Opening Remarks by Mr James George at the Youth National Dialogue 2022

November 4, 2022

The Youth National Dialogue hosted by UNDP, SCLSCC and Citi China was held on 4 November 2022



Ms. Zhang Ruige, the Deputy Director General of the China Soong Ching Science & Culture Centre for Young People

Mr. Liu Ning, Deputy Director General, Department of Nature and Ecology Conservation, Ministry of Ecology and Environment

Mr. Teng Hongjun, Executive Vice President of Citibank China, (TBC)

Mr. Bin Li, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nio

And all our fantastic youth entrepreneurs – a very good morning!

First, I’d like to congratulate the 60 of you who have been selected to participate in this year’s Youth National Dialogue.

Your passion, drive and eagerness to work on solutions to some of the world’s biggest environmental challenges is exactly what our world urgently needs.


As the IPCC forecasts global warming of 1.5°C by 2040, it is more urgent than ever that countries and cities develop sustainably and help address climate and ecological challenges.

Our window for avoiding climate catastrophe is closing fast.

Already this year we have seen devastating wildfires, flooding and heatwaves across the globe, including here in China.

Within your lifetimes you will likely witness even more extreme events - temperature records will be broken, land swallowed up by rising seas and even more species rendered extinct.

This is why we need to act fast.

If we are to avoid this future, we need to urgently put the world on a greener, more sustainable track.

That means overhauling our industries, food, transport and financial systems.

It means reimagining and reshaping our societies and economies.

That is where youth all around the world has a critical role to play.

For it is your generation, the largest cohort and most educated in history, that is the best prepared to help make sustainable development a reality.

Your collective imagination, voice, action and energy can help raise attention to these issues – issues which will affect your lives more than anyone else.

Your digital skills and technical aptitude can help deliver climate-resilient, green and sustainable solutions.

UNDP is committed to supporting you in achieving these ambitions. I am pleased to be joining you here with our very strong partners.

We believe in you.

We believe that through entrepreneurship and innovation especially, 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.

Indeed, in the cohorts that came before you, we have already met some promising sustainability champions of the future.

For example, the founder of ClearPlate, Liu Jichen, whose startup encourages Chinese youth to reduce their carbon emissions by taking action against food waste.

In addition to being one of the 2019 National Dialogue winners, he was named SDG Young Leader by the office of the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth and the first person from China to receive the honor.

I am equally excited to hear about the ideas and businesses this year’s cohort have come up with.

I have no doubt that the youth participating today holds exceptional talent and determined minds, that are keen to help the world achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

To that end, I’d like to thank and acknowledge our partners.

Firstly, the COP 15 Organizing Committee for designing this event as a warm-up to the important COP 15 meetings taking place in Montreal later this year.

Also, the China Soong Ching Ling Science and Culture Center for Young people and to CITI China for hosting this event.

Finally, also to Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences and Nio for their strong support in bringing this event together.

With that I’d like to wish our entrepreneurs all the best for the coming three days.

We have an inspiring group of investors and mentors for you to learn from and whom I also thank for their valuable time.

The world needs social entrepreneurs like yourselves, dedicated to building a greener, more inclusive and sustainable world more than ever before - thank you.