Young Leaders will collaborate with UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth to help end poverty, combat climate change and reduce inequality
15 June 2016, UN Headquarters, New York- The United Nations today launched a new initiative to recognize exceptional young people who are leaders in the effort to end poverty, combat climate change and reduce inequalities. Spear-headed by the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the UN Young Leaders Initiative will recognize on an annual basis 17 young leaders who are driving change to help realize the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Young Leaders initiative will showcase the outstanding leadership of young people in putting the world on a more sustainable path. From food to fashion to finance, the Young Leaders will come from many different backgrounds, represent every region in the world and help activate millions of young people in support of the Goals.

The call for nominations aims to unearth young people between the ages of 18 -30 from around the world, and across multiple sectors, who are leading positive change towards a sustainable future.

Today, the world is home to the largest generation of youth in history, with 1.2 billion aged 15-24 worldwide. What’s more, this number is expected to continue to grow: between 2015 and 2030 alone, around 1.9 billion young people are projected to turn 15 years old. In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we must engage a generation of young people who know about the Goals, care about their success and actively works toward their realization.

Last year Member States committed to the Sustainable Development Goals, an ambitious agenda for people and planet. In order to achieve these ambitious Goals, we must engage today’s youth and empower a generation which knows about the Goals, cares about their success and actively works toward their realization”, said the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi.

Between 2016 and 2030, when the Goals aim to be reached, a new “Class” of 17 Young Leaders will be announced following an open call for nominations. During their term, the Young Leaders will work with the Envoy on Youth and the United Nations to help galvanize other young people around achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Nominations will be open from 15th June to 15th July 2016 and can be made online here. [hyperlink to nom form] Categories for nomination include Advocacy, the Arts, Business, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Media, Philanthropy, Policy, Science, Sport, Technology and others.

Nominees must be between 18 and 30 years old (as of August 12, 2016).

Successful candidates will be selected based on:

  • Their demonstrated achievements in promoting and advancing sustainable development;
  • The ability to command an audience, influence their contemporaries and inspire their constituents;
  • Their personal influence within their respective fields and reputation for inclusive and innovative leadership;
  • Their demonstrated integrity, commitment to the SDGs and core values of the UN

The first class of Young Leaders will be announced in September, ahead of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly.

On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force.  Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, we must all mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

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