Youth: UNEP/UNESCO YouthXchange Initiative

** NEW **

UNEP and UNESCO along with YouthXchange partners in Viet Nam and Peru are pleased to announce the finalization of additional adaptations and translations of YouthXchange guidebooks in 2014. 
Visit the publications section for more information! 

Today’s generation of young people is the largest in history with nearly half of the world’s population under the age of 25 and most living in developing countries. Young people have a significant role to play in bringing about the widespread behavioural change that is required to shift towards more sustainable lifestyles and consumption habits. The habits young people develop now will play a decisive role in their future consumption patterns. Young people therefore deserve special attention; they must understand that behind the images and messages that promote over-consumption as the key to happy lives that they are constantly exposed to, there lies increased exploitation of resources, rising poverty and widening inequalities – all of which will eventually minimize their opportunities for a sustainable future. Education and information are essential in empowering and helping young people better understand the importance of changing wasteful consumption patterns into ones that are aligned to sustainable development.

In 2001, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) joined forces to create the YouthXchange (YXC) Initiative aimed at educating young people on sustainable consumption. UNEP, as the environmental conscience of the UN, underlines the importance of and the need for a worldwide change in sustainable consumption and production patterns and attitudes. UNESCO emphasizes the role of education in shaping attitudes and behaviour while developing the necessary skills and capacities need for building a sustainable future.

The UNEP/UNESCO YouthXchange Initiative
This Initiative promotes sustainable consumption and lifestyles among young people (aged 15-24) through education, dialogue, awareness-raising and capacity-building. YouthXchange works with young people, educators, non-governmental organizations, trainers and youth leaders around the world through national partners in more than 45 countries. At the national and local levels, partners conduct YouthXchange training and capacity building activities, supported by YouthXchange publications including the YouthXchange training kit on responsible consumption (an essential and complete toolkit to train and teach on sustainable lifestyles translated into more than 20 languages) and thematic and regional YouthXchange publications, as well as the bilingual YXC website ( For information on YouthXchange’s activities, visit Awareness-raising and Capacity-Building.

YouthXchange publications provide young people, trainers and teachers with clear, reliable and compelling information on sustainable consumption and lifestyles. Key concepts and real life examples of sustainable consumption patterns and lifestyles are provided to show, in an engaging and entertaining manner, that change is possible and it starts from our own attitudes and behaviours. YouthXchange attempts to make youth aware of the global imbalances related to access to the basic needs and the impact of unsustainable lifestyles on economies, societies and the environment. YouthXchange incorporates the relationship between economics, environmental fairness, and social justice in an effort to encourage youth to take shared responsibility for their society and participate in the creation of a better future.  The UNEP/UNESCO YouthXchange Initiative has been chosen as an educational tool on sustainable consumption for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.