18 September 2020 - UN-Habitat and Fondation Botnar are aiming to make cities and communities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable through unlocking the innovation and creativity of young men and women.

The Future Cities Challenge (FCC) engages children and young people (age 10-24) to learn more about the cities they live in and provide innovative ideas on what the “new normal” could be. The Challenge provides a platform through which young people can bring their creativity and discover urban solutions that can address many of the challenges cities face today.

“Young people are future city leaders,” stated FCC Champion Gadjo Emmanuelle Laurinda, age 25, from Benin. “Therefore they should be considered as important stakeholders in the development planning of cities as each decision taken will affect their lives.”

Gadjo is one of five champions from around the world who are engaging young people globally through the Challenge.  

The Future Cities Challenge gives the opportunity for young people to submit their ideas and have the chance to win USD 1000 worth in credits to take online courses. Those interested in participating can do so at  www.futurecitieschallenge.org. They can also follow the Challenge on social media with the hastag #FuturesCitiesChallenge.

Both UN-Habitat and the Fondation Botnar are committed to youth as leaders of today, not only tomorrow.

“At Fondation Botnar, we believe it is crucial for children and young people to have platforms to have conversations that matter to them,” said Stefan Germann, CEO of the Foundation, “We also believe that creativity can be an essential tool to share ideas and spark interesting discussions. We are excited to partner with UN-Habitat to listen and learn from young people about their future aspirations for their cities.”

Young men and women’s leadership, especially those living in the burgeoning cities and towns of the world, is especially important during this trying time, where the pandemic has hit young people very hard, and development has possibly been pushed back for a decade or more.

“The battle to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be won or lost in cities and it will be young men and women who will be leading the charge through their innovation and drive,” said Raf Tuts, Director of UN-Habitat’s Global Solutions Division. “The pandemic has made it much harder to achieve the Goals, yet UN-Habitat and Fondation Botnar have provided hope for our common future by engaging young people’s innovative spirit and know how through initiatives like the Future Cities Challenge.“

In addition to the Future Cities Challenge, a survey on Young People’s Wellbeing is being undertaken for children and for youth which will help design further programming. Please take the survey and ensure young people have a voice.