Youth Engagement and Innovation to Promote Sustainable Development

Sep 1, 2016

Launch of the Panda Solar Stations - Youth Engagement and Innovation to Promote Sustainable Development

Beijing, 1 September: A new initiative was jointly launched today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and China Merchants New Energy (CMNE), designed to promote public consciousness about environmental-friendly technologies and sustainable development, as well as to encourage youth participation in innovation enterprises for social good. The campaign hopes to engage and inspire the youth in China and elsewhere in the world to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provide a platform to solicit ideas on helping to tackle some of the toughest development challenges.

In September 2015, countries around the world adopted a set of global goals to end poverty, fix climate change, tackle inequality and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. In order to achieve the goals, UNDP is dedicated to engaging the youth as a positive force for transformational change.

“This initiative hopes to engage, inspire and empower the youth in China. With youth comes energy, innovation, and optimism and this initiative will provide a platform for the youth to contribute to sustainable development through innovative thinking and actions,” said Agi Veres, Country Director of UNDP China.

Energy also plays a vital role in achieving all the goals, in particular SDG 7- affordable and clean energy, which highlights how energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today. The landmark Paris Agreement reached last December commits all countries to holding global temperature rise to “well below 2 degrees Celsius”. This goal will require a multi-sector response to identify innovative solutions.

To tackle this challenge head-on, the CMNE is committed to building a series of solar energy stations in the shape of a panda. “Every country needs real actions for carbon reduction. Technological transfer and innovations are essential,” said Alan Li, CEO of CMNE. “The panda solar power stations offer a unique opportunity to take action against climate change and contribute towards the achievement of the SDGs.”

Overall, the partnership will leverage the success of the ongoing global campaign to promote the SDGs through our first ever UNDP Animal Ambassadors – the twin panda cubs from the Chengdu Panda Base. The campaign uses the world wide appeal of pandas as an innovative approach to engaging the wider public on these Global Goals. This new partnership will set forth this idea by engaging youth representatives through online platforms, and help them to translate their creative development solutions into concrete results, specifically through innovation challenges. In addition, the initiative will aim to empower the youth in China and build up their capacity through identification and facilitation of international exchange leadership practices. 

Contact information

Ms. ZHANG Wei, UNDP China Chief Communications Officer Tel: +8610 8532 0715, Email:

Agi Veres, Country Director of UNDP China & Alan Li, CEO of CMNE sign the MOU for UNDP China & CMNE's new partnership
Agi Veres, Country Director of UNDP China, delivers welcome remarks at the launch event
Alan Li, CEO of CMNE, delivers a speech at the launch event
Young children paint with their hands to represent the youth for the global panda campaign

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