On Saturday 24 November, young people from ECO-UNESCO’s ‘Youth for Sustainable Development’ programme showed their energy and enthusiasm in participating in a dialogue with policy makers and experts on Ireland’s growing waste issue.
The event that took place at the Carmelite Centre in Dublin, is part of ECO-UNESCO’s ‘No Time to Waste’ Youth Summit, a series of events sponsored by Leargas and Erasmus + that aim to encourage both young people in Ireland and Europe to contribute their voice to environmental matters.
In the morning, following a talk by Ann-Marie McNally and Gary Gannon (Social Democrats), participants from across Ireland took part in practical workshops on topics such as policy making and project planning, with young people from Spain joining them in a workshop via Skype.
In the afternoon, round-table discussions took place and youth participants had the chance to interact with experts such as Duncan Stewart (Eco Eye) and Joe Gallagher (Deputy Director of the Sustainable Development Section, DCCAE). The lesson that emerged from these discussions was that education of young people is the key to a more sustainable Ireland and for effective change to happen. As a result, both experts and young people agreed that Education for Sustainable needs to be implemented into the National School Curriculum as a matter of urgency.
The day ended with both young participants and experts giving feedback and describing what they learnt from each other. ECO-UNESCO's National Director Elaine Nevin said:
“Youth empowerment is central to our work, and our Youth for Sustainable Development programme provides young people across Ireland with the knowledge and skills they need to make real environmental change in their communities. We’re delighted that these young people have been given the opportunity to meet and engage with policy makers today and we hope that this is just the start of what will be an ongoing dialogue between young people and decision makers.”