Although the world is on its way towards sustainability, we face numerous challenges, including the elimination of global poverty, reduction of inequality, climate change mitigation, improvement of soil fertility, and water conservation, among many others.

Over the past decade, the solutions have been sought within high-level discussions among international bodies, governments, non-profit organizations and civil societies with little or no involvement of young people. This problem lies at the root of the establishment of the Youth and United Nations Global Alliance (YUNGA) – a partnership between the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and a variety of grassroots organizations that work with children and young people.  

YUNGA, a gateway for young people all over the world to take part in United Nations initiatives, aims to engage them in key activities of environmental and social concern at both national and international levels. As of today, YUNGA has branches in over 20 countries across the globe. On September 21, 2019, based on a collaboration between FAO and Awaji Youth Federation, YUNGA Japan was officially launched.

YUNGA Japan’s mission is to inspire the next generation of Japanese young people to be active agents of change by creating a community of like-minded youth interested in creating a better world. YUNGA Japan helps young people understand global problems and the value their voices can have. They do this through events that focus on educational activities and group discussions.

To celebrate World Soil Day on December 7, the team organized an event for local youth, to educate them on the role soil plays in our environment and health and encourage them to take an active part in agricultural activities. To mark the beginning of 2020, YUNGA Japan invited local families for a Fun Day, where they enjoyed games and workshops, while strengthening connections with the local community.

As a result of these events, YUNGA Japan engaged over 350 young people inside and outside Awaji Island, established contacts with several schools in Hyogo and Kansai, and initiated a collaboration with the Kansai SDG Platform (KSP) hosted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

This year, YUNGA is holding a 7-month ambassador program where 24 youths will dive deep into pressing global challenges and create projects that address solutions at a local community level. Through a mixture of inspiring lectures, interactive workshops, and challenges, ambassadors will gain knowledge of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and build a foundation of skills in project management, communication and leadership.

Many sessions have been held for the ambassador programs and a wide variety of topics have been discussed by the ambassadors and the speakers. Some of the speakers are Santiago Martinez who is an expert in business & storytelling, Adam Claydon-Patt who is currently COO & Director of Global DX Inc, Ms. Akemi Aota who is the Executive Officer of Pasona Group Inc. as well as Managing Director of Pasona Asia Co. Limited, and many more.

The objective of some of the sessions include equipping students with essential skills to be successful at actualizing their ideas into projects, management skills, project management, presentation ability, environmental awareness, leadership, and more.

YUNGA Japan believes that, with the help of AYF members, it can provide a unique international experience, where children can also learn about diversity and multiculturalism. Therefore, they can encourage Japanese youth not only to work towards change, but to partner with people from other countries and build a brighter future together.