UN launches worldwide search for young leaders to achieve Sustainable Development Goals


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.

A first of its kind at the UN, the initiative will showcase the outstanding leadership that young people are demonstrating to put the world on a more sustainable course.

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.

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

“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.

Nominations are now open via the Young Leaders website. Categories for nomination include Advocacy, the Arts, Business, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Media, Philanthropy, Policy, Science, Sport, Technology and others.  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.

“With this call, I invite people around the world to nominate those young people who have demonstrated exceptional ingenuity, ambition and leadership to put the world on a more sustainable course. This is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the young leaders who are changing our world for the better”, said Alhendawi.

Nominations will be open from June 15th to July 15th 2016 and can be made online at www.SDGYoungLeaders.org The Class of 2016 will be announced ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016. 

About the Sustainable Development Goals:

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.

About the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth:

In 2013, the UN Secretary-General’s appointed Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi of Jordan as his first-ever Envoy on Youth and as the youngest senior official in the history of the organization. Mr. Alhendawi’s mandate is to harmonize the UN system efforts on youth development, enhance the UN response to youth needs, advocate for the development needs and rights of young people, as well as to bring the work of the United Nations on youth closer to them. The Envoy on Youth also acts as the advisor to and the representative of the Secretary-General on youth related matters.