New edition has received over 4,300 applications from 174 countries, urges policies to support youth-led innovation
NEW YORK, USA; September 26: The third edition of the Youth Solutions Report, which identifies 50 youth-led projects that are accelerating global progress on the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has been released today, at the 74th UNGA High-Level Side Event on Social Business, Youth and Technology.
This year, the selected solutions have been chosen by an advisory panel of 24 leading experts across all SDG sectors and geographical regions, among a pool of applicants that included over 4,300 submissions from 174 countries. Winning projects were particularly focused on introducing innovative approaches to lifting vulnerable communities in developing countries out of poverty, with solutions targeting areas such as digital health and education, financial inclusion, innovation in agricultural practices, sustainable livelihoods, and circular economy.
Like its 2017 and 2018 predecessors, this year’s Youth Solutions Report provides selected initiatives with a powerful platform to secure funding, build capacity, communicate experiences, and scale efforts. In addition, the new edition includes an in-depth analysis of the role of youth-led innovation in achieving the specific SDGs that have been reviewed at the July session of the 2019 High-Level Political Forum, focusing on the role of young people in improving access to quality education, promoting decent work for all, reducing inequality, combating climate change, promoting peaceful societies, and supporting a renewed global partnership for sustainable development.
One key aspect of the Report consists of its discussion of cross-cutting challenges to youth-led innovation and the importance of seeing young people as a fundamental component of the broader innovation systems that are required to implement the 2030 Agenda. Mariana Mazzucato, Director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London, said: ‘The SDGs are the world’s challenges, and can only be achieved through directed, mission-oriented, innovation activities, taken on through bold new partnerships between the public sector, business and civil society. The Youth Solutions Report provides a loud, dynamic forum for youth to be heard and learned from in this critical solutions-oriented process.’ Ms Mazzucato’s auspices were echoed by Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever and recent founder of Imagine, who recognized that ‘creating the right policy frameworks for engaging young people in SDG implementation will a big enabler of the entire Agenda’. According to Mr Polman, ‘the Youth Solutions Report serves as a platform that will increase exposure to youth-led projects that will hopefully push policy reform in the future.’
Siamak Sam Loni, Global Coordinator of SDSN Youth, added that while young people are already contributing to the implementation of the SDGs, they still face common challenges that prevent them from realizing the full potential, including the lack of visibility, limited access to finance, and the lack of training and technical support. ‘The 2019 Youth Solutions Report will help investors, donors, and supporters better understand the multi-faceted role of young people in sustainable development and give them additional opportunities to showcase and scale their work’ concluded Mr. Loni.
As further testimony of SDSN Youth’s commitment to concretely supporting its growing global cohort of young innovators, this year’s report was prepared in collaboration with Junior Chamber International (JCI), which ensured that 5 of the selected solutions could be provided with grants from the Global Youth Empowerment Fund. The Fund, founded by JCI in partnership with the UN SDG Action Campaign, offers grants and training to youth-led projects that advance the SDGs. Earl Sawyer, Interim Secretary-General of JCI, said: ‘JCI is proud to collaborate with SDSN Youth on their 2019 Youth Solutions Report. We are excited to offer young people the recognition, tools, training and resources needed to scale their SDG-focused projects in order to tackle global problems’.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was launched at UN Headquarters in September 2015 and adopted by all 193 UN member states. The SDGs, which are relevant to all countries, aim to achieve social inclusion, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability for all people.
SDSN Youth is the youth initiative of SDSN, focused on empowering youth globally to create sustainable development solutions. SDSN Youth educates young people about the challenges of sustainable development and creates opportunities for them to use their creativity and knowledge to pioneer innovative solutions for the SDGs. SDSN Youth creates platforms for young people to connect, collaborate, and integrate their ideas and perspectives within the public policy field.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
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Phone: +41 78 672 3412 / +39 331 9876788
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Phone: +46 73 380 13 18
The social media kit for the Youth Solutions Report can be downloaded here.