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Deadline :  22nd February 2022

Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development Youth Event 2022 for Young Changemakers in Asia Pacific

Calling all Young Changemakers in #AsiaPacific! Cheering megaphone

The #APFSD Youth Event 2022 is NOW accepting applications. Take the SOLUTIONS CHALLENGE to solve pressing regional issues.

Are you in?

UN ESCAP invites you, as a young changemaker, to submit your solutions to two challenge questions. Your solution may be completely new or currently in a pilot/implementation phase. For each challenge question, ten solutions will be selected, 20 in total. You are invited to submit your solution to only one of the two challenge questions.

The 20 selected candidates will form a team with other candidates that were shortlisted for the same challenge question and be invited to a multi-stage solutions bootcamp. Together, as a team, you will collaborate to craft your final solution. Each group will be mentored by UN policy experts who will be at your disposal to help refine your solution and get ready to present and discuss it with senior leaders during the APFSD Youth event on March 31, 2022.

This event is the opportunity for young changemakers to discuss and present innovative solutions that can accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and engage with a large audience interested in the topic.

Interested youths are invited to submit a solution to one of the two challenge questions below:

  • Challenge question 1:

    Powering the underfunded: What is your solution to help women-led Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to access finance and markets?

    Even before COVID-19, women entrepreneurs in Asia and the Pacific are already falling behind in accessing finance with a financing gap as high as $6 billion in a number of countries. Lack of access to finance is a key factor in limiting business growth in the case of women-owned enterprises. A myriad of barriers is preventing women entrepreneurs of MSMEs from accessing finance. For example, banks loans require collaterals in the form of fixed assets which women are less likely to own than their male counterparts. Many women-led micro businesses operate in the informal sector and therefore, lack the right documentation and business records to qualify for financing. Educational and digital constraints leading to lack of access to markets and market information further result in lower productivity, less profitability, and lower chances of expansion for women-owned or led enterprises. As a result, women entrepreneurs tend to have lower levels of financial and digital capabilities than men and may have a lack of confidence or an aversion to risk that can inhibit the use of financial products.

    We invite proposals for creative, credible, and practical solutions to lift the barriers for women-led MSMEs to access finance and markets. They need to focus on a concrete and specific barrier for the growth and resilience of women-led MSMEs.

  • Challenge question 2:

    Broadening youth participation in climate policy processes:

    Inclusive participation in policy formulation is key to solving current and future major societal challenges. The wider and effective engagement of multiple stakeholders is essential for policies to address different legitimate needs, reduce risks of policy failure, and open ways for transformational strategies and game-changing partnerships. This is particularly relevant in the area of policies to tackle climate change, where countries in Asia and the Pacific are falling short of the level of ambition needed to avoid a climate crisis and move towards a just transition. Youth have been instrumental in advocating for urgent climate actions. However, the contribution of youth to the policymaking process is often limited due to the lack of resources and time and unequal levels of power in the policymaking process. It is important to ensure that youths can see their views reflected in this process, from agenda-setting to policy formulation, adoption, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

    What is your solution to engage youths, including the most marginalized and vulnerable groups, in national and regional climate change policymaking processes? How can your solution help ensure youths’ contributions go beyond participation to having an impact on national and regional policies?

    We invite proposals for creative, credible and practical ways to engage youths in national and regional (Asia-Pacific) level policy processes for climate change. Applicants may wish to select an aspect of climate action (for example, energy transition, trade and investment, building science, technology and innovation capabilities, investing in ecosystem services, low carbon transportation) as a focus for the proposal. The proposals should address the barriers to youth participation in policymaking, particularly those faced by youths from marginalized groups and work towards impactful youth participation in policymaking.

Why does this Matter?

Because youth actions matter if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The promise of “Our Common Agenda” is that the young people today and next generations will be important to shape the future. In Asia and the Pacific, many of these seeds of transformation have already been planted within the region by young innovators.

It is important to give youths the platform for what can be done to create the change needed for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific, especially as actions taken today will affect future generations.

Who can Participate?

  • Any applicant whose nationality is one of ESCAP’s 53 member States and 9 Associate Member States and ranging between 13-30 years of age can submit their solutions to one of the challenge questions.
  • Applicants are invited to apply individually. If the solution is shared by a group of people, a team, or an institution, the applicant must be the lead applicant with the consent of others. Organizers are not responsible for any dispute arising from the ownership of the submission in this case.

What do I need to submit?

Interested participants are invited to pick a challenge of their interest and answer the following questions:

  • The specific issue that you are going to address and the target group(s) (150 words)
  • The solution you are proposing, how it solves the problem you set out to address and the time frame of the solution? (300 words)
  • The resources and networks you mobilise and reach out to in order to implement the solution? (100 words)
  • Can this solution be scaled up, by who and how? (100 words)

If this is a solution you are already piloting and/or implementing, please share with us the necessary links.

Submissions will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Impact
  • Feasibility
  • Sustainability
  • Novelty
  • Evidence-based
  • Comprehensibility
  • Alignment with UN’s strategic goals

Reward

All participants of the challenge will receive:

  • Professional advice from industry experts on how to succeed in the job market,
  • Access to a dedicated training session on how to start a career with the UN, and
  • A certificate of participation.

The winners will also receive individual coaching sessions with UN mentors – focusing on career exchange.

Participating in the Challenge and the APFSD Youth Event does not require traveling. Participation will be through virtual connection, including discussions in the lead-up to the APFSD Youth Event and at the Event itself.

Challenge phases and timeline

  • Challenge Launch: February 9, 2022 via UNESCAP’s social media channels and other networks.

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