in chairing board activities, strengthening youth associations, ensuring mentorship and opportunities for growth and development as part of the involvement process. These initiatives are an essential element in strengthening a culture of participation[1]
Youth inclusion in the public sector can be illustrated with examples from countries like Norway (Nordland region)[2] and Iceland (Arborg municipality)[3], where youth committees are actively engaged in providing input on local decisions related to spatial plans and regulations including environmental matters. In Nordland, the Youth Parliament convenes annually, extending invitations to two representatives from municipal youth councils to participate in debates and negotiations concerning youth policy strategies. Additionally, they elect 9 members to the Nordland Youth Council.
In the context of permafrost, the international Permafrost Association (IPA) made efforts to reach out and include the younger generation. One initiative has been the popular Frozen Ground Cartoon (see figure 2) [4] which makes understanding permafrost and thaw easily accessible to people of all age groups. The IPA also has a dedicated Standing Committee on Outreach and Education that seeks to develop educational products for non-specialist audiences, including youth, teachers, journalists, and policymakers[5].  

Frozen cartoon, figure 2.jpg
Figure 2: Illustration of active layer in permafrost