September 19th – marked the launch of the inaugural class of the United Nations Young Leaders for the sustainable Development Goals, 17 young change-makers were officially selected; according to the office of the UN Envoy on Youth due to their leadership catalyzing the achievement of the Global Goals. The United Nations Youth Envoy Ahmad Alhendawi announced these leaders at The Social Good Summit, a two day conference that usually holds during the week of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) which is currently in session. The 2016 summit carried the theme #2030NOW asking the question, “What type of world do I want to live in by the year 2030?” During this Summit, global citizens around the world unite as a dynamic community to discuss solutions for the greatest challenges of our time all in the hope of making the world a better place.
The mission of how to make the world a better place and prospects of what the world will look like by the year 2030, can be exemplified by reading through the stories of these 17 young leaders and learning about their global solutions initiatives they have created over the years. According to the office of the UN Envoy on youth, these leaders come from many different backgrounds, from food to fashion to finance- they represent every region in the world and almost all sectors of development, they also help activate young people in support of the Goals.
What exactly is required from these newly appointed SDG Young Leaders? From more than 18,000 nominations, these 17 were chosen by a selection committee, they will work with the Office of the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth on efforts to engage young people in the realization of the Goals through strategic opportunities with the UN and through their existing initiatives, platforms and networks. According to the UN, the Young Leaders will be expected to actively support one or more objectives of advocating for the Goals, in ways most accessible and relatable to young people across different contexts, to promote innovative ways of engaging their audiences and peers in the advocacy and realization of the Goals and to contribute to a brain trust of young leaders supporting the UN and partners for key moments and initiatives related to the Goals.
Each year, a new “Class” will be nominated through an open call for nominations and assessed according to robust selection criteria by a diverse selection committee. The Young Leaders Initiative is powered by the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, in collaboration with other partners. The Initiative is said to be a part of the Global Youth Partnership for Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015 and housed in the Envoy’s Office.