UN HQ NY Conference & Exhibit 2023 

Co-Creating the Future through Localization of the SDGs, Youth Engagement & Digital Innovation

13 September, 2 – 5 PM & 14 September 2023, 10 AM – 1 PM ET 

United Nations Headquarters New York, Conference Room 11

With live and on-demand web-broadcast on UN WebTV

11th to 15th September 2023, Exhibit at the Curved wall exhibit space, 1st floor, UN Conference Building, NYC

Registration: link (please note: deadline for on-site participation registration: Monday 11th September noon EDT for UN security procedures)

This event serves as a space to spotlight the unique and innovative ways for youth led creativity and entrepreneurship to spur global and local change and to highlight the enabling role of digital innovation for the localization of the SDGs.  

The Conference will include a Youth Empowerment exhibition, a 2-day conference, and a reception.



Event Objectives: 

The primary objective of the sessions are to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through localization and climate action at the UN SDG Summit 2023, the UN Climate Summit COP28 and to the UN Summit of the Future 2024. (hashtags:   #GloCha   #Youth2030Cities   #Digital4Youth) 

Specific aims are, 

  1. to present examples of youth localization of the SDGs globally, building on programmes such as Youth 2030 Cities, Climate Changemaker and  the One Stop and Integr-Habitat Centres. 
  2. to present, in the context of the SDG Summit 2023, the open-source, white labelled, citizens and youth focused, web3 technology powered Individual SDGs and climate action app (which is being developed in the framework of the #GloCha #Digital4Youth partnership), as a systemic solution for accelerated SDGs implementation, which is going to be adjustable to specific global goals programs and local circumstances and can be used and individually branded by UN agencies, local authorities as well as civil society organisations for the measurement, reporting, verification, certification and incentivization/gamification of individual SDG action and impact (more info in the box below)
  3. to present the  Global Youth DeclarAction on Urban Sustainability adopted at the UN-Habitat World Urban Youth Assembly in June of 2022,  and create “Local Pacts for the Future”, which will empower global citizens, especially young people, and articulate their vision of a sustainable urban . Such “Local pacts for the future” will add a citizens engagement avenue to the UN Summit of the Future 2024, which has as its main planned outcome a heads of states level Pact for the Future.

Agenda / Session Overview (as of 9th September 2023)

Welcome Session and Thematic Introduction13 Sept 14.00-14.45Welcome by the organizers and partners
Thematic introduction
Esther Muiruri, Local2030 Coalition Steering Committee
Miroslav Polzer, IAAI GloCha 
Doug Ragan, UN Habitat 
Ali Mustafa, International Youth Conference 
Thematic introductions:
Leah Namugerwa, Climate Changemaker, Leah Initiative
Representatives of missions
Jerry Glenn, The Millennium ProjectThe future of global governance (virtual)
Alexandre Caldas, Balikesir Environmental Centre, UN Environment (virtual)
Session 113 Sept 14.45-15.30Youth and SDGs localization Session
Gwendolyn Myers, Founder and Executive Director, Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia

– Roi Chiti, UN Habitat Andean Countries Hub
– Daniel Obst – AFS Intercultural Program
– youth representative
– Hossein Hassani, IAAI GloCha, Challenges Mapping App for citizens engagement in just energy transition (virtual)
Edward Darling, The Life Map (virtual)
– Ljubljana Forum on the Future of Cities (virtual)
Session 213 Sept 15.30-17.0Digital Innovation /  Blockchain4Climate / DigitalArt4Climate session

Presentation of Web3 Technologies and Digital Tools for the Empowerment of Youth Focused Local SDG action
Presentation of the COP28 Digital Innovation Pavilion

Launch of the Call for Submissions for the DigitalArt4Climate COP28 Art Competition 
Launch of the CCC & GYDI COP28 Digital Innovation youth delegate program Call for applications
Miroslav Polzer, IAAI GloCha & CCC
– Mat Yarger, Web3 Technology and its potentials for citizens’ and youth climate action empowerment
– Nena Dokuzov, Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport (virtual)
– Oscar Wendel, Dubai World Trade Center, Future Blockchain Summit
– Tadej Slapnik, World Metaverse Council
– Alexey Shadrin, Climate Chain Coalition & Evercity
– Tim Damon, Global Youth Development Institute – CCC & GYDI COP28 Digital Innovation youth delegate program (virtual)
– Trang Fernandez Leenknecht
– Sol Moran Broza, Be1
– Mack Okubo, Music4SDGs & DigitalArt4Climate 
– Mo Ghoneim, ArtsHelp (tbc)
– Sandra Ro, Global Blockchain Business Council BC100+ Initiative https://bc100plus.org/ (tbc)
Exhibition event &  Reception 13 Sept18.15 – 20.00Reception & Exhibition Presentation
venue: UN Conference Building, 1st floor, Curved Wall space
Session 314 Sept 10.00-11.30Youth, Sports, Creativity, and Innovation Session Moderator: UN Habitat
– UN Environment – World Environment Situation Room Youth engagement program 
– UN Habitat Andean Countries Hub
– Climate Changemakers Program Partners
– Ministry of Youth and Sport, Government of Türkiye (tbc)
– Christina Stevens, IAAI: GloCha CoCreation Festival 2024 
– Amy Seidman, Noble Profit & BFlo Technology, SDG Action Heroes
Session 414 Sept 11.30-12.30DeclarActions – Local Pacts for the Future session
(How can we bring local/youth voices to the UN Summit of the Future 2024?)
– UN Habitat DeclarActions initiative
– IAAI: UNFCCC Global Climate Action Data platform aligned coordinates system and global reporting framework for individual climate action & and local level global challenges pacts 
– youth perspectives
Session 512.30 – 13.00Closing session


The “Localization of SDGs, Youth and Digital Innovation” exhibition will be on display in the curved-wall exhibition space at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, from September 7th to the 15th,  preceding the UN General Assembly High Level Week 2023. 


The Localization of the SDGs, Youth & Digital Innovation UN HQ NY Conference and Exhibit 2023 is a joint initiative of the UN-Habitat, UNEP, theMunicipality of Balikesir and the UN accredited civil society organisation IAAI GloCha.

With this event the organizers bring to the UN community a number of programmes and initiatives (especially the Climate Changemakers initiative, the One Stop Youth and Integr-Habitat Centres, DigitalArt4Climate and GloCha) that collectively advance the implementation of SDGs on local level and fight against climate change by and for yout. 

The Young Climate Changemaker initiative joins forces with the Balıkesir Environmental Centre, formerly known as the World Environmental Situation Centre (WESC), to foster a generation of environmentally conscious leaders. This collaboration leverages the Balıkesir Environmental Centre’s expertise as a data, information, and knowledge hub to emphasize the significance of early warning systems, as exemplified by the recent tragic Turkish earthquake, in safeguarding vulnerable communities from disasters induced by climate change. By learning from the lessons of the Turkish earthquake, this partnership underscores the pivotal role of early warning systems in advancing sustainable development and resilience, equipping young climate changemakers with crucial insights and tools to address climate-related challenges effectively and protect both lives and livelihoods.

UN-Habitat’s One Stop Youth and Integr-Habitat Centres play critical roles in UN-Habitat’s mission to address urbanization challenges and promote sustainable development. The One Stop Youth Resource Centres empower urban youth through education, vocational training, and community engagement, fostering a sense of belonging. Integr-Habitat Centres, on the other hand, focus on collaborative urban development planning involving multiple stakeholders. By linking these initiatives, UN-Habitat can harness the energy of young people to actively participate in sustainable urban development efforts, ensuring their voices are heard and integrated into comprehensive urban development plans. This synergy leads to more inclusive and effective urban development strategies, creating a stronger sense of community and shared responsibility for the future of cities.

IAAI is a youth focused entrepreneurial civil society organisation, based in Austria, which aims to build the intellectual, technical and organisational infrastructure for multi-stakeholder climate action and sustainable development goals implementation on local and global level with the multi-stakeholder partnership GloCha

In addition to the GloCha Challenges Mapping tool/app for citizens engagement in Just Energy Transition, which is being developed by IAAI in the context of the EU INTERREG Central Europe project JETforCE, a leading initiative in the #Digital4Youth partnership is the DigitalArt4Climate initiative, which has been presented recently at the SDGs learning special event of the UN HLPF 2023 (slides, video). At the event, the “DigitalArt4Climate COP28 Edition Call for Submissions” will be launched and inspiring artwork and stories of artists will be exhibited at the exhibit at the Curved Wall space of UN HQ NY Conference building ground floor. 

IAAI GloCha, together with its #Digital4Youth lead partner, the Climate Chain Coalition, is is accredited also to the UNFCCC process and is going to convey the outcomes of the NY event to the UN Climate Conference COP28 in December 2023 in Dubai at the IAAI & CCC COP28 Blue Zone Digital innovation Pavilion and at the Slovenian EXPO City Dubai pavilion in the COP28 Green Zone. 

Link to our UN HQ NY conference & exhibit  in 2022: https://www.glocha.org/digitalinnovation4youth-unhqny/ 

The development of the Individual SDGs and climate action app meets a systemic need of the UN system in the field of all of society engagement for effective SDGs implementation. The initiative builds on the learnings of several UN agencies and global goals focused non-state actors (like e.g. the AWorld ActNow Campaign app and the UN Habitat SDGs Scorecard app), while harnessing new functionalities, enabled by Web3 technologies. The app is going to be developed by the #Digital4Youth consortium/partnership, led by IAAI GloCha, the Climate Chain Coalition and UN Habitat Youth program. ON 12th of September there will be a workshop for potential partners of the #Digital4Youth partnership where an action plan and terms of reference for the collaboration will be defined.The app is being developed as a global digital public infrastructure/ecosystem, a a key element of a set of next generation, interoperable digital tools, which are using Web3/blockchain technologies and advanced data science (digital identity management, youth climate action reporting framework, digital measurement-reporting-verification, crowd-evaluation, impact certification, global challenges action registry; (NFT) marketplace, participatory multilevel governance tools, digital finance, metaverse/VR/AR solutions, data collection/citizen science, education, gamification, ….) for effective and entertaining youth and citizens’ engagement and empowerment in local SDGs implementation. The initiative for the development of the Individual SDGs and climate action app is going to be registered on the SDG Summit Acceleration and Accountability Platform and put forward for recognition as a “Transformative Action” within the “Inclusive and Responsible Digital Public Infrastructure for SDGs” pillar of the High Impact initiatives of the UN SDGs Summit 2023


Miroslav Polzer, executive director of the International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges, polzer@glocha.info, tel. (WhatsApp): +43 664 4203648

Doug Ragan, UN Habitat Youth Programme, douglas.ragan@un.org