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Engage Youth to build resilient cities to climate change through Education, Innovation, Governance and Climate Justice.



Our objective is to engage Youth in building Cities Resilient to Climate Change, aligning the different agendas Mexico has adopted for the benefit of its citizens, and helping local authorities achieve their committed goals. 

We welcome 2030 Agenda, particularly SDG 11 "Ensure that cities and human settlements are inclusive, secure, resilient and sustainable" and SDG 13 "Take urgent action to combat climate change and its effects"; as well as the adoption of the Addis Ababa Agenda for Action at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development; and the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The detonator for our project is the New Urban Agenda approved in October last year in the City of Quito, Ecuador, and the binding nature of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), highlighting the Paris Agreement. 

Local governments and/ cities are key actors to implement these international agendas . Close to their citizenship, they know the challenges and opportunities of their demarcations, and . their perspectives and experiences can help them  prioritize, implement, and follow up on their commitments. Mexico City is particularly interested to develop instruments of proper governance towards the New Urban Agenda and the 2030 Agenda., linking rules, regulations, urban design and municipal finance. However, a weak fiscal base results in lack of resources to carry out their commitments; and poor institutional development reflects in lack of knowledge, infrastructure and capacity to instrument creative logistics to engage social resources vital to achieve these SDGs.

Youth is a vital stakeholder whose time has come to build resilient cities. We propose to record first how much Youth know about Climate Change and City Resilience, and from there on, educate and develop governance instruments that can succesfully engage their participation, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Image source: UNEP

Is this proposal for a practice or a project?


What actions do you propose?

1. Establish a mechanism to promote the development and / or strengthening of capacities for Youth living and transiting in Mexico City to understand what is contained in the 2030 Agenda, the New Urban Agenda, the United Nations Convention on Climate Change and the content in the Paris Agreement, regarding the creation of Resilient Cities to Climate Change. This will be possible through a capacity building workshops and manuals for the youth participating in the first phase of the project, who will come from the three-main public Mexico’s City universities: This universities are: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México – Ciudad Universitaria (UNAM), Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) and Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM).

2. Generate participatory, collaborative, collective and plural spaces of Youth residing and traveling in Mexico City with the purpose of identify environmental and climate issues for a resilient city to Climate Change. For the creation of these spaces  there will be an open call for the formation of multidisciplinary committees in these universities.   

3. Youth-to-Youth Capacity Development. The workshops will promote that the young people trained can train other young people in the different faculties of these universities as well as to apply the survey to identify the top environmental issues related to climate.

4. Emphasize the fundamental and strategic role of youths in implementing, monitoring and evaluating the New Urban Agenda, Agenda 2030, UNFCCC and the commitments of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

5. Build collaborative solutions with ICT tools; in the case a ClimaHack (DataLab) to develop, crowdsource, and visualize data accessible to all inhabitants through a public Dashboard to show particular problems of each town hall of Mexico City (there are 16), and to present engaged stakeholders, proposed solutions, and opportunities for synergy and cooperation. We see a high potential in these three universities since the young students live, transit and come from each town hall of the city. 

6. Implement what is established in the Action for Climate Empowerment Programme (ACE) of UNFCCC as an innovative tool for climate change capacity building and education at Mexico City with a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) linked to the Dashboard and Communication Channels of a Social-Network for Cities Resilient to Climate Change.

7. Emphasize the importance of developing mechanisms for dialogue, cooperation and understanding, as well as digital tools and on-line resources to facilitate youth, international organizations, civil society organizations, federal and local governments and academia, private sector, among others. to generate a perspective that identifies Youth as fundamental actors in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of urban environmental policies in the face of Climate Change.

8. Make this project replicable in each of Mexico’s City town halls and applied in the youth sector.

9. Develop a first draft for an Urban Public Policy in environmental matters that will rescue the data released from the different stages of the project. This public policy will be developed by and for the Mexico’s City youth.

10. Develop and strengthen capacities through education in sustainable Cities and Resilient Climate Change to youth, so that inter and intragenerational dialogues that promote urban and climate governance can be generated.

Through this knowledge, young people will be able to understand the true effects of climate change and therefore change behaviors of consumption and behavior, enabling the creation of effective mechanisms that help create conditions for adaptation to climate change.

*Image created by Youth4Climate Team.

The project also plans to develop a platform. This platform is to emphasize that is necessary to build a collaboration between the Private Initiative, the Government and, above all, society as a whole, specifically young people, where both, urban and climate governance ar consolidated. This collaboration will be reflected in the change of consumption behaviors through a "rewards strategy". 

The platform can serve in six ways:

1) Through gamification, education, dialogue, follow-up, change of behaviors of consumption and behavior will be promoted.

2) To serve as a "rewards" instrument where young people receive an incentive for their actions of helping to adapt to Climate Change in Mexico City.

3) To serve as a space to canalize the information referring to the questions of Climate Change in the CDMX, share information and generate spaces of knowledge in the matter, using a friendly language for the youth.

4) To serve as a space to organize the youth in contingencies and natural catastrophes.

5) To serve as a climate laboratory in Mexico City for the creation of public policies focused on creating sustainable cities that are resilient to Climate Change.

6)To serve as a space for youth participation and empowerment in the topic of Climate Change and in the process of sustainable urban development in Mexico.

Justification of why we propose these actions:

1. The youths did not participate in the design of the General Law on Climate Change, which entered into force on October 10, 2012. Given that, there were no spaces for inter- and intra-generational dialogue that would promote and encourage urban and climate governance to take take into account your ideas, proposals and considerations in said regulations.

2. The regulations regarding Climate Change in Mexico do not have a friendly and understandable language for the population sector that this project focuses on, due to the technicalities and great complexity of the same or at least an alternate version that facilitates their understanding.

3. Due to the lack of active and effective participation of youth in the design of the General Law on Climate Change, it is that youth do not feel a sense of appropriation of it, so it is difficult for them to first know it and Above all, implement it, monitor it and evaluate it.

4. Likewise, based on this lack of inclusion of youth in the discussions and in the decision-making processes, the governmental authorities hinder the possibility of dialogue and, above all, urban and climate governance.

5. However, despite this lack of participation, young people demonstrate in these events their desire for action and hope, as the most recent and regrettable events that this country experienced in the earthquakes of September 7 and 19 , it was possible to confirm the strategic role of the youths in the rescue and mobilization of aid processes in times of natural catastrophe since the young people were the first to go to the areas most affected by the earthquake of September 19 to start the work rescue.

6. It is necessary to clarify that although there is a great willingness of young people to participate actively in all processes of society, as well as in all decision-making processes; there are no protocols that encourage or promote aid or the organized participation of the society in this type of catastrophes, which causes a bad mobilization and use of youth human resources with which this City has.

7. The effects of climate change in Mexico City intensified the already great earthquake that occurred on September 19, because due to heavy rains prior to the same, the soils were much softer which caused that in certain areas of the Capital the seismic waves had greater impact, generating more destruction.

8. To ensure that youths participate actively and effectively in the territorial and urban planning of cities, it is necessary to recognize and defend the human right to the city of youth, this right has been included in the newly created Constitution of Mexico City , the only local Constitution that contemplates it.

This right requires analysis from a broad and comprehensive vision that also implies obligations and responsibilities of the government, citizens and all the actors involved in the life of the Cities.

From its conception, the right to the city makes it possible to make visible the person as a protagonist and strategic actor, where the city is a scene of collective encounter in which the common goods and natural resources are for everyone. In accordance with the above, it is very important to highlight, as already stated in previous paragraphs, the right to the city not only contemplates the recognition of the accumulation of rights, but also establishes responsibilities for citizens.

Likewise, this project intends to carry out a diagnosis, through the aforementioned questionnaire, once the information is systematized, the result will be given to the decision makers so that the voices of the youths will be heard and included in the National Strategy of Territorial and Urban Zoning. It is beginning to be discussed soon and will be of national application for the next 20 years.

10. Develop and strengthen capacities through education in Sustainable and Resilient Cities to Climate Change to youth. Through this, climate governance can be generated.

11. Finally, young social leaders will be discovered and encouraged to replicate knowledge, experience and dynamism that help to reproduce and exponentiate those changes in consumer behavior in young people who lives in the capital and the rest of the country

Who will take these actions?

The actors that will be involved in the project are from governmental sector, civil society, universities and their students and academia. The project is contemplating private sector as one of the actors because we consider necessary their participation for resilient cities to climate change. What we are looking for is the mainstreaming of agendas, which is only possible with the participation of all the actors involved in them.

•    The public universities will be the main actors of this first phase of the project; they will be the young citizens laboratory.
•    Civil Society and Academia will participate defining the contents and elaboration of the manuals, active engagement in the workshops and sharing experiences and knowledge of their good practices on climate change.  
• Private Sector has a enormous role on this project because they have the capacity to provide the necessary technology resources for on line survey, access to a tech lab for the ClimateLab (datalab).  
•    Public sector can accompany the project with the content of the manuals and workshops as well. They are the main source of generation of local climate policies and programs. Their collaboration is crucial for the mid and long term of the project.

  • The Institute of Youth for Mexico City (INJUVE for its acronym in Spanish) has a crucial role for the project implementation because through it we can expand the spectrum of implementation of the project. We will also be training the people of said institute; this helps to replicable. 



Where will these actions be taken?

A questionnaire shall be applied, in this phase, to university students, young people between the ages of 18 and 28 who live in Mexico City.  The survey is designed by open and closed questions in online and offline formats. The survey is composed of 30 questions, most of them open and they will help to identify the main environmental problems related to climate, as well as being able to measure how well informed young people are in terms of the three international agendas to be addressed and their climatic transversal interrelationships. We expect to have results of at least 50,000 young people who study in these universities. 

In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.

No country selected

Country 2

No country selected

Country 3

No country selected

Country 4

No country selected

Country 5

No country selected


What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?

One of the main benefits is that there is a reduction of greenhouse gas effects. The impact on emissions is very low as this project is also focused on the use of low carbon technologies. In the mid-term, we expect the project helps to change habits and behaviors about environmental impact of the students in their daily life; as well as to open their perspective of the climate reality that we all are facing in the cities.

As we mentioned before, with these changes in behaviors of consumption and behavior of young people, in the medium and long term will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Capacity building and Education on Climate Change imply all these changes. As a result, carbon emissions per person can be lowered. Young people will be more empowered on the climate issue and they could take actions that benefit them personally while collectively impacting the city. In the long-term with the replicability of the project, carbon emissions would fall and could be possible to measure.

We can enlist the benefits in:

1) Develop and strengthen capacities through education in sustainable Cities and Resilient Climate Change to youth, so that inter and intragenerational dialogues that promote urban and climate governance can be generated.

2) Through this knowledge, young people will be able to understand the true effects of climate change and therefore change behaviors of consumption and behavior, enabling the creation of effective mechanisms that help create conditions for adaptation to climate change.

3) With these changes in behaviors of consumption and behavior of young people, in the medium and long term will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

4) Finally, young social leaders will be discovered and encouraged to replicate knowledge, experience and dynamism that help reproduce and exponentiate those changes in consumer behavior and in turn change the behavior of more young people in the capital and in the rest of the country. 

IMAGE: Key steps = key benefits by and for the youth. Image by Youth4Climate Team

What are other key benefits?

In environmental terms, the project is very low in emissions due to its structure. The use of technologies as well as a low emissions project strategy is crucial for the development of the entire process to achieve this. Its main social impact is the active participation of Youth of the city of Mexico in making decisions as well as finding solutions to problems due to climate change that city faces.

This creates spaces for dialogue and cooperation in this sector, as well as with the other actors involved. In economic terms, young people are the engine for the development of a city resilient to the climate, so it is necessary to develop capacities and education for this sector in terms of climate change and its transversal interrelations with other agendas. The project also contributes to the objectives of the national NDC on climate change. 

  • In the Urban Legal Framework, young people can lobby in local congresses to approve the adjustments in different laws. For the particular case of this project, young people could have an impact on the General Law of Human Settlements, Territorial Planning and Urban Development.
  • In the case of planning and integrated urban and territorial design, young people could establish an active and effective mechanism so that youth can participate in dialogue and decision-making as key actors in the design of sustainable urban planning.
  • In the case of the national strategy of recovery of public spaces, in the same way, young people are fundamental in the design of this strategy and especially young women as inclusive and safe public spaces, especially for women who run more and more risk when traveling on the street. This ensures that groups of young women are included in the processes of climate governance in cities without risking their lives. 
  • Regarding Municipal Finances, a good environmental public policy would be to give fiscal incentives to young people who are related, in one way or another, with initiatives or projects that are aimed at preventing, adapting and mitigating the effects of Climate Change. Another case would be to give incentives to get their first job and a decent home in the cities and not in the peripheries because this situation isolate them more from the political, social and economic life of the cities.
  • Finally, regarding local implementation with a metropolitan dimension. The national, state and metropolitan councils should be represented in a good percentage by young people who have a voice, vote; especially that these councils are representative of the different youths to achieve actions aimed at the benefit of this population sector.

IMAGE: Diagram of Youth Participation in the urban legal framework. Image by Youth4Climate Team.



What are the proposal’s projected costs?

The costs to bring the Youth for Resilient Cities project to climate change - Mexico City is $ 237´500 This includes $ 147´000 for the implementation of ClimaHack (DataLab) in which the different disciplinary groups will find solutions to the city's needs that were rescued from the survey, and includes the management and maintenance of the platform for the use of data in the CDMX regarding Climate Change this management will be supported and in collaboration with community organizations as well as local government.

In the operation stage: Costs of operation and monitoring will be as follows: Fixed Costs: Payroll of the Equipment that make up 4 people are $ 81´000 as Variable Costs that include infrastructure and Materials such as VVR, Tablets and Manuals are $ 12´640 and Cost Sank: center of operations in Mexico City will be $ 2´106. The workshops that will be carried out will be in collaboration with the universities, and the communication campaigns will be in digital media for this it will be necessary that the private ones that support the project finance us part of these sponsorships will be approximately $ 1,500 USD. 

Project cost control includes:
•    Ensure that all change requests are carried out in a timely manner.
•    Manage real changes when and as they happen.
•    Ensure that expenses do not exceed the authorized for the project, both as full funding period.
•    Monitoring cost performance to detect and understand variations with respect to the base line funding approved.
•    Avoid including unapproved changes in cost reporting or resource utilization.
•    Take action to keep the expected cost overruns within acceptable limits.


We are contemplating two years for the project. All the Mexico’s City environmental and climate programs contemplate the year 2020 or 2025 to realize diversity of new projects or, to culminate the already existing ones in the issue. This project could help to promote the participation of youth road to 2020 on climate governance. Capacity Building and Education on climate change are contained in the Art. 6 of UNFCCC and Art. 12 of Paris Agreement and are priority issues on the Mexico’s climate legislation. In the mid-term (first year) it is expected to have all the data from the universities, the concrete actions to do and the MOOC, plus digital tools with the ACE Programme. In the long-term (second year) towards 2020, it is expected the replication of the project in at least 6 town halls. 

About the author(s)

JUAN ALBERTO VARELA is a human right and development professional working in Mexico. He has been extensively involved in promoting gender equality and inclusive social development applying human based principles, especially to promote equality and accountability. He has been working for 5 years in 2030 Agenda. His duties are to emphasize the crucial role of young people in the implementation of the international SDG's, New Urban Agenda, Paris Agreement, UNFCCC, focusing in global governance and the recognition of youth in those agendas.

DANAÉ ESPINOZA, Internationalist by UNAM. She has worked in climate change for six years at national and international level. She has been YOUNGO Global South Focal Point for the UNFCCC (2014) and has managed projects related to capacity building and education on climate change and sustainable development. He is co-founder of the Latin American and Caribbean Youth Climate Movement, CLIC! Her area of specialization is youth and climate change, adaptation and its Financing.

RODRIGO EHLERS, Mexico’s City resident. Internationalist by UNAM. He has expertise to generate events, tours and festivals and has worked in the Education Ministry and the Spanish Embassy in Mexico. Also, he has been part of CSOs, he is an environmental activist, lover of the bike and its urban use.

ALFONSO GOVELA, MIT & UIA, is passionately involved in Architecture, Cities and ICT. Architect from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and MIT M.Arch.A.S. in Applied Computer Sciences. He is a member of the National Academy of Architecture and the College of Architects of Mexico, as well as the Official College of Architects of Madrid. UN-HABITAT, and Metropolis Consultant in charge of Digital Civics, an initiative to empower a new citizenship through platforms of knowledge, ecosystems of interaction and interfaces of governance. C  

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