Our World, Our Work

Our 10-year mission to support 1 million youth in their pursuit of inclusive and sustainable jobs in the green and blue economy

The global climate crisis is transforming the global economy, with implications for the future of work. This transformation, while leading to job loss and changes for some, also comes with a great economic opportunity: The International Labour Organization (ILO) predicts a net increase of at least 18 million jobs from the transition to clean energy and an additional 7 million jobs from the circular economy.

Young people around the world will inherit the results of economic decisions being made today, and given the myriad workforce challenges and barriers already facing our youth, especially those in under-resourced settings, their insights can help shape a brighter future.

We must act quickly to elevate their voices.

That’s why the Our World, Our Work initiative at EDC is responding with a youth-centered approach, advancing workforce development in the new green and blue economy that prioritizes the creation of new jobs (renewable energy, circularity and recycling of waste, and electric vehicle manufacturing) and the greening of existing jobs (climate-smart agriculture, sustainable fishing, regenerative forestry, retail services, and manufacturing).

We will focus on communities and youth most impacted by climate change, understand hyper-local labor market demands, and provide relevant skills training and entrepreneurship support. We will also deepen connections between the private sector, education institutions, and youth, and ensure youth are central in conversations about the future of work.

We plan to accomplish this goal by:

  • Concentrating efforts on communities and youth whose environments and livelihoods are most impacted by climate change
  • Understanding hyper-local labor market demands and translating national-level labor market assessments into actionable priorities at regional and local levels
  • Providing relevant skills training and entrepreneurship support for youth at all skill levels
  • Deepening connections between the private sector, education institutions, and youth
  • Ensuring youth are central in conversations between government, the private sector, and civil society
  • Strengthening youth-led and youth-serving organizations that can support and mentor the most underserved youth to engage in climate-responsive opportunities
  • Supporting young women who are underrepresented in STEM pathways and occupations


For more information on Our World, Our Work:

  • Read the background document from "The Big Opportunity," a September 2023 panel discussion at the Africa Climate Summit.
  • Watch the recording of "The Big Opportunity," a September 2023 panel discussion at the Africa Climate Summit.
  • View the presentation deck from our Asia Partners Meeting, April 24-27, 2023. The deck provides an overview of Our World, Our Work and the research we have done to date as well as highlighting our regional focus and programming in Asia.
  • Read our discussion paper, Accelerating Youth Jobs and Inclusive Green Economies: Elements for Reflection and Discussion, which frames the key issues informing the initiative and offers a set of discussion questions related to youth’s participation in the green and blue economy.
  • Read the takeaways and next steps from our December 2022 convening in Washington, D.C.
  • Download an overview brochure for more information on the opportunity and challenge, as well as EDC’s unique approach and objectives.

A Systems Solution

As with all aspects of our work at EDC, from mental health to education training, we utilize a systems-strengthening approach that prioritizes youth agency, placing their needs at the center of national and international conversations between key stakeholders, such as governments, the private sector, education institutions, and civil society. We also work with these institutions to change curriculum, design policies, and train system leaders, identifying opportunities to strengthen and enhance existing systems and create sustained change for the largest number of youth possible.

As part of Our World, Our Work, EDC advances youth-centered systems-change in the pursuit of green and blue jobs that includes:

  • Green youth labor market assessments, co-facilitated by youth, to better understand the characteristics of the local labor market demand and supply to link trained youth with employment opportunities in green and blue sectors
  • Green occupational and skills catalogs for national education systems and education institutions to align curriculum with emerging opportunities
  • Public and private green and blue youth alliances to problem-solve and mobilize resources for green and blue economic growth at the local level
  • Green finance toolbox that gives young entrepreneurs the boost they need to innovate new climate action solutions in high-potential sectors 
“Young people are the most integral part of building and growing the green and blue economy, but they need access to skills, resources, and networks so that they may effectively contribute. We cannot wait a moment longer to prioritize youth in this transformation, so they can best leverage their skills and shape their futures.”
– Melanie Sany, Director of International Youth Programs at EDC

Join Us

We know that we cannot solve these challenges alone. This work requires passionate and dedicated partners to share our mission and vision.

Join us by contacting us at OWOW@edc.org. And sign up for the EDC Update newsletter, where we’ll share analysis and insights from EDC experts, news updates about related work and research, and opportunities to partner with us.

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