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Media Release

New Generation of Environmental Leaders Program Launched for North American Youth

Tiohtià:ke (Montreal), 13 February 2024 — Calling all youth in Canada, Mexico and the United States! Are you ready to act now to support North American communities and preserve our shared waters, lands and air?

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is pleased to announce the launch of the new Generation of Environmental Leaders Program (GELP). This exciting new program will support young leaders in developing the necessary skills and accessing seed funding to make a real and meaningful impact in their communities and beyond.

The selected youth will benefit from a year-long mentorship program, networking opportunities across North America, receive C$15,000 in seed funding and have the chance to present their solutions to North America’s ministers of environment as part of the CEC’s annual Council Session.

It’s time to act now.

“Through the CEC’s Generation of Environmental Leaders Program, we are bringing young environmental leaders from across North America into the CEC family,” said Jorge Daniel Taillant, CEC Executive Director. “The GELP is providing youth with the necessary skills and meaningful opportunities to engage with and work alongside the CEC to solve the region’s most pressing environmental challenges, such as climate change, pollution reduction, biodiversity loss and environmental equity.”

The GELP invites teams of young leaders from North America to support communities and preserve our shared waters, lands and air. The program is aimed at youth who are 18–35 years old and are part of a team such as, but not exclusively, youth-led organizations, youth-led associations, nongovernmental organizations, not-for-profit youth-led businesses, and teams of youth innovators and entrepreneurs interested in building their businesses.

In addition to building capacity for youth, this new CEC program will accelerate youth leadership by expanding youth environmental networks and provide seed funding for creative solutions to flourish, particularly at the local level. As part of the year-long mentorship program, the leaders will also engage in knowledge-sharing sessions with experts to advance their solutions and contribute to a North American community of knowledge. The program will support impactful and enduring community-driven activities and establish a robust youth network across North America.

The GELP will also provide extended networking opportunities for participants. Selected solutions will be presented to the public and leaders can engage with the CEC’s Joint Public Advisory Committee and Traditional Ecological Knowledge Expert Group, as well as Government officials and experts, during the CEC Council Session, an ideal platform to showcase the impactful ideas at the ministerial level.

As part of the year-long mentorship program, youth leaders will receive advice from experts to help advance their solutions and guidance on various elements of their projects, including how to pitch their solutions and on a range of project development and management topics that include, among others, risk management, budgeting, outreach and fundraising.

Applicants must demonstrate that their solutions can address or respond to critical issues related to supporting our communities and preserving our shared waters, lands and air across North America. Submissions should be practical, effective, achievable and propose sustainable solutions to an identifiable environmental problem. They should also be context-specific and consider the unique characteristics of the community or region targeted by the project.

The eligibility and evaluation criteria will prioritize solutions that have established a clear objective and will have a significant impact on local communities and their environment:

  • Impact and community engagement (40%)
  • Feasibility (25%)
  • Alignment with CEC’s strategic pillars and the program theme (15%)
  • Identification of problem/issue (10%)
  • Innovation (10%)

Priority will be given to solutions identified or developed jointly with communities, including community members who traditionally do not have access to decision-making spaces.

Submission deadline: Completed submissions must be uploaded to Foundant by 23:59 local time on 31 March 2024.

Click here to learn more about the program, the submission guidelines and criteria, and to apply.

For more information about the Generation of Environmental Leaders Program and the submission process, please join us for a virtual information session on 29 February from 1:00 pm–2:00 pm Eastern Time, available with simultaneous interpretation in English, French and Spanish.

GELP Generation of Environmental Leaders Program

Canada, Mexico and the United States, through the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, launch new Generation of Environmental Leaders Program (GELP) to accelerate youth-led environmental solutions.

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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