Beijing, August 27, 2021 – The 4th annual National Dialogue was convened virtually from 23th to 27th August and was co-hosted by the United Nations Development Programme, the China Soong Ching Ling Science & Culture Centre for Young People and Citi China to empower Chinese youth in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The theme of this year’s National Dialogue was Climate Action, encouraging young people with technology and digital skills to design innovative, inclusive and sustainable solutions to address climate issues.
65 participants across 29 teams were selected to take part in the event. Among the 65 participants, 63 percent were women, 25 percent were youth from rural areas, and 5 percent were youth from ethnic minority communities.
Co-created in 2017 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to establish a common agenda for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to empower and invest in youth, so that they can accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship. National Dialogues are an important element of Youth Co:Lab, and have had an impact on young people across the Asia-Pacific region. Since its journey began, Youth Co:Lab has been involved in 25 countries and territories in the region, attracting more than 75,000 young attendees. Each National Dialogue brings together local youth, government, private sector and academia with the aim of promoting an enabling environment for entrepreneurship and strengthening the capabilities of youth to adopt 21st century business models for social development.
Mr. Devanand Ramiah, the Resident Representative a.i. of UNDP China, encouraged young people to bear in mind three words in future endeavors during his remarks at the opening ceremony, “innovation, inclusiveness and sustainability”. “In combating climate change, one of the defining challenges of the twenty-first century, the actions of the youth will be critical,” he said.
During the 5-day virtual National Dialogue, young entrepreneurs gained mentorship support, and were exposed to successful stories and lessons. They also received training on climate action, thematic design thinking, and digitalization, to assist them in designing inclusive, needs-based solutions with potential business viability. On the 27th, the 29 youth start-ups presented their innovative business models on addressing climate issues.
“We want young people to work together to put forward green, innovative, inclusive and sustainable solutions to address climate issues with technology and digital skills. We hope young people can be active drivers of social change and contribute to the realization of SDGs,” said Ms. Zhang Ruige, the Deputy Director General of the China Soong Ching Science & Culture Centre for Young People.
“Citi has always been a fervent supporter of efforts that help better the lives of youth around the world, especially disadvantaged youth. We are more than delighted to see that Chinese youth are zealous participants of all social causes and we aspire to work with all stakeholders to support and empower youth for a better tomorrow,” said Mr. Teng Hongjun, Executive Vice President of Citibank China Co, Ltd.
Winners of the 2020 National Dialogue China include GCMD, a project dedicated to the realization of automated and intelligent classification of domestic waste and Carbonbase, a solution provider for carbon measurement and carbon neutrality.
"Garbage classification is an important way to achieve carbon emission reduction, but the complexity of classification knowledge and the lack of special equipment hinder people from participating in waste classification in their homes. We hope that through the development of a domestic waste classification system based on multi-modal detection, automatic detection and classification of domestic waste can be realized, contributing to SDG 11 sustainable cities and communities, and encouraging more people to participate in waste classification,” said GCMD
“Humans extract about 60 billion tons of resources from nature every year, an increase of 80% in just a few decades. Since 1980, human emissions of greenhouse gases have doubled, and the global temperature has increased by at least 0.7 degrees centigrade.” Carbonbase is using emerging technologies such as big data analysis and blockchain to create green value and beyond, from production to consumption, aiming to empower companies to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
UNDP is exploring partnerships to sustain and empower these youth-led social enterprises in achieving the SDGs. This year, the 8 winners of National Dialogue China were awarded with 300,000 CYN Youth Innovation Grants supported by OPPO and 3-months of online incubation. In addition, they will have the chance to participate in the Regional Youth Co:Lab Summit to be held in 2022. Representing Chinese youth, they will showcase their start-up projects along with youth from 24 other countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region and show how young generations can contribute to the realization of SDGs through social innovation and entrepreneurship.