Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy
29 August 2023

Green and Digital Futures: Enabling Youth For ‘Just Transitions’

A new AHCD policy brief published within the framework of a project on youth protest in Europe addresses the growing role of youth movements in advocating for ‘’just transitions”.

A new AHCD Policy Brief (n. 3/23) addresses the tendency for youth movements in Europe and globally to increasingly centre their activities and discourses around "just transitions," encompassing digital transformations, green transitions, and the fight against inequality.

Indeed, findings from the project “Protest and Engagement, from the Global to the Local: Mapping the Forms of Youth Participation in Europe” indicate youth-led movements are increasingly calling for a broader social and economic transition that would be both sustainable and socially equitable.

The research, conducted by AHCD researchers Christine Lutringer, Maria Mexi, Yanina Welp, and Laura Bullon-Cassis across eight cities in Switzerland, France, Italy, and Spain, further finds that these claims are shaped by local contexts. For example, a distinct facet of the youth landscape relates to the formidable challenges young individuals face when striving to access employment opportunities and housing—particularly in Southern European countries.

Similarly, local institutional responses have greatly differed: for example, the Paris Administration created a novel institution in central Paris known as "Quartier Jeunes," providing guidance and support to individuals aged 16 to 30, assisting them in navigating employment prospects in a green and digital economy. In contrast, Spain lacks an extensive tradition of youth participation due to its prolonged period of dictatorship and a top-down transitional process, resulting in diminished civic education, political involvement, and political capital.

The brief also draws upon the insights generated during the international policy workshop entitled “Enabling the Youth for Just Transitions”, which was organized in the context of the project in collaboration with UNRISD on 9 March 2023 and gathered over 20 experts from international organizations, NGOs, and academia. Two expert interviews on the Just Transition were also conducted by the team on this occasion.

Read the brief HERE