Young leaders for the SDGs, group of young people

Calling on young change-makers: the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth is looking for the next generation of Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)!

About the ‘Young Leaders for the SDGs’ Flagship Initiative:

On a biennial basis, 17 outstanding young leaders from across various sectors are recognized for their agency, courage and ingenuity in finding lasting solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. 

Throughout the two-year term, these Young Leaders will engage young people for the 2030 Agenda, not only through their existing initiatives, platforms and networks but through advocacy opportunities with the United Nations and its partners. 

Becoming a Young Leader is a title of recognition from the United Nations for young people who are excelling in their contributions to helping deliver on the SDGs in their communities.

Learn more about our former classes of Young Leaders for the SDGs: 2016 Class, 2018 Class, 2020 Class.

Applications for the 2022 Class closed on 7 April 2022. We are pleased to have received impressive submissions from young people across the world! The upcoming class of Young Leaders will be announced in September 2022. If you have applied and are waiting to hear back from us, we would greatly appreciate your patience as our office reviews all applications carefully. We will notify you of the status of your application and if any additional actions or information are needed to process your application.

Candidates are selected based on the following criteria: 

  • Leadership – Ability to influence and motivate others
  • Innovation – Uniqueness and ingenuity
  • Scalability – Potential to benefit others beyond their current scope of impact
  • Impact – Measurable outcomes directly linked to their work
  • Presentation – Inspire and motivate others through storytelling

Other factors that are taken into consideration are: 

  • Achievement – Commitment to promoting and advancing key areas of the SDGs
  • Influence – Commitment to inclusive and innovative leadership
  • Integrity – Commitment to core values of the United Nations

Young leaders actively support the following objectives: 

  • Advocate – Advocate for the SDGs in ways most accessible and relevant to young people across different contexts
  • Engage – Promote innovative ways of engaging their audiences and peers in the advocacy and realization of the SDGs
  • Build – Contribute to a brain trust of young leaders supporting the UN and partners for key moments and initiatives related to the SDGs