Youth Leadership Programme (YLP)



In response to growing need for alternative paths to action and social change, UNDP launched its regional Youth Leadership Programme (YLP) in 2015. YLP aims to build a generation of young leaders, innovators, and change-makers in the Arab region. In its first year, YLP1 brought together 40 young women and men from 18 Arab countries to nurture their creativity, strengthen their leadership skills, and help them realize their ideas to improve their communities (Jordan, September 2015). In its second year, under the theme “Innovation for Sustainable Development,” YLP2 supported more than 700 youth through national activities and culminated in a regional event for 70 youth (Kuwait, December 2016). In its third year, YLP3, with the theme “Accelerating Innovation for Sustainable Development,” supported more than 2,000 youth through national activities and culminated in a regional event for 100 youth (Egypt, December 2017). YLP4, with the theme “Innovating for Sustainable Impact,” expanded the reach and impact of YLP3 by targeting 14 countries across the Arab Region. YLP4 engaged 5,000 youth in national activities across the region and partnered with national organizations that work towards youth empowerment and fulfillment of Sustainable Development Goals. In January 2018, twelve YLP change-makers from across all three years took part in the ECOSOC Youth Forum in New York, where they presented the projects they developed during YLP and shared their vision for how youth can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). YLP5, with the theme “Explore, Experiment, Expand,” is designed to build on lessons learnt during the previous four years and scale up its reach by exploring innovative approaches to addressing sustainable development challenges, experimenting with potential solutions, and expanding youth knowledge and networks. Considering the importance of supporting young people’s role in the realization of SDG16 in Arab States, YLP5  emphasises civic engagement and political participation.


End poverty in all its forms everywhere
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation
Reduce inequality within and among countries
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Strenghten the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development


Design Thinking





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“We believe that now ... it's time for the Arab nations to rise again through science and innovation."

Tamer Taha, Founder of Yomken

Human-centered design is a philosophy, not a precise set of methods, but one that assumes that innovation should start by getting close to users and observing their activities.

Donald A. Norman, Co, Founder of Nielsen Norman Group

The main tenet of design thinking is empathy for the people you’re trying to design for. Leadership is exactly the same thing – building empathy for the people that you’re entrusted to help.

David Kelley, Founder of IDEO

We spend a lot time designing the bridge, but not enough time thinking about the people who are crossing it.

Dr. Prabhjot Singh, Director of Systems Design at the Earth Institute

It’s not ‘us versus them’ or even ‘us on behalf of them.’ For a design thinker it has to be ‘us with them'.

Tim Brown, CEO and President of IDEO

The agenda specifically recognizes youth as “critical agents of change”. To ensure the success of the 2030 Agenda, we need all young people on board - all of you, young activists, innovators, disruptors and trailblazers.

Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator

When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors

Failure is an option here. if things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors

If the government regulates against use of drones or stem cells or artificial intelligence, all that means is that the work and the research leave the borders of that country and go someplace else.

Peter Diamandis, Executive Chairman of the X Prize Foundation

The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away.

Linus Pauling, American Chemist

We are trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible, because only in that way can we make progress.

Richard Feynman, Noble Prize Winning Physicist