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Media Release

Commission for Environmental Cooperation Launches 2021 Youth Innovation Challenge

Montreal, 5 June 2021—Today, North America’s top environmental officials, who represent Canada, Mexico, and the United States on the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), are launching the “2021 Youth Innovation Challenge,” which asks youth and young adults ages 18–30 to share innovative solutions for promoting climate and environmental justice to build resilient communities and ensure equitable access to a healthy environment for all.

“Young people are calling for nations to urgently address climate change and advance environmental justice for all. This year’s challenge supports young entrepreneurs working on community resilience to climate change and seeking solutions to promote environmental justice,” said EPA Administrator and Council Chair of the Commission for Environmental Commission Michael S. Regan.

Participants can submit their innovative solutions to the 2021 Youth Innovation Challenge through Submittable to win up to C$15,000 in seed funding. The winners from Canada, Mexico, and the United States will present their successful solutions to North America’s environment ministers at the CEC’s Council Session.

This year’s month-long CEC Youth Innovation Challenge kicks off as part of the official United Nations World Environment Day commemorations and closes on 5 July 2021. The challenge is open to participants aged 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.

A successful solution addresses an environmental justice challenge in North America and has a direct impact on the resilience of North American communities. Possible innovations could consider the use of traditional ecological knowledge, nature-based solutions, and support for sustainable innovation and emerging clean technologies, among others, to help address these pressing environmental issues. The submissions chosen will demonstrate innovation and business potential and be supported by a thorough description, photos, videos, schematics and prototype designs. Examples of innovative solutions include new and improved products, technologies, systems, processes, applications, services, businesses, or supply chains. Proposals should demonstrate a significant impact on communities while representing a technological or social innovation with a strong business case.

Submit your solution by 5 July 2021, and join the #Youth4Innovation conversation on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.

CEC’s 5th Annual Youth Innovation Challenge: “Climate change and environmental justice innovations for resilient communities” Innovative proposals for solutions to these environmental challenges can win up to C$15,000 in seed funding and additional support.

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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