Contributing to a UN Call for Inputs on Youth Participation in Intergovernmental Forums

By Andrea Longo, Sophie Shields and Elisa Morgera

Hub early-career researchers Andrea Longo and Sophie Shields, and Hub Director Elisa Morgera, participated in the call for input for a forthcoming thematic report by the UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order on “youth participation in intergovernmental forums: challenges and opportunities.” The report aims at identifying “good practices of inclusive participation of youth in intergovernmental forums at the global level to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.”

While the call was focused on youth, the Hub submission started with a recommendation that the Independent Expert should contribute to raise awareness across global ocean fora about the need to include children, as well as youth, in their processes as a matter of international human rights law application. To support these efforts, Hub researchers have developed a framework for meaningfully engaging with children and upholding their right to be heard in global ocean fora, which could be adaptable to other intergovernmental fora. The framework will appear in Sophie Shields, Andrea Longo, Elisa Morgera and Mia Strand, “Children’s Human Rights and the Protection of the Ocean: Adapting international processes on the marine environment for intergenerational learning and upholding children’s right to be heard” in the Hub-led special issue of the International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law on the ocean-climate-human rights nexus which will be published online in June 2023. 

The submission also underscored the need to remove existing barriers to public participation in global ocean fora, including for youth and children’s participation, including at the International Seabed Authority. 

In addition, the submission highlighted the possible contribution that the recently finalised Agreement on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement) can make to public participation in global ocean governance decision-making processes generally, as well as to support youth and children’s participation. 

This submission is part of the broader Hub’s research on the human rights of children and their relevance for ocean governance. The submission follows on our contributions to the draft UN General Comment on the Children’s Rights and a Healthy Environment, and complements the policy brief on Advancing Participation in the Conservation & Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction. 

Illustration by: Margherita Brunori

Related SDGs:

  • Good health and well-being
  • Reduced inequality
  • Responsible consumption and production
  • Life below water
  • Peace, justice and strong institutions
  • Partnership for the goals