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Media Release

2023 Youth Innovation Challenge Launches Today Across North America

Montreal, 21 February 2023 — Today the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) launches the 2023 Youth Innovation Challenge (YIC) and invites youth from Canada, Mexico and the United States to submit entrepreneurial innovations addressing water challenges.

Be an agent of change!

The YIC competition seeks fresh solutions that address the following kinds of water-related challenges:

  • The increasing frequency of droughts, deforestation, forest fires and floods
  • Climate change
  • The release of toxic chemicals to surface waters
  • The depletion of groundwater
  • Litter and leakage of plastics, nutrients and emerging pollutants into the water supply
  • Other critical issues related to water

This year’s challenge will also support the ongoing efforts of the United Nations International Decade for Water Action, with a special focus on the connection between water and climate change.

Participants’ solutions must demonstrate potential benefits for the environment and direct impacts that support communities with a focus on social, environmental, and economic equity.

The 2023 YIC will award as a prize: funding, mentorship and an opportunity to meet the environment ministers of North America!

In addition to receiving C$15,000 in seed funding, the winners will also have the unique opportunity to:

  • Present their solution at the 2023 Council Session in British Columbia, Canada.
  • Benefit from a year-long mentorship opportunity, which includes developing skills in presentation, funding, marketing, and networking.
  • Benefit from visibility and communication opportunities that will be developed and disseminated across CEC digital channels and potentially across CEC partners’ channels.

How to participate

The challenge is open to youth (age 18-30) who are residents of Canada, Mexico or the United States. Solutions can be submitted in English, French or Spanish and will be evaluated based on four criteria: impact, innovation, feasibility and replicability, and economic value. Read our criteria and guidelines and submit your solution via Submittable.

Submit your solution by 3 April 2023 and join the #Youth4Innovation conversation on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.

Water Solutions for Sustainable Development

This year’s theme: ‘Water Solutions for Sustainable Development’

About the CEC

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) was established in 1994 by the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, a parallel environmental agreement to NAFTA. As of 2020, the CEC is recognized and maintained by the Environmental Cooperation Agreement, in parallel with the new Free Trade Agreement of North America. The CEC brings together a wide range of stakeholders, including the general public, Indigenous people, youth, nongovernmental organizations, academia, and the business sector, to seek solutions to protect North America’s shared environment while supporting sustainable development for the benefit of present and future generations

The CEC is governed and funded equally by the Government of Canada through Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Government of the United States of Mexico through the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, and the Government of the United States of America through the Environmental Protection Agency.

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