In recognition of the vital role youth play in achieving development goals, UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab State  RBAS launched a Youth Leadership Programme (YLP) in 2015. YLP aims to empower change-makers and support the young women and men to design and implement innovative, impactful, and sustainable development solutions, whether in the form of social enterprises, nonprofits, NGOs, initiatives, or campaigns. The programme’s specific objectives are to:
  • Promote and support innovative thinking and leadership among youth;
  • Accelerate implementation of pioneering solutions for sustainable development;
  • Build networks of young men and women who are able to create change and have a positive sustainable impact in their communities, countries, and region;
  • Showcase the achievements of young men and women as change-makers in their communities.
Within the framework of the YLP, UNDP Lebanon is working with the youth to transform their ideas for social change into sustainable projects by developing their leadership potential and improving their skills in various social innovation approaches and methodologies. The programme also aims to strengthen the gender sensitive lens and skills during brainstorming and implementation, improve advocacy and presentation skills, and help create a dynamic network of young leaders and innovators.

During the Programme, the youth are first and foremost introduced to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the 193-member states of the United Nations in 2015. The 2030 Agenda pledges to leave no one behind, by trying to reach those who are furthest behind and the most vulnerable. The 2030 Agenda also sets high expectations for all countries’ progress in addressing challenges such as

  • Poverty
  • Health
  • Education
  • Gender Equality and Women’s empowerment
  • Peace building and civic engagement
  • Inequality
  • Environment protection and governance
  • Climate change
Youths in YLP1 (2015)
Youths in YLP2 (2016)
Youths in YLP3 (2017)
Youths in YLP4 (2018)
Youths in YLP5 (2019)

February of every year, UNDP Lebanon launches an open call for youth aged between 19 and 29 from all over Lebanon. Consequently, a screening of the applications will occur to determine the most qualified and ambitious participants. The selection of the participants is fully based on the chosen development challenge that they are willing to solve, its relevance in the current time, and the innovation and creativity that it would bring along, as well as its benefits to the social good and may be considered more prominent to the accomplishment of the SDGs. The selected youth will have the chance to participate in many hands on activities and technical workshops with youth serving organizations transitioning from the idea phase to a real prototyped project. In addition to that, the top five participants who show commitment and dedication to the series of hands –on activities will have a chance to participate in the regional workshops organized by UNDP RBAS, where further technical support will be provided. These regional workshops provide an opportunity to broaden the horizons of young men and women to debate, discuss, and explore issues that hinder the progress of youth in the Arab region with their peers coming from different Arab countries.

After attending the regional workshop, two participants from each participating Arab country will be selected to attend the United Nations Economic and Social Council ECOSOC conference taking place every year in New York. The youth will have the opportunity to work with young people from all over the world in order to promote collective action for a sustainable world. UNDP will also provide the opportunity for youth to meet with high level Arab countries’ ambassadors to present their projects and discuss the development challenges they face in their community. This will highlight their potential and skills in recognizing the challenges and identifying their efforts in finding an innovative approach to resolve them, thus gaining exposure in front of the Arab leaders.

In 2018, and in order to reach more youth, UNDP Lebanon implemented the YLP activities through five Youth Serving Organizations all over Lebanon. These organizations and NGOs have experience in educating and preparing youth to become successful entrepreneurs, public speakers and better advocates for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Hence, UNDP expanded knowledge of these organizations to better support youth-led initiatives and change-makers at the national level by deepening their knowledge of design thinking and familiarizing them with additional social innovation methodologies and technologies. The 2018 Lebanon YLP youth serving organizations partners were: Injaz, Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), Siraj Akkar, Nabad for Development – Bekaa, and Sheild – South. With the support of 2018 YLP partners, UNDP supported 500 youth in developing their innovative ideas into prototypes, and more than 20 of them run their own start-ups.

2018 Partners
2019 Partners

In 2019, UNDP continues to support youth and enhance the capacity of four Youth serving organizations. The 2019 partners are: Injaz, Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), Riyada for Social Innovation, and the Lebanese International University (LIU). More than 800 youth were targeted in 2019.

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