What are the UN SDGs?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 international development objectives developed by the United Nations (UN) that serve as a “roadmap to a better and more sustainable future for all” by 2030. Signed by more than 190 UN member states in 2015, the agenda shapes global efforts to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

SPARK aligns with several of the UN SDGs through our employment and entrepreneurship programmes for youth, including women and refugees, in fragile and conflict-affected states.

SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Youth unemployment is high in fragile and conflict-affected regions, significantly contributing to the estimated 64 million unemployed youth globally. For this reason, SPARK’s main priority is to contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth. Throughout all our programmes, we enable youth to access jobs by facilitating market-relevant vocational training, internships and employment matching, as well as startup and SME support for entrepreneurs.

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SDG4: Quality Education

In times of conflict and crisis, increasing the inclusion of women, refugees and IDPs in higher education is especially important. SPARK promotes equitable access to quality higher education to reduce poverty, generate economic growth, and create jobs. By working with our government, university and career centre partners, we work to improve higher education systems to bridge the skills gap and ensure curricula become more inclusive, market-relevant, digital and entrepreneurial. To date, SPARK has awarded over 14,000 scholarships to youth, including women, refugees and IDPs.

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SDG5: Gender Equality

Gender equality is a social impact lens we apply to all our programmes. An estimated 264 million women live in fragile and conflict-affected regions, many of whom experience many challenges that limit their access to education, jobs and entrepreneurship. This disadvantages the women themselves, their families and local economies. With our partners, we co-design tailored support for women-led businesses, gender-sensitive curricula and promote the inclusion of women in workplaces.

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SDG7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Fragile and conflict-affected regions are often disproportionately impacted by the effects of the climate crisis and are the least resilient to climate shocks. SPARK provides tailored support to green businesses and jobs, which is a sector with huge growth potential and the ability to create millions of new jobs. In doing so, we support the entrepreneurial economy to minimise the global carbon footprint and development businesses that are more equitable and sustainable.

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SDG10: Reduced Inequalities

The number of refugees fleeing conflict or persecution is now at its highest since World War II and refugee hosting almost always disproportionately impacts neighbouring countries. Refugees, IDPs and minorities, especially women, face less access to job opportunities than others. Whether we are providing scholarships, facilitating internships, supporting startups or helping SMEs to scale their businesses, SPARK promotes equal opportunities to the most vulnerable communities.

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SDG17: Partnerships for the Goals

Protracted, global challenges that affect us all, such as the climate crisis, poverty eradication, migration and displacement, require stronger, more effective partnerships between international stakeholders. SPARK works with a diverse pool of institutional and private sector partners from the Europe, the USA and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states. By bringing together global institutions, SPARK promotes transparent partnerships that promote sustainable, economic inclusion for all across fragile and conflict-affected regions.

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