The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has released its first edition of the Youth Solutions Report, which identifies 50 youth-led projects that aim to solve the world’s toughest issues, during the UN ECOSOC Youth Forum at the United Nations Headquarters.
The report, produced by the youth initiative of SDSN (SDSN Youth) identifies and celebrates youth-led projects and groundbreaking ideas to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It reflects a growing interest in supporting and scaling innovative solutions as part of a strategy to address problems such as poverty, inequality, clean and affordable energy, access to healthcare and education, e-participation and waste.
“SDSN Youth and its Youth Solutions Report are excellent examples of initiatives crucial for helping young people realize the full potential of their abilities, innovations and solutions,” said Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever. “Today we have the largest generation of youth in history — a powerful force for change. Eight-four percent of millennials are through socially aware businesses and youth-led campaigns in support of the Sustainable Development Goals**.”**
The report highlights the work of youth-led organizations across 57 countries, such as Liter of Light who bring over 750,000 affordable solar lights to 15 countries; BenBen who operate a Blockchain-based land registry that facilitates secure land transactions to encourage investments and transparent land resource management; FinFighters who run a citizen shark science program to collect genetic data and information from Moroccan fishing ports and market; and the group running the SHAPE project using mobile technology to promote citizens’ e-participation in their city’s public life.
“The UN Youth Solutions Report will help us scale and mobilize the generation of leaders to not only meet the UN 2030 SDG agenda goals but surpass expectations through this global movement,” said Daniela Fernandez, founder of the Sustainable Oceans Alliance. “Our oceans are dying and it will take education, grassroots organizing, and innovative start-ups to protect our natural resources and advocate for our environment.”
According to Siamak Sam Loni, Global coordinator of DSN Youth, young people must be seen as key stakeholders in the sustainable development debate and that there is a pressing need to acknowledge their essential role in achieving the SDGs.
“Young people are already contributing to the implementation of the SDGs,” said Loni “but they face common challenges that prevent them from realizing the full potential of their ideas and solutions, including the lack of visibility, limited access to finance and the lack of training and technical support. The 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.”