This year, the Advancing Development Goals Contest (best-known as The Geneva Challenge), a leading international competition which aims to recognise and financially support innovative and pragmatic youth-led solutions that address the main challenges of today's world, has decided to tackle climate change. 

Five finalist teams, one per continent, were selected by a jury of high-level personalities and showcased during the award ceremony which took place in Geneva on 27 November 2018. In addition, SDSN Youth renewed its partnership with the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and the Kofi Annan foundation, the organisers of the contest, to award a Special Prize acknowledging a project that has been particularly effective in integrating the SDG framework in its design and which shows a promising potential to be implemented and scaled.

The project, titled “Enhanced Sustainable Concrete: Combining Existing Technologies in a Novel Manner to Promote the Sustainable Development of Water and Concrete Industries Worldwide", was developed by an interdisciplinary team of three students from the University of Toronto. It was selected by SDSN Youth’s Solutions team with the following motivation:

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Youth is proud to award its Geneva Challenge Special Prize to the project "Enhanced Sustainable Concrete: Combining Existing Technologies in a Novel Manner to Promote the Sustainable Development of Water and Concrete Industries Worldwide". Through its Youth Solutions program, SDSN Youth has been working since 2015 to mobilise investments, expertise and visibility opportunities in support of youth-led innovations that can contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed by the United Nations in September 2015. These innovations should demonstrate a transformative vision, be based on an integrated approach to potential synergies and trade-offs, showcase the significant skills of their proponents, and appear capable of delivering significant impacts once implemented and scaled. The Enhanced Sustainable Concrete project undoubtedly possesses these qualities. Cement production constitutes a growing share of direct fossil fuel emissions from the manufacturing sector, which in turn provides over one fifth of all direct emissions worldwide and raises crucial water use and wastewater treatment issues. Not only does the proposal highlight such a complex interplay of the challenges of climate change, water scarcity and sustainable production, it also advances a thoroughly researched, promising solution that can greatly benefit from receiving qualified support from interested mentors and funders. SDSN Youth is looking forward to collaborating with the project team in order to harness this support thanks to its wide network of research centres, universities, policy-makers and businesses.

The project will now be included in the cohort of innovators that SDSN Youth is trying to support through its Youth Solutions Program.

You can read more about Enhanced Sustainable Concrete and watch the entire award ceremony here.

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