SDSN Youth launches the first edition of the Youth Solutions Report to provide solutions to address global problems
NEW YORK, January 31 - The first edition of the Youth Solutions Report, which identifies 50 youth-led projects aiming to solve the world’s toughest problems, was released today at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The report, produced by the youth initiative of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN Youth) identifies and celebrates youth-led projects and ground-breaking ideas to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It reflects a growing interest in supporting and scaling innovative solutions to address problems such as poverty, inequality, clean and affordable energy, access to healthcare and education, e-participation and waste.
The report highlights the work of youth-led organisations, such as Liter of Light who bring over 750,000 affordable solar lights to 15 countries; the talented team behind 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.
Professor Jeffrey Sachs, UN Secretary General’s Adviser on the SDGs, and Minister Karen Ellemann, Danish Minister for Equal Opportunities, launched the report during a two-day forum on youth and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The report was produced in partnership with Ashoka, Sustainia, the Resolution Project and Panorama (joint initiative of IUCN and the German government) and has been reviewed by a panel of experts, comprising leading figures from business, civil society and academia.
Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, has supported the initiative. “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.”
“Today we have the largest generation of youth in history - a powerful force for change. 84 percent of millennials are convinced they have a duty to make the world a better place, and many already are, through socially aware businesses and youth-led campaigns in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.” Mr Polman said.
Siamak Sam Loni, Global Coordinator of SDSN Youth, says that 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 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.” Mr Loni said.
For more information on the Youth Solutions Report visit: www.youthsolutions.report
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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was launched at UN Headquarters in September 2015 and adopted by 193 member countries of the UN. The SDGs, which are relevant to all countries, aim to achieve social inclusion, economic prosperity and environmental sustainability.
SDSN was launched by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, in 2012 to mobilize global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical problem solving for sustainable development, including the design and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
SDSN Youth is the youth initiative of UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, focused on empowering youth globally to create sustainable development solutions. SDSN Youth educates young people about the challenges of sustainable development and creates opportunities for them to use their creativity and knowledge to pioneer innovative solutions for the SDGs.
Malav Sanghavi won the first place in the ranking with his LifeCradle, a social enterprise aimed to reduce World’s Infant Mortality rate in under-developed and developing countries like India, Africa and Latin America which still suffer for absence of neonatal care due to the huge equipment costs and inconsistency of electricity. Focusing on resolving these problems LifeCradle is actually developing a low cost, cardboard baby incubator, which provides basic facilities (like warmth, clean environment and monitoring) for the child's survival in the first few critical days of its life. The base made up of cardboard is designed to function as a make-shift cot for the child once it leaves neonatal care, providing it with adequate, hygienic living conditions at home. The lid, which contains all the technology, is reused for next child's LifeCradle. LifeCradle aims to reach the market in beginning of 2018 and to address the SDG 3‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’ and SDG 9 ‘Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.’
At the second place the Vatican Youth Symposium has awarded Jordan Imahori with his solution Evaporative Cooling Vest, an innovative under-development product by Aegis, a nonprofit organization, which aims to reduce heat-related deaths and medical complications in the construction industries of countries where severe heat-stress is a workplace hazard. The cooling vests use the evaporation of water to cool the user and are capable of reducing the impact of high temperatures on the wearer’s health. These vests incorporate the features of traditional high-visibility construction vests and are certified to ISO, ANSI, OEKO, and REACH standards, allowing workers to wear them in lieu of regular safety equipment. In April 2016, Aegis received funding from the University of Toronto to carry out pilot testing of product design in Qatar, which showcase that vests are effective in reducing the dangerous effect of heat on the body. This solution, which is currently focused on reaching the market of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, is addressed to SDG 8 and in details target number 8.8., which indeed states ‘protect labor rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, especially migrant worker, particularly women workers, and those in precarious employment.’
The two winning solutions, announced by Siamak Sam Loni (Global Coordinator of SDSN Youth) during the Closing Ceremony Dinner of the Vatican Youth Symposium, have been selected, among the 10 finalists of the event, by a panel of judges chaired by SDSN experts, SDSN Youth and their partners including: Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo (Chancellor, Pontifical Academy of Sciences), Dr. Betsee Parker (Special Advisor to the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network), Professor Jeffrey Sachs (Director, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network & Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the SDGs), Gabriella Marino (Pontifical Accademy of Sciences) Anthony Annett (Climate Change and Sustainable Development Advisor to the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network) Siamak Sam Loni (Global Coordinator, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth), Virgilio Viana (Chair SDSN Amazonia), Serena Kao (Chair - UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Singapore), Katarzyna Dembska (Researcher - Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation).
The solutions awarded are a clear signal that the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals is possible by investing in the creativity and commitment of youngster as well as leveraging on technological solutions able to boost the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Cooperation among young leaders from a range of cultures and various disciplines such as tech, advocacy, research and policy is for sure one of the key aspects for a successful achievement of the SDGs. In this regard the Vatican Youth Symposium has been a crucial opportunity to build up networks by means of which youth can share their own ideas and to feed the global debate on sustainable development.