First of its kind, this global award comes as an expression of the firm faith of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain, in young people’s potential to lead their communities, countries and the world towards a better shared future of peace and prosperity for all people on a healthy and sustainable planet, as envisioned by the world’s most ambitious plan to transform our world – The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The award recognizes young people’s endeavour to be effective and productive citizens, contributing to the welfare of their communities and environment, as well as institutions that improve the enabling environment and infrastructure for youth to make an impact.

The kingdom of Bahrain believes that investing in the capabilities, energies and ingenuity of young people brings about the best yields for sustainable development and future well-being of any nation.

That is why, at the national level, the kingdom prioritizes pioneering initiatives that help youth enhance their capabilities—through training, skill-building, and experience-exchange, to expand their opportunities to choose a future that they desire and contribute to the welfare of their community.

Young people make up one-third of the world's population. They are an extraordinary force for the present and the future. They have unprecedented access to education, knowledge and scientific advancements and they are more connected through information and communication technologies than ever before.

The Kingdom of Bahrain offers a set of initiatives in the field of youth empowerment and skills development stemming from the Kingdom’s great faith in youth as the engine of developmental processes and the purpose of development. We continue to invest in young people as they are the world’s best chance to delivering on vision of Agenda 2030 and fulfilling the promise of the SDGs to leave no one behind, in a world that is more equitable and freer of want.

The award, led by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs and implemented in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, was first launched during the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum, in January 2017 and the awarding ceremony took place in the Kingdom of Bahrain, in January 2018.

As of the 2018 Award Cycle, the King Hamad Award for Youth Empowerment to achieve the SDGs (KHA) includes two main categories; one for youth action, granting 5 Awards, and a second for youth enablers granting 3 Awards.

In 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak has wreaked havoc across the globe, deeply affecting people’s health, livelihoods, and prospects for the future, adversely affecting and—in some cases even reversing – gains made in the pursuit of the SDGs. Under its two categories, this year’s edition of the Award will take into consideration those youth-led and youth-enabling actions that help mitigate directly or indirectly the immediate, medium- and long-term impacts of COVID-19.

The focus will go not only on actions that help put the pursuit of the SDGs back on track, but also those that assist people and communities to build forward greener, smarter, and more inclusive, as communities and countries emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please refer to the Application Form for more details.


All youth around the world are able to actively engage in their communities as agents of change for sustainable development


Recognize positive youth contributions from around the world, to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), along with initiatives enabling youth participation, action and impact in pursuit of the SDGs


Highlight the centrality of empowering youth in the pursuit of a better future for all

The KHA underscores the important roles that young people can play in the development process and the great dividends of investing in youth initiatives to achieve sustainable development. Our aim is to motivate all sectors of government, society and the economy, without exceptions to work with and invest in youth, nurture their creativity and enable them to bring these ideas to fruition.

Inspire impactful action for sustainable development by young people worldwide

The KHA has a steadfast belief in the capacity and ingenuity of young people to create innovative solutions to the world’s most difficult challenges of sustainable development. We also believe that recognizing unique and successful development innovations by youth can provide an important motive for others to emulate, adapt and follow suit, to be catalysts for change for the good in their communities.

Encourage initiatives enabling genuine youth engagement & action for sustainable development

The KHA recognizes accomplishments of institutions, organizations and individuals that take deliberate action to expand the space for young people’s engagement in their communities and enable them to make an impact on sustainable development. Enablers are not often the focus of attention, yet their actions are critical to young people’s success. We hope that casting a spotlight on enablers will encourage greater support for youth and for sustainable development.
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