GYM Chair Carlos Sanvee speaks at launch of EU Youth Empowerment Fund

Date: 06 October 2023

Powered by the 'Big Six', the Global Youth Mobilization will implement youth-led solutions to meet the SDGs

It was a joyous scene in Nairobi, Kenya, on Wednesday 4 October 2023 as we joined the European Commission and fellow Big Six organisations in the announcement of the €10 million EU Youth Empowerment Fund (YEF).

Implemented through the Global Youth Mobilization (GYM),  the YEF is designed to ignite action, foster resilience and empower young people to contribute to sustainable development in their local communities.

EU Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen, leaders and youth activists spoke to a large crowd of young people, and World YMCA Secretary General Carlos Sanvee addressed the gathering remotely from Seoul, Korea.

In his new role as the chair of GYM 2.0, Carlos expressed his honour at being asked to helm the organisation and his aspirations for the second round of youth-led solutions.

“We are proud to be partners to the EU, and we are proud to be partners amongst ourselves", he said. "What GYM offers is an incredible network, and incredible access to and trust from young people in over 190 countries”.

Learn more and read the official press release of the YEF.

GYM: The first phase

In 2020, the Big Six organisations came together to launch the GYM in response to Covid. Not only were young people most affected by the pandemic, but they also had many of the solutions to the new challenges in their own lives and the lives of local community members.

This initial phase was a success for the GYM, and it was a success for local youth-led solutions. Here are a few of the numbers:

  • Reached 605,000 young people
  • Launched 654 projects in 125 countries
  • Impacted 3.6 million community beneficiaries

Click here to learn more and see the interim and final reports from the first phase of GYM and all Big Six organisations.

Moving forward

The facts are clear as we partner with global leaders to embark on GYM 2.0.

Young people are 1.8 billion strong. They can get us back on track to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  As Jutta Urpilainen said at the announcement, too many young people face barriers, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds and vulnerable situations. And one of the biggest challenges to youth-led solutions is a lack of access to financing.

Carlos said that this new EU / Big Six partnership through the GYM brings funding, facilitation and more.

“This partnership is much bigger than the EU and the Big Six. It’s a partnership with and for young people”, he said. “Young people know what moves them. They know the extent of the challenges the world faces. They embrace the Sustainable Development Goals. They want to stand up and be agents of change. This new venture is all about them”.