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2024 GYEO Summit

For 15 years, Making Cents International has convened the annual Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit (GYEOS). The Summit is the flagship learning and evidence generation convening of the YEO 2030 initiative, anchored in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8. GYEOS brings together more than 500 global stakeholders from 75+ countries each year to learn, advance evidence generation, share best practices and forge partnerships in the Youth Economic Opportunity (YEO) space. The GYEOS helps to inform the YEO 2030 initiative’s year-round activities and offers an annual benchmark for evidence and best practices. Our community uses the Summit to launch new initiatives and forecast changes in the youth economic opportunities landscape. 

Making Cents will host the 2024 GYEO Summit in Washington D.C. on September 9-12, 2024. The Summit will open with its Youth Leadership Accelerator program on September 9-10 focused on the capacity strengthening of young professionals and leaders, building their peer-to-peer networks and connections with adult allies. 

The year 2024 will mark 6 years left to achieve the SDGs in a world where inequalities are accelerated and progress towards realizing the 2030 agenda is slow. Unemployment and under-employment, the climate crisis, and challenges to our democratic systems disproportionately impact young people’s social and economic mobility and wellbeing. Meaningful youth participation in the economy is increasingly difficult due to a myriad of factors that include lack of education, training, and entrepreneurial skills required to thrive in today’s job market. Despite these challenges, young people continue to demonstrate their resilience, determination, and innovation in creating economic opportunities to realize their livelihood needs and address the climate crisis. Youth leaders, youth economic opportunity practitioners, and funders are adapting their priorities to this changing landscape and considering how to build resilient systems to better address these youth economic participation challenges and advance climate action for the prosperity of people and the planet.   

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Summit Theme, Learning Agenda and Technical Tracks

Summit Theme: Youth Driving the Green Economy 

As part of the 2024 Learning Agenda, the Summit will include an overarching “companion theme” that will deepen the Summit’s focus on a strategic topic that intersects with Youth Economic Opportunities. This companion theme will provide an opportunity for participants to advance evidence generation by teasing out key issues and challenges and sharing best practices and lessons learned through deep-dive sessions.  

Recognizing the massive challenge that climate change presents to youth livelihoods and the ongoing need for more green jobs and green entrepreneurship opportunities for youth, the companion theme for 2024 is climate change, examining emerging programming and evidence around the just transition, circular economy/waste management, green entrepreneurship and green jobs, green skilling, climate finance, water security, ecosystem collaboration and intergenerational advocacy. Guided by this theme, the Summit will include plenary and breakout sessions devoted to issues and subtopics related to climate and youth economic opportunities. Sessions will aim to equip GYEO participants with knowledge of effective program models for preparing youth to successfully navigate a job market impacted by climate change and take the lead on green entrepreneurship, evidence around which sectors are more viable for youth entrepreneurs, and examples of programs in climate financing, and climate advocacy.  

Alongside the companion theme will be sessions that tackle other key issues impacting traditional youth economic opportunities programming such as AI and the digital economy, promoting resilience and mental health among youth, and promoting opportunities in key growth sectors. Together, these sessions will cover the most salient topics facing youth leaders and YEO practitioners globally. 

Technical Track and Learning Agenda

The 2024 Summit will be structured around two technical tracks to advance learning and collaboration, elevate youth leadership and voice, and create an impact for stakeholders in the youth economic opportunities sectors. One track is focused on the companion theme of climate change, and one is focused on emerging best practices in the youth economic opportunities sectors more broadly. 

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1. Climate Change Track: A significant proportion of the summit sessions will be focused on deep-dive sessions on climate change and youth economic opportunities. These sessions will examine emerging programming and evidence around the just transition, circular economy/waste management, green entrepreneurship and green jobs, green skilling, climate finance, ecosystem collaboration and intergenerational climate advocacy. 

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2. Youth Economic Opportunities Track: These sessions will focus on emerging programming and evidence in economic opportunities programming more broadly.  Sessions should highlight topics that intersect with youth economic opportunities including but not limited to financial inclusion, digital skills and artificial intelligence, youth mental health, gender, resilience, and inclusion.

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3. Cross-cutting topics to be addressed across both technical tracks at the Summit are sustainability, scale, systems strengthening, localization, and inclusion. The Summit is guided by a strategic learning agenda that supports the Summit’s two technical tracks to advance learning and foster stronger programming and innovation in the youth economic opportunities sector. 

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