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YMCA launches new initiative ‘Youth-Led Solutions’ for young leaders to address the climate emergency

25 August 2020

Today, YMCA is launching the Youth-Led Solutions initiative, to activate young leaders to address global issues. Aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is an international collaboration facilitated by local YMCAs around the world.

Last year, in 2019, the global YMCA movement gathered in London to celebrate 175 years of its founding and young people leading change. At the opening of the event, the United Nations Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, gave a call to action: for the world to deepen its commitment to elevating the voices of young leaders. 

In response, recognising the powerful agency inherent in young people, YMCA is uplifting and supporting the development of young leaders that are addressing global issues affecting their local communities. In launching this new initiative, YMCA will amplify youth solutions that positively impact local and global sustainability, the development of just and equitable communities, and the well-being of all people.

YMCA’s Youth-Led Solutions will put critical resources, including seed funding, directly into the hands of young leaders who are driving innovation, programmes and activities to address global issues. The first group of young leaders will focus on SDG 13, Climate Action, and other SDG indicators that intersect with addressing the climate emergency. The initiative will continue into 2021 and beyond as future groups of young leaders address and advance other issues such as youth employment, mental health, and more.

Round one will launch with a virtual Summit taking place on 19 and 23 October 2020 for all applicants, with open-access to all interested in finding out more about YMCA’s Youth-Led Solutions initiative and work being undertaken to positively impact environmental action. Prior to the Summit launch and immediately after, applicants will be invited to apply for seed funding to further their solutions. 

The October Summit was initially planned to be hosted by YMCA of San Francisco, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations charter in San Francisco. Due to Covid-19, the postponement will still mark the landmark anniversary, alongside UN Day – when the United Nations came into existence. 

Carlos Madjri Sanvee, Secretary General, World YMCA, said, “Even in the midst of a global pandemic, the greatest threat to humanity – and therefore future generations to come – remains the climate crisis.

Now, YMCA is deepening its commitment to youth innovation, leadership and Agenda 2030. Today’s young leaders are the most resourceful in human history. We need to ensure they have the platform, investment and resources needed to address some of the world’s most pressing issues.

Young leaders, age 15 to 35-years-old, will participate as a team (of six or more, regardless of geographical boundaries) or can sign-up as an individual, and then be matched with other young leaders to form a Solution Team. 

It is not a requirement to register with a solution already developed, part of the initiative is to support the cultivation of new ideas, innovation, upscaling and concept development, alongside already formed solutions to address SDG13. More detailed guidance is available at ymcayouthsolutions.org. No former YMCA-affiliation is required, and collaboration with community organisations and partners is actively encouraged. Registration will open for one month starting September 1. 

For more information, take action at www.ymcayouthsolutions.org. For interested young leaders, until registration opens on 1 September, prepare to apply by connecting with others interested in finding solutions to the climate crisis. Questions? info@ymcayouthsolutions.org.

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