RCE SDG Youth Challenge

Youth for the Goals - The RCE SDG Youth Challenge

Today’s youth face extraordinary global challenges. Youth are bombarded with messages about their future and challenged to make positive change, yet are not often given the chance to constructively do so at a meaningful local level. The RCE SDG Youth Challenge “Youth for the Goals” is an international youth-led project-based initiative run annually that connects youth leaders working in their own communities to a larger global platform that includes mentoring support and peer validation. The initiative aimed to engage and empower local youth leaders with the opportunity to have a voice and implement their own place-based projects on issues that mattered to them. Each project is shaped by its youth leader and/or youth team to address the needs of their communities in line with the Challenge theme. All projects cross cut through SDG 4: Quality Education and SDG 17: Partnerships, and address ESD priority areas Priority Action Area 4: Empowering and mobilizing youth and Priority Action Area 5: Accelerating local level actions. Using a peer-peer learning model, youth drive change from a grassroots level incorporating Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) principles. Acknowledged as a youth-for-youth project by the Global RCE network, the initiative was originally developed and led by the A-P Youth Regional Coordinators, Brittany (RCE Greater Western Sydney, Australia) and Emmy (RCE Yogyakarta, Indonesia, until 2019), and later soley led by RCE Greater Western Sydney (2020 - 2021).

Highlight summary for the SDG Youth Challenge 2018 - 2021, with SDGs represented

Year by Year Challenges

RCE SDG Youth Challenge 2021 (SDG 11, SDG 12 and SDG 15)

The 4th annual RCE SDG Youth Challenge 2021 was a continuation from 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19 the previous year. It again focused on localised action taken by youth to address SDG 11: Sustainable Cities, SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 15: Life on Land, and their associated targets. This year’s youth-led sustainability projects have been broad and included education awareness raising, youth empowerment and training, conservation projects and social enterprises. Youth leaders spent time building partnerships to support their projects either through mentoring, funding, donations of goods and services or access to youth and non-youth participants (such as teachers, parents and community members).

Download the final report 'Youth for the Goals 2021: Resilient Communities and Planet' (PDF, 3001.33 KB) (opens in a new window)

This is the final year the RCE SDG Youth Challenge under the leadership of RCE Greater Western Sydney. RCEs in the global network are encouraged to adapt this Challenge and lead it into the future with fresh ideas and innovations.

RCE SDG Youth Challenge 2020 (SDG 11, SDG 12 and SDG 15)

The 3rd annual RCE SDG Youth Challenge 2020 “Youth for the Goals: Resilient Communities and Planet” was hosted by RCE Greater Western Sydney (Western Sydney University). It focused on localised action to address SDG 11 Sustainable Cities, SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 15 Life on Land. Commencing in February 2020, this year’s youth-led sustainability projects have been broad and included virtual summits, school workshops and DIY activities, training courses, conservation camps, restoration activities, design competitions, and e-learning development. The Challenge still persisted despite the impacts of COVID-19, with many projects changing their original project plans to adapt to worldwide lock down orders and the new ways of online learning, working and engaging.

Download the 'Youth for the Goals 2020: Resilient Communities and Planet' (PDF, 11596.67 KB) (opens in a new window) report.

RCE SDG Youth Challenge 2019 (SDG 1, SDG 6 and SDG 10)

The Youth SDG Challenge 2019 commenced in February with a focus on SDG 1: No Poverty, SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation and SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities. This year’s projects include clean-ups, photography workshops, youth/school conferences and workshops, technological and app innovations, registered training courses and disability e-sports. In total, 10 individual youth-led sustainability projects were delivered across the globe from youth in Australia, America, India, Malaysia, South Korea and Mexico. This year they collectively engaged over 8,000 individuals.

Download the 'Youth for the Goals 2019: Social Equality' (PDF, 7055.18 KB) (opens in a new window)' report.

This initiative was a finalist in the 2019 Green Green Awards in Benefitting Society, and in the 2019 Okayama ESD Awards. Watch the highlight video.

Asia-Pacific SDG Youth Challenge 2018 (SDG 13 and SDG 14)

The first Asia-Pacific Youth SDG Challenge focused on Goal 13 Climate Action and Goal 14 Life Below Water, using a global peer-peer learning model which was youth focused and driven from a grass-roots level. The challenge concluded with a Virtual Youth Summit providing the opportunity to share stories and projects online with a global audience celebrating their achievements. In total, the SDG Challenge involved 23 projects and engaged directly with 8,800 youth across the region in Malaysia, Vietnam, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Australia and Bogotá.

Download the 'Youth for the Goals 2018: Climate Action and Life Below Water (PDF, 8512.25 KB)' report.

This initiative has been recognised by the Global RCE Secretariat for a ‘Outstanding Flagship Award’ at the 11th Global RCE Conference in Cebu, Philippines in December 2018.