Youth 4.0 makes its debut in Hong Kong

HONG KONG: According to the latest survey* commissioned by the Hong Kong chapter of the United Nations' (UN) Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN Hong Kong), Hong Kong's young people between the age of 15-30 believe that combating climate change, using affordable and clean energy and eradicating poverty are the top three most important Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Hong Kong. These are closely followed by having a healthy lifestyle, building a peaceful and inclusive society with justice, and eradicating inequality and discrimination.

More than nine in ten survey respondents (93.5%) express their willingness to support "sustainable development", with a majority of them indicating positively that they would support initiatives relating to the environment. This includes waste recycling and reduction (47.8%) and conservation of power and water (30.9%). Additionally, close to four in ten respondents (38.7%) believe that their companies and schools have not done enough on sustainable development.

Close to seven in ten respondents (68.7%) have heard about "social enterprise" or "social innovation". Over six in ten respondents (61.8%) also find social enterprise to be a viable means to promote sustainable development through business behaviour.

The survey reflects Hong Kong young people's perspectives on the UN's '2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development', the SDGs, as well as the concept of social entrepreneurship and social innovation.

The survey, entitled 'Hong Kong Youth's Opinions towards Sustainable Development', is part of a Hong Kong-wide initiative, Youth 4.0, which kicked off recently. Youth 4.0 aims to promote youth development on social entrepreneurship and to increase awareness of the UN's SDGs among young people in Hong Kong. This initiative is the cross-sector collaboration among the academia, business and government, featuring a strategic partnership between Youth Co:Lab and the Hong Kong Social Enterprise Challenge (HKSEC).  The former is a partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Citi Foundation while the latter is organized by The Center for Entrepreneurship of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and sponsored by the Home Affairs Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Youth 4.0 is also supported by its sustainability partner - SDSN Hong Kong, co-hosted by CUHK and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, established to mobilise expertise and resources to address the SDGs in Hong Kong.

Youth Co:Lab, co led by UNDP and Citi Foundation, aims to establish a common agenda for Asia-Pacific countries to invest in and empower youth to accelerate implementation of SDGs through leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship. In addition, the event also encourages an inclusive environment for youth innovation and entrepreneurship, which is in line with the objectives of the SDGs and Youth Development Strategy for Hong Kong.

"We are here to support young people. While we do not doubt the ability of young people to lead innovation, we know that the systems that have been conceived for their economic or social empowerment often fall short. We will only be able to work for the good of the region's social entrepreneurs if we solidify our partnerships. We have to realise that driving this from the regional scale, including the partnership between Citi Foundation and UNDP, and leveraging the benefits of country level networks, and initiatives will be crucial to this success," said Beniam Gebrezghi, Programme Specialist of Youth and Civic Engagement at the United Nations Development Programme Bangkok Regional Hub.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Mr Wayne Fong, Head of Corporate Affairs, Citi Hong Kong, said: "We are honoured to collaborate with the Youth 4.0 partners to engage young people in Hong Kong to address social challenges and unemployment. Through Youth 4.0, it is our hope that by providing an ecosystem conducive to youth-led social entrepreneurship and innovation, we will harness youth leadership, and empower them to identify solutions to pressing social challenges and any unemployment issues that they are facing."

Another integral part of Youth 4.0 is the Hong Kong Social Enterprise Challenge which is organised by The Center for Entrepreneurship of CUHK and sponsored by the Home Affairs Bureau of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR). The first and longest standing inter-collegiate competition of its kind in Hong Kong, the Challenge comprises a unique combination of education, competition and incubation components for the participants and offers overseas exposure for the winners.  In the past 11 years, HKSEC has brought about 1,248 social venture plans, with 7,304 participants from 45 institutions engaged. 2018 HKSEC is open for registration and a series of training and coaching sessions has started from September 2018 onwards. The finale presentation will be held in March 2019.

Professor Elsie Tsui, Project Director of Hong Kong Social Enterprise Challenge added, "Hong Kong Social Enterprise Challenge has been a leading platform to help local young people address social problems through entrepreneurial means. Through the years, we have given the local youngsters various types of support to launch their meaningful social ventures. This year, we are excited to be a part of Youth 4.0 initiative, which enables the young local social entrepreneurs to further expand their horizon and meet fellow social innovators across Asia."

* The survey, conducted by the Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey of CUHK, polled a total of 504 respondents, aged 15 to 30, via telephone between July 19 and August 7, 2018.

Officiating guests at the launch event (from left): Prof. Elsie Tsui, Project Director, Hong Kong Social Enterprise Challenge, Ms. Vinci Chan, Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs, Home Affairs Bureau, Hong Kong SAR Government, Mr. Wayne Fong, Head of Corporate Affairs, Citi Hong Kong, Mr. Beniam Gebrezghi, Programme Specialist, Youth and Civic Engagement of United Nations Development Programme Bangkok Regional Hub, Mrs. Cecilia Lam, Director, Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Network Manager, United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network Hong Kong

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

UNDP works in about 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results. This is a critical time for the world. At UNDP, this period is seen as a huge opportunity to advance the global sustainable development agenda. In September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. We support countries' efforts to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals, or Global Goals, which will guide global development priorities through 2030. UNDP focuses on helping countries build and share solutions in three main areas: Sustainable development; Democratic governance and peacebuilding; and Climate and disaster resilience. In all our activities, we encourage the protection of human rights and the empowerment of women, minorities and the poorest and most vulnerable.

The Youth Co:Lab project is run out of the Effective Governance team at UNDP's Bangkok Regional Hub for the Asia-Pacific. Additional information can be found at:

Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyse job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit

Hong Kong Social Enterprise Challenge (HKSEC)

The Hong Kong Social Enterprise Challenge a social venture startup competition organised by the Center for Entrepreneurship of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, has been at the frontier in educating students and the general public about social enterprises in Hong Kong since 2007. Through a structured competition model, HKSEC encourages students to employ a creative entrepreneurial approach to solve real world social issues.

The Hong Kong Chapter of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Solutions Network

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust join hands to co-host the Hong Kong chapter of the SDSN. Under the umbrella of the global SDSN, SDSN Hong Kong seeks to mobilise expertise, information and resources from academic, philanthropy, government, business and non-profits to address the most pressing environmental, social and economic issues in Hong Kong and advance sustainable development. More details of SDSN Hong Kong can be found at:
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