+ Who are the Young Leaders?

The Young Leaders are 17 young change-makers whose leadership is catalyzing the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Meet the Class of 2016 here

+ What will the Young Leaders do?

The Young Leaders will come together as a community to support efforts to engage young people in the realization of the SDGs both through strategic opportunities with the UN and through their existing initiatives, platforms and networks. Young Leaders will be expected to actively support one or more of the following objectives:

  • Advocate for the Goals, in ways most accessible and relatable to young people across different contexts;
  • Promote innovative ways of engaging their audiences and peers in the advocacy and realization of the Goals;
  • Contribute to a brain trust of young leaders supporting the UN and partners for key moments and initiatives related to the Goals.

Successful applicants are expected to continue in their existing roles and serve as Young Leaders in an advocacy role. Being a Young Leader is not a full time role but an advocacy function which should complement existing work. The function is honorary, non-remunerated and does not entail speaking on behalf of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth or the United Nations.

+ How long will Young Leaders be active?

Every year, a new class of Young Leaders will be selected by public campaign. Following their term, Young Leaders will form a network of alumni around the world.

+ When will the next class of Young Leaders be selected?

Check back this fall for the next call for applications.

+ Who qualifies to be a Young Leader?

Young people who are genuinely leading fantastic initiatives which support the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.

They might be a chef, a designer, a campaigner or a blogger. They might know all about the Goals or nothing at all. The important thing is that they are leading an exciting initiative that helps to meet one of the Goals.

Young Leaders must be aged 18-30 by 31 December, 2017.

Successful candidates will be selected based on the following considerations:

  • Their demonstrated achievements in promoting and advancing sustainable development and youth participation;
  • Their personal influence within their respective fields and reputation for inclusive and innovative leadership;
  • The ability to command an audience, influence their contemporaries and inspire their constituents;
  • Their demonstrated integrity, commitment to the SDGs and core values of the UN.

+ Can I nominate someone to be a Young Leader for the SDGs?

Prospective candidates must send in an application themselves. We will not be accepting nominations made on behalf of someone else.

+ I’ve just sent in my application. What happens now?

Great! Rest assured, we will be reading each and every application carefully. Here’s a breakdown of the selection process:

  • Round 1 – Applications are open from 7 October to 3 November
  • Round 2 – Qualified candidates are selected to go to the next round (see above for who qualifies to be a young leader).
  • Round 3 – The selection committee reviews the applications and recommends the finalists.
  • Round 4 – Selected finalists are contacted and interviewed (Spring 2018)

Finally, the Class of 2018 will announced!

+ Why are young people so important to the success of the Goals?

Today, the world is home to the largest generation of youth in history, with 1.2 billion aged 15-24 worldwide. What is more, this number is expected to continue to grow: between 2015 and 2030 alone, around 1.9 billion young people are projected to turn 15 years old.

In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we must engage a generation of young people who know about the Goals, care about their success and actively works toward their realization.

We can be the first generation to end extreme poverty, the most determined generation to end injustice and inequality, and the last generation to be threatened by climate change.

+ Who is the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth?

Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake was appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in June 2017 at the age of 26 as the youngest senior official in the history of the organization. The Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth has a mandate to harmonize the UN system efforts on youth development, enhance the UN response to youth needs, advocate for addressing the development needs and rights of young people, as well as to bring the work of the United Nations with and for youth closer to them.

To this end, the Envoy on Youth works with different UN Agencies, Governments, Civil Society, Private Sector Academia and Media stakeholders towards enhancing, empowering and strengthening the position of young people within and outside of the United Nations System.

In addition, the Envoy on Youth is also the advisor to and the representative of the Secretary-General on youth related matters.

More on the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth

+ What is Sustainable Development?

Sustainable development is commonly defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

For sustainable development to be achieved, it is crucial to harmonize three core elements: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. These elements are interconnected and are all crucial for the well-being of individuals and societies.

+ What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals are a set of 17 internationally agreed goals to end poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change by 2030. The Goals are unique in that they apply to all people and call for action by all countries - poor, rich and middle income - to promote prosperity while protecting the planet.

For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you.

Learn more about the SDGs here.

+ Are the SDGs the same thing as the Global Goals?

Yes! The Sustainable Development Goals is the formal title of the Goals agreed by member states at the United Nations, but many people call them the Global Goals for short.