Insight & Analysis

Press release: Asia Pacific’s largest youth social entrepreneurs gathering highlights climate action

Published: Jul 2022

6th July 2022 – Close to 250 participants representing 20 countries and territories gathered in Singapore to discuss how they can help tackle the world’s most pressing challenges at the Youth Co:Lab Regional Summit 2022. Centered around the themes of Youth in Climate Action and Leaving No Youth Behind, attendees united behind a common agenda to accelerate the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through leadership, social innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Newspaper press release

Hosted in Singapore the hybrid summit by Citi Foundation and UNDP is being held in partnership with the National Youth Council Singapore (NYC). Over 3,000 people also registered to join us online from more than 100 countries through the Youth Co:Lab virtual platforms.

During the two-day summit, attendees will engage with private and public stakeholders including governments, investors, incubators, and accelerators, to discuss youth leadership and empowerment for sustainable development, innovative financing solutions, gender inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem, and the future of work.

The summit was launched with opening remarks by a series of key speakers that included Mr. Christophe Bahuet, UNDP’s Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific; Mr. Peter Babej, Asia Pacific CEO, Citi; Mr. Alvin Tan, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, and Trade and Industry of Singapore; Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth; Ms. Lei Motilla, Co-Founder, AI4GOV, Philippines; and Ms. Michelle Yeoh, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador.

“With Asia Pacific being home to 60% of young people worldwide, it is crucial that we harness the ingenuity and potential of youth in the region to address society’s most pressing concerns, including climate change,” said Peter Babej, Asia Pacific CEO, Citi. “The annual Youth Co: Lab Summit will further expand the ecosystem that is being created to support social entrepreneurship among youth in the region by bringing together relevant stakeholders and participants. Along with our partners at UNDP, we are committed to creating economic and employment opportunities for young people in the region while advancing the UN SDGs,” he added.

“If given space and a voice, the youth are powerful actors in addressing some of the world’s toughest development challenges and UNDP is committed to supporting and mobilizing young people, especially social entrepreneurs who are driving innovation in communities across the Asia Pacific region,” said Christophe Bahuet Deputy Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific. “This summit is an invaluable opportunity to join with these young determined drivers of social justice and enterprise, to expand our efforts towards building a greener, more inclusive, and sustainable future.”

Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, and Trade and Industry, Alvin Tan kicked off the summit with opening remarks centred around the importance of partnerships in empowering and equipping our youth to take action.

Over twenty young social entrepreneurs will also pitch their innovative solutions on the themes of Climate Action, Women Empowerment and Leaving No One Behind.

The Summit will also look at the catalytic role young social entrepreneurs can play in tackling the climate crisis. The findings from a Youth Co:Lab research report titled Climate Concern to Climate Action: The Role of Young Social Entrepreneurs, will be the focus of that discussion. In a survey conducted of 1,085 young entrepreneurs from 25 countries across the region, 74 percent said they anticipate climate-related challenges to negatively impact their business; and 66percent said they are actively engaged in offering products or services to mitigate the impact of climate change through policy, advocacy and education, and skilling for green jobs. Findings from the study will be formally launched after the summit.

Implemented in 28 countries and territories, Youth Co:Lab, co-created by UNDP and the Citi Foundation, in 2017, is the largest youth movement for empowerment, social entrepreneurship, equality, and social inclusion in Asia Pacific. Young people all over the world are responding to present day challenges with innovative approaches and fresh ideas, building bridges and creating the world they want. Youth Co:Lab works closely with multiple stakeholders across the region, including governments, civil society and the private sector, to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem and policy environment, to better enable young people to take the lead on new solutions that will help achieve the SDGs.

Since its inception, the initiative has reached over 200,000 participants, benefitted over 11,000 young social entrepreneurs, and helped launch or improve over 1,240 social enterprises.

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