Youth and the Sustainable Development Goals: Challenges and Opportunities

On October 30-31, 2016, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS), in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and its Youth Initiative (SDSN Youth), will host the Vatican Youth Symposium at the Casina Pio IV in Vatican City.

This two-day conference brings together 50 young leaders, from over 30 countries and a variety of disciplines, to co-generate solutions for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The conference includes a series of interactive workshops focused on sharing knowledge, generating ideas and operationalizing solutions to the SDGs.

The Vatican Youth Symposium will be opened by Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the SDGs and the Director of SDSN, and H.E. Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. His Holiness Pope Francis has also been invited to speak.

The Vatican Youth Symposium represents a powerful platform where young leaders, critical agents of change, will channel their capacities toward the creation of a better world. Two winning SDG-focused solutions will be selected at the conclusion of the conference by a panel of judges chaired by SDSN experts, SDSN Youth and their partners. The winning projects will be presented at the Low Emissions Solutions Conference during the Conference of Parties (COP22) and will be featured in a special section of the Youth Solutions Report.

SDG solutions discussed and generated at the Vatican Symposium will be wide-ranging and multifaceted given the interconnected nature of the 17 SDGs. The Symposium will also have a special focus on solutions for SDG 4: Quality Education and SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, with additional emphasis on Target 8.7 (to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor).

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was launched at UN Headquarters in September 2015 and adopted by 193 member countries of the UN. The SDGs, which are relevant to all countries, aim to achieve social inclusion, economic prosperity and environmental sustainability.

The Vatican Youth Symposium was made possible by the generosity and support of Dr Betsee Parker.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, founded in Rome on 17 August 1603, is the only supranational academy of sciences in the world. Its headquarters are in the Casina Pio IV, a 16th century Renaissance villa in the Vatican Gardens. Its mission is to honor pure science, ensure its freedom and encourage research.

SDSN Youth is the youth initiative of SDSN and focused on empowering youth globally to create sustainable development solutions. SDSN Youth educates young people about the challenges of sustainable development and creates opportunities for them to use their creativity and knowledge to pioneer innovative solutions for the SDGs. SDSN Youth creates platforms for young people to connect, collaborate and integrate their ideas and perspectives within the public policy field.

Media enquiries: For accreditation please contact the Vatican Press Office at

All journalists and media organizations wishing to apply for accreditation may request TEMPORARY accreditation through the online form of the Media Operations Section of the Holy See Press Office website.

Journalists and media organizations regularly accredited at the Holy See Press Office may send their request through the usual channels. All requests must be sent no less than 48 hours before the event.