UNDP Hosts 5th Youth National Dialogue on Green Development
November 7, 2022
Beijing, 6 November 2022 – The 5th annual National Dialogue concluded today in Beijing. Held virtually from November 4-6, the event was hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the China Soong Ching Ling Science and Culture Centre for Young People, and Citibank China Co., Ltd, and supported by Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences, and NIO, designed to empower Chinese youth to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in China.
This year’s National Dialogue theme of Green Development, encourages young people to leverage technologies and digital skills to respond to climate and biodiversity challenges with green, inclusive and sustainable solutions.
The National Dialogue was designated one of the pre-events to next month’s Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15) by China’s COP15 Executive Committee Office.
The National Dialogues are a flagship event of Youth Co:Lab, co-led by UNDP and Citi Foundation since 2017 aiming to establish a common agenda for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to empower and invest in youth to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs.
In particular, Youth Co:Lab brings together local youth, government, private sector, incubators and financial institutions to promote youth entrepreneurship and innovation, increase young people’s entrepreneurial skills, and guide business models for SDG impact in their communities. Since its inception, Youth Co:Lab activities have supported over 11,000 young social innovators and entrepreneurs in 28 countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region, including in China.
“We believe that through entrepreneurship and innovation, young people like yourselves can be empowered to take control of your own lives, develop new skills and come up with groundbreaking new concepts and products for our rapidly changing world,” said James George, Officer-in-Charge for UNDP in China , addressing participants at the National Dialogue opening ceremony.
60 youth entrepreneurs from 30 start-ups were selected to participate in the 3-day event. The participants gained professional mentorship and received training in business proposal writing, green economy design thinking, and biological diversity, which assist them in designing inclusive, needs-based solutions with potential business viability.
“I hope that everyone will integrate their personal pursuits into the big picture of promoting the development of human society, and make active efforts to realize the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Zhang Ruige, the Deputy Director General of the China Soong Ching Science and Culture Centre for Young People.
During the start-up fair, 15 investors from financial institutions provided advice for participants on linking their ideas to funding. On Demo Day, 16 teams showcased their business solutions for addressing climate and biodiversity issues to an audience of investors.
"Youth are dream chasers, and also dream realizers. We look forward to young people being participants, contributors and leaders in green and low-carbon life, and part of ‘the harmonious coexistence of humanity and nature’," said Liu Ning, Deputy Director General of the Department of Nature and Ecology Conservation, Ministry of Ecology and Environment of China, COP15 negotiator in his opening speech.
6 teams were awarded with seed grants from NIO, a Chinese electric vehicle company. These grants are part of UNDP’s efforts working closely with government, private sector, incubators and financial institutions to find a sustainable mechanism to empower youth-led social enterprises in achieving the SDGs.
First prize winners include AgroX, a distributed precision irrigation system to reduce fertilizer abuse and carbon emissions and C-smart, a carbon service platform which provides carbon calculation service and solutions to enterprises.
“The deep involvement of young people in creating solutions from project design to implementation can help these solutions to better address the needs of youth, help them to benefit, and improve their access to economic opportunities.” said Teng Hongjun, Executive Vice President of Citibank China Co., Ltd.
The six winning teams will have the opportunity to participate in the Regional Youth Co:Lab Summit to be held in Thailand in 2023. Representing Chinese youth, they will showcase their business solutions along with young entrepreneurs from 27 other countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region and demonstrate how youth can contribute to the realization of the SDGs through social innovation and entrepreneurship.
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