UN Environment Young Champions of the Earth Competition 263 views

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UN Environment is calling on young environmentalists to take part in the inaugural 2017 Young Champions of the Earth Competition. As Young Champions of the Earth aims to nurture the next generation of environmental leaders, the winners will receive seed funding, intensive training, and tailored mentorship to help them bring their big environmental ideas to life.

Entrants have to submit technological inventions and innovative business models that will improve the planet’s health. UN Environment is looking for young people with big ideas to protect or restore the environment; or who have a vision for a more sustainable future; or who possess a track record of instigating change.

Six Young Champions of the Earth will be selected, 1 from each of the 6 world regions in which UN Environment operates – Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, and West Asia. Winners will be invited to attend the Champions of the Earth Gala Dinner, to be held in Nairobi in December 2017.


Each of the 6 Young Champions of the Earth will receive:

  • US$15,000 in seed funding;
  • An all-expense paid attendance at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, December 2017, and the United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 2018;
  • An introduction to over 100 environment ministers at the Champions of the Earth Gala Dinner;
  • Publicity and recognition through online and global media;
  • Access to high-profile mentors and customized training in communications, project planning, financial management, etc.; and
  • Participation in an all-expense paid 1-week entrepreneurship “bootcamp” in Europe in the first quarter of 2018. This includes an insiders’ tour of Covestro’s innovation labs and visits to other hotspots of European innovation.


Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 30 on 15 November 2017, who can be from any sector. Only 1 entry is allowed per person. Applications will be assessed according to the 3 Ps: the positive impact the big idea could have on the environment (planet) and society (people), and its financial viability (prosperity). Applicants will be judged also by their demonstrated commitment, as evidenced for example, by attempts made to implement their ideas and reports on trial runs, prototypes, or preliminary research results.

They will also be assessed on the 3 Cs: evidence that they are curious, courageous, and colourful individuals. The big ideas proposed should contribute to the attainment of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, namely, the environment-related UN Sustainable Development Goals. The strength of the project sponsor’s recommendation is also vital.


Applications are to be done online by 18 June 2017. Each application must be sponsored by an individual falling into 1 of the following categories:

  • Senior staff person at a registered and reputable environmental or youth-focused organization;
  • University professor; or
  • Senior staff person at a business that has received third party recognition for its sustainability efforts (e.g. through prizes, media coverage, affiliation with initiatives like the UN Global Compact, or membership of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development).

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