British Council research programmes offer a rich source of data on what young people around the world think about climate change and their priorities for climate action.
Next Generation explores youth attitudes and aspirations to amplify youth voice in countries that are experiencing significant change. Global perceptions: how 18–34-year-olds see the UK and the world – recently conducted for the sixth time in 2023 – offers insight into the issues and values that matter most to our future leaders. Both research programmes evidence the critical significance of climate change to the lives of young people around the world.
Contribution to knowledge
Since 2016, we have engaged more than 65,000 young people from more than 40 countries through surveys and participatory approaches. The data this has provided on attitudes to climate change complements the call to action of our 2021 Global Youth Letter, which finds that to tackle climate change, we need to ensure the active participation of young people.
Since 2016, climate change has emerged as one of the top three areas of concern, along with poverty and unemployment, for young people across the G20.
Global Perceptions 2023 reveals climate change/the environment to be the most important issue on the minds of over 19,000 young people who were surveyed.
Sustainability is routinely cited as one of the most critical values that countries should support and encourage and in 2023 was considered the second most important value after equality.
From Next Generation we know that young people from diverse and otherwise markedly different countries – from Poland to Pakistan – share a common concern about climate change and a common demand to be more effectively involved in climate action programmes and policy dialogues.
These concerns about climate change sit alongside, and can at times be superseded by, other concerns, such as around quality education, the skills gap, and lack of employment opportunities.
Contribution to climate action
Our research helps to ensure that young people’s voices are heard, and their interests properly represented in decisions that will have lasting implications for their lives – including around climate resilience and sustainability. This builds the evidence-base for our own climate action partnerships, such as our new Climate Skills Programme focused on identifying and developing the skills young people need to be part of a just transition from fossil fuels.
Global Perceptions 2023 research was conducted in partnership with Ipsos UK. Partners for Next Generation research include M&C Saatchi, 2CV, Ipsos, Sound Connections, LSE Enterprise, Connecting Research to Development (CRD) and Love Frankie.