What we do

Since 2014 our programme ‘The Rights of Children and Youth’ has been working to ensure that the rights of girls, boys and young people are upheld and supported so that they may reach their full potential. Our team has focused on the topics of child protection, education for sustainable development, youth empowerment and championing the rights of young people to grow up in a healthy environment. It is the duty of each state to support these rights and we have been highlighting some of the exemplary policy solutions from around the world helping to make this happen. We have promoted the spread of impactful laws by enabling key stakeholders from different countries to come together and exchange good practice. Alongside these field trips and knowledge sharing events we have developed practical tools for action.

Working Areas



Press Release: Disarmament and divestment conference in Basel

Hamburg/New York, 5th April 2019 - Global contest announced by the World Future Council, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), with the support of the Office of the UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Youth Policy Labs.



Policy Handbook: Advancing Education for Sustainable Development

This handbook explores some of the central success factors in policy, process and practice in some of the pioneering countries and contexts where Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is being effectively embraced.

Child Protection
Education for Sustainable Development
Driving Environmental Education

In 2011, Maryland became the first U.S. state to make environmental literacy a mandatory high-school graduation requirement with the introduction of Environmental Literacy (E-Lit) Standards. Each of Maryland’s 24 local education authorities (LEA) now provide a holistic programme of environmental education content and activities taught from kindergarten to high-school and integrated across a wide range of subjects throughout the curriculum.

Maryland was recognised for this pioneering mandate and its successful implementation with a silver Future Policy Award in 2015. We held an international conference and field trip in October 2016 that brought together legislators from 16 environment and education ministries from around the world to learn from Maryland and exchange good practice on ESD. Since then we have steadily expanded our knowledge on the policy and practice of Education for Sustainable Development. The outcomes of our field trip have been distilled and supplemented with research, case studies, field visits, a literature review and interviews with international ESD experts. All this new learning has been brought together in our new handbook ‘Advancing Education for Sustainable development’. This publication explores some of the central success factors in policy, process and practice in some of the pioneering countries and contexts where ESD is being effectively embraced. It examines some of the major trends, case studies and challenges in introducing a more holistic, progressive, hands-on education.

Given the huge challenges the world faces, it is clear that we need to teach, learn and live in a fundamentally different manner. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is increasingly recognised as playing a central role in empowering learners of all ages to positively respond to local and global challenges and act in a more peaceful, just, inclusive and sustainable manner. This approach is already helping people develop the skills, values and attitudes necessary to create more resilient societies and transition towards the skilled, green, low-carbon economies of the future.


We work to spread the best environmental education laws to help create a new generation of environmental stewards.


Learning in nature has been shown to reduces stress, enhance creativity, and improve children’s test scores.


Promoting the right to a healthy environment contributes both to children’s fundamental rights and the transition to sustainable societies.

Child and Youth Participation


We bring together national and regional legislators with leading experts on child rights policy.


We promote policies that encourage meaningful participation to ensure every child has the right to be heard.


We support juvenile justice so that girls, boys and young people that need help get access to rehabilitation rather than punishment.

Listening to Children's Voices

Child participation is one of the core principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Article 12 asserts that children and young people have the right to freely express their views and that there is an obligation to listen to children’s views and to facilitate their participation in all matters affecting them within the family, schools, local communities, public services, government policy, and judicial procedures.

Zanzibar’s Children’s Act is a pioneering comprehensive child rights law which lays the foundation for a coordinated child-protection system to protect and promote the rights of children. The Act serves as a promising model both for its drafting process – which involved an innovative community-level child participation process – and the provisions of the law which have led to a marked societal change in attitudes towards children and their rights. We work to transfer lessons from Zanzibar to other African countries in the region.