Youth Engage with Nordic Countries, Vatican on SDGs
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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Recent activities to raise awareness, engage youth in implementing the SDGs and create SDG ownership include the Youth Day convened by the Nordic countries during the UN Climate Change Conference and the launch of #Generation2030, a programme for implementing the SDGs.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences and SDSN Youth convened the 2017 Vatican Youth Symposium, and Gaia Education and UNESCO developed ‘SDGs Flashcards’ to build community ownership of the SDGs.

9 November 2017: The newly launched Generation 2030 column of the SDG Knowledge Hub seeks to highlight areas where students and young professionals are actively engaging in the SDGs, and the issues on which they are seeking to have an impact. In this light, we report on recent activities to raise awareness, engage youth in implementing the SDGs and create SDG ownership, including the Youth Day convened by the Nordic countries during the UN Climate Change Conference that is currently underway in Bonn, Germany, and a youth symposium that took place in Vatican City, Italy. In addition, an education partnership has developed training materials to engage local communities in the SDGs.

The Nordic Council of Ministers, comprising Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, as well as the Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Åland Islands, held Nordic Youth Day during the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 23). During the Day, which took place on 6 November, the governments held the launch of #Generation2030, a joint programme for implementing the 2030 Agenda that emphasizes the involvement of children and young people as agents of change. The programme will provide analysis and methodology development, while supporting the involvement of Nordic civil society organisations, the private sector, Nordic research networks, and youth organisations in 2030 Agenda efforts in the Nordic Region.

A topic of particular emphasis is the Nordic countries’ common challenge of sustainable consumption and production (SCP), which is the subject of SDG 12. The Council describes SCP as “an area in which the Nordic Region has furthest to come.” The Ministers for Nordic Co-operation adopted the Generation 2030 programme on 5 September 2017, with a budget of DKK 12.9 million until 2020. At the launch event, youth delegates networked with policy makers and business leaders, and discussed the role of different generations in reaching the SDGs, especially SDGs 12 and 13 (Climate action).

Other segments of the Nordic Youth Day encouraged young people to share local and national experiences on taking action to combat climate change and considered the role of governments in fostering the engagement of youth, NGOs and businesses in awareness raising, mainstreaming climate change into education, and promoting relevant education in schools. Participants at the event also addressed resources needed by young people to take meaningful climate action, and ways to empower youth to lead the transition to a low-carbon future at the local level, including through social and technological innovation and globally coordinated resource mobilization.

From 13-15 October, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Youth convened the 2017 Vatican Youth Symposium, gathering young leaders from a variety of disciplines to discuss efforts to achieve the SDGs. The symposium considered the theme, ‘Youth as Stewards of our Planet for a More Fraternal and Supportive Society.’ Participants considered ways to ensure that no one is left behind, protecting the planet and the environment, eradication of modern slavery and human trafficking, and the role of partnerships in ensuring young people are able to develop a more fraternal and supportive society, among other topics.

SDSN Youth is the youth initiative of SDSN, which seeks to educate young people about the SDGs and to create platforms for young people to connect, collaborate and integrate their ideas and perspectives into national and regional pathways for SDG implementation.

In other news, Gaia Education, in partnership with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development, developed ‘SDGs Flashcards’ to build community ownership of the SDGs. The flashcards contain more than 200 questions structured into four dimensions of sustainability: social, ecological, economic and worldview. Gaia Education has also designed an SDGs Training for Multipliers to engage local communities and build capacity on ways to implement the 17 SDGs and their 169 targets at the local and regional levels. As part of the training, SDG flashcards are used to help structure small group dialogues on how to take action for the SDGs in relevant ways for their lives and communities. [Nordic Co-operation Webpage on Nordic Youth Day] [Generation 2030 Launch] [2017 Vatican Youth Symposium Website] [SDG Flashcards Webpage]


We invite students and young professionals to propose short (700-900 words) blog posts to be published on the Generation 2030 column in the SDG Knowledge Hub. We especially encourage case studies of SDG implementation or reviews of implementation data related to one or more of the SDGs. To explore this opportunity further, please contact

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