Effective Youth Participation for Sustainable Development


Our world is home to the largest generation of young people in history, 1.8 billion. Close to 90 per cent of them live in developing countries, where they constitute a large proportion of the population. With only ten years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—world leaders at the SDG Summit in September 2019 called for a decade of action and delivery for sustainable development— and pledged to mobilize financing, enhance national implementation and strengthen institutions to achieve the Goals by the target date of Agenda 2030, leaving no one behind.

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) continues to engage in its mission to develop the individual, institutional and organizational capacities of countries and other United Nations stakeholders (including youth), through high-quality learning solutions and related knowledge products and services to enhance decision making and to support country-level action for overcoming global challenges.

UNITAR’s Division for People and Social Inclusion and its CIFAL Global Network work closely with academic institutions around the world to build the capacity of youth in order to effectively participate in addressing global challenges at the country level. The Division’s CIFAL Centres strengthen sustainable development capacities of stakeholders (including students and young people), through a series of workshops and interactive activities, which will consequently promote transfer of best-knowledge practices, social awareness and cross-sectional collaboration.

Why effective youth participation in sustainable development?

Devin Avery

The youth are not just beneficiaries of the 2030 Agenda, but they have been active architects in its development and continue to be engaged in the frameworks and processes that support its implementation, follow-up and review. The adoption of the 2030 Agenda represented the culmination of an extensive three-year process involving Member States and civil society, including youth-led organizations, in the development of specific goals and targets of the SDGs.

According to the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development’s Guiding Principles for Supporting Young People as Critical Agents of Change in the 2030 Agenda, partners and stakeholders should effectively, proactively and responsibly foster youth participation in SDG implementation across development contexts so that the collective power of young people can contribute to real and lasting change.

Objectives of the Programme

In order to ensure young people participate in the SDG implementation, UNITAR and its CIFAL Centres are pleased to offer the Youth Empowerment Initiative, with the following learning objectives:

• To illustrate how innovative practices contribute to achieving 2030 Agenda.

• To develop leadership skills in order to effectively contribute to real and lasting change.

• To participate in tackling the challenges of sustainable development, by executing specified tasks through the Global Internship Initiative.

1M2030 Initiative


The One Million Youth Leaders Beyond 2030 (1M2030) Initiative, hosted by the Global Challenges Forum Foundation (GCF) and the United Nations Institute For Training and Research (UNITAR), is a movement to platform for youth social entrepreneurs to become societal and responsible leaders.

Our launch on September 27th, 2019 at the United Nations European Headquarters brought youth spotlight speakers and experts to work together on the empowerment of youth worldwide. As a youth-driven event, it featured keynote addresses, inter-generational panel discussions, and short, impactful speeches encouraging alignment to Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information, please click here.

Study Visit to Geneva


The 1-week Study Visit to Geneva is significant, given that Geneva is a major United Nations hub, with the second largest United Nations centre.

This component will develop the capacity of young people in order to leverage on effective youth participation in the implementation of the SDGs in their respective countries.

It will be composed of interactive discussions, led by subject-matter experts from various United Nations Entities.

Online Training on Leadership

Bram Naus

The Online Training on Leadership will provide participants with tools to enhance emotional intelligence, as well as provide clear guidance and practical methods which will enable them to get the best performance from themselves and others.

The training is highly interactive and hosted on UNITAR’s online learning platform.

Global Internship Initiative

Kelsey Knight

The Global Internship Initiative will provide participants with first-hand experience on how the United Nations tackles the challenges of sustainable development.

Likewise, it will provide the participants with the opportunity to contribute to the work of the United Nations.

The experience will generally enhance their knowledge and skills in a professional setting, in order to participate in promoting sustainable, inclusive and stable societies.

Youth Development in Nigeria

Doug Linstedt

Programme Highlight: Increasing Youth Employability in the Oil and Gas Sector

In collaboration with the Petroleum Technology Development Fund of the Federal Government opf Nigeria, UNITAR PHPO has developed a Technical Training and Manpower Capacity Building Programme to provide 39 Nigerian scholars with a specialized Mechanical Engineering Bachelor in petroleum, marine and subsea engineering, and innovation and entrepreneurship engineering. 

The tailor-made programme aims at increasing indigenous capacity to exploit and manage local oil and gas resources. At the end of the 3-year curriculum delivered by the Stord Haugesund University College (SHUC) in Norway, scholars will graduate as bachelors in Mechanical Engineering Degree with specialization in Petroleum Technology and Marine Construction, in compliance with European Quality Framework Level 6.

For more information, please click here.

For more information, please contact:

Division for People and Social Inclusion, UNITAR



Share with