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Thursday, 20 December 2018 16:13

ECO-UNESCO New Opportunities

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ECO-UNESCO is happy to announce two great opportunities to join an organisation that is making a real difference to the lives of young people and the environment. If you have a passion for youth development, are enthusiastic, motivated with project management and event skills then we would love to hear from you.


ECO-UNESCO are currently seeking: 


  • A full-time Programme Coordinator - Youth Employment.  earn more about the opportunity here.
  • Tenders from qualified individuals/organisations to prepare and complete an evaluation of the ‘Youth for Sustainable Development Programme’; that is aligned to the Irish Aid Performance Measurement Framework (PMF). Learn more about the opportunity here.
Thursday, 20 December 2018 12:59

ECO-UNESCO Office Closed for Holidays

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Dear friends of ECO-UNESCO, 


We would like to inform you that our office will remain closed from Friday December 21, 2018 to Wednesday January 2, 2019.


We hope you enjoy the Christmas break and we are looking forward to working on new exciting projects with you in the new year. 


Monday, 17 December 2018 12:17

Tips for a 'Greener' Christmas

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Christmas holidays are getting closer and for many this is their favourite time of the year. 


However, this holiday comes at a high price for our planet. For the past years, Christmas has been associated more and more with an increase in consumerism and pollution. 


What can young people do to have a more environmentally friendly Christmas? 


Decorations. Avoid plastic decorations and opt for wood, fabrics or clay decorations. A good idea would be to get creative and make your own decorations from discarded materials. As far as lights are concerned, pick LED lights. Did you know that they last up to five times longer than traditional lights and use up to 95% less energy? Finally, it is usually better to use a real tree instead of a PVC one. While fake trees could last forever, researches show that they are discarded after a few years, having a huge impact on the planet. Moreover, real trees too can be re-potted and reuse for up to three years. 


Gifts. Exchanging gifts with family and friends is part of the fun. To have the lowest impact possible, buy less and in a responsible way. You can choose gifts made from recycled materials, give battery and plastic free gifts and even re-gift unwanted items. Experiences, such as concerts or sport events, memberships, services instead of material goods or gifts bought from charity organisations can be a great sustainable alternative to traditional gifts. You should also try to avoid unnecessary wrappings, use recycled paper or reuse old boxes, and why not making your own personalised cards from old materials?  


Food. Try to avoid waste and reuse any food left-overs. The can become your next day lunch or you can mix them together to create a new recipe. Finally, try to choose organic and local products and reduce meat consumption. 


Waste. When you can’t use food again, dispose of it in the right way, by using an organic waste bin or trying to make compost out of it. There are also specialised companies that will collect your Christmas tree to re-pot it or reuse the wood for landscapingFinally, save any wraps, ribbons and boxes in order to reuse them in the future and always recycle!


Monday, 17 December 2018 10:49

COP24: A Summary of the UN Climate Talks in Poland

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Between December 2 and December 14, 2018, COP 24 took place in Katowice, Poland, and it involved almost 30,000 participants, including official Parties, observer states, NGOs, media and more, trying to agree on a “rulebook” for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. 


The launching ceremony was opened by the new COP president, Michał Kurtyka, who stated: 

‘I believe it is difficult to imagine a better place than Poland to elaborate a common position for all countries concerning climate policy. In the last thirty years our country reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% while constantly developing its economy at the same time. We invest in new technologies and innovation – for example electromobility.


COP 24 is the informal name for the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC is one of the conventions adopted on the occasion of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, which entered into force on March 21, 1994, with the goal of preventing any harmful interference of men on the planet climate system. All the countries that have ratified the Convention are called Parties to the Convention, and they meet every year to make sure that provisions adopted by the Convention are effectively implemented. 


Several key issues were discussed over the course of the past two weeks. During the first week, two declarations gained the full support of the Parties. The first one, ‘Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration’, is a document on reaching climate protection targets while maintaining economic development and workplaces in the spirit of Solidarity’s heritage. The second one discusses actions towards the development of electromobility – ‘Driving Change Together - Katowice Partnership for E-mobility’.  


According to officials, the number of countries supporting these declarations "is an important message that brings hope, and opens opportunities for effective implementation of modern and environmentally friendly technologies". 


During the second week of the conference, negotiations on the implementation package of the Paris Agreement were carried out in working groups consisting of two ministers, one from a developed country and the other from a developing country. The second week ended with the approval of the ‘Forests for Climate’ declaration.


Overall, a wide range of issues were discussed and agreed on, including how governments will measure, report on and verify their emissions-cutting efforts. Although a key element was absent from the talks – how countries will step up their targets on cutting emissions – 2020 was established as a deadline for countries to reach such targets. Finally, one of the main lesson learnt from the conference is that, after a few years of stable levels in world’s carbon emissions, they now appear to be rising again. The use of coal and oil continues, and in fact, it drives a big part of the world’s economy. On the other hand, clean energy is developing at a faster pace than expect and at a cheaper price. However, its adoption must be speeded up, in order to be able to cut down emissions and meet the established targets by 2020.



Tuesday, 11 December 2018 12:21

Photo Gallery: 'No Time to Waste' Youth Summit

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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.


You can find more information on what happened during the event here.



During the first part of the morning, Ann-Marie McNally and Gary Gannon (Social Democrats) held a workshop that saw young people coming up with their own policies and figuring out how they would make them into law.



YSD Leader Niall Barrett talked the group through how to take up an environmental action project for our Young Environmentalist Awards 2019. The talk was broadcast live to other young people who are taking part in the programme in Spain.



The experts who joined us talk to us, before kicking off the structured dialogue section of the day. From left to right: Professor Patrick Paul Walsh (UCD), Sabrina Decker (DCU)Les Carberry and Joe Gallagher (from the Sustainable Development Section, DCCAE), and Duncan Stewart (Eco Eye). 



The structured dalogue part of the day.



Young participants and experts gave their feedback and shared what they learnt with the rest of the group.


On December 5, we celebrate World Soil Day


Sometimes, it can be hard to see the impact that our actions have on the planet and soil pollution is a good example of this. Soil pollution is the soil contamination and accumulation of toxic substances that damage plants and animal lives, as well as food production, and is targeted by Sustainable Development Goals 2, 3, 12 and 15. 


FAO’s Be the Solution to Soil Pollution campaign for World Soil Day 2018 has the goal to raise awareness and call people to #StopSoilPollution. 


Currently, one third of the global soil of the planet is already degraded. However, through small actions and daily behaviours, everybody can do something to stop this phenomenon.


How can young people contribute to stop soil pollution?


Recycle, Reduce and Reuse. Recycle plastic, paper, aluminum and glass every day and choose products obtained from recycled materials. Reduce the use of products that cannot be recycled and your waste. Reuse certain items, such as containers, papers, bags and bottles.


Shop Responsibly. When possible, choose organic food over food treated with pesticides and other chemicals. This will not only benefit the soil, but also your health. Avoid buying products with unnecessary plastic wrappings that cannot be reused and will take a long time to break down. Try to choose items produced through environmentally-friendly industrial processes and biodegradable products, since they will decompose naturally and will not release harmfull chemicals in the soil.


Spread the Word. Talk about this issue with people in your community, your school and friends, and be an example for them of how to stop soil pollution.


Last Friday, November 30, thousands of young people from across Australia decided to skip school as a sign of protest against the Australian government inaction - as they described it - to tackle climate change. 


Although Australia committed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 26-28% on its 2005 levels by 2030, earlier last week the UN announced that the country is falling behind these goals, which were set under the Paris agreement for emissions. As a matter of fact, according to the emission gap report, Australia has made no progress in its climate policy within the last year. 


These young people have received hard criticism from decision-makers, including PM Scott Morrison and Resource Minister Matt Canavan, who said that activism is unnecessary and that students will learn nothing from this experience. 


However, these young people are strongly committed to their cause. When asked why they took part in this protest, they said they are worried because they will be the ones suffering the consequences of the decisions that are made by the government today. They have been learning about climate change for a long time and are now asking the government to acknowledge that climate change is a real issue that needs to be tackled with real solutions.


These Australian students are not the only ones demanding for action. Earlier this year, Greta Thunberg, a 15 year old Swedish also skipped school to raise awareness about climate change in her country.




There’s still time for young Irish people to roll up their sleeves and enter Ireland’s favourite green awards scheme, as the deadline to register for the Young Environmentalist Awards 2019 has now been extended to December 21st.


In May of this year, young people from across Ireland had the chance to share their projects at the Young Environmentalist Awards Showcase in the Mansion House and meet other young people like them, who are committed to make a positive change. Now ECO-UNESCO are challenging more young people from Ireland to get their green thinking caps on and rise to this year’s challenge!


The challenge to young people (aged 10-18) in schools, youth and community organisations, is to come up with real solutions to environmental issues such as climate change, waste, and energy. 


From taking part, young people become more active in their community, gain personal skills, and even help to tackle some of the most pressing environmental and social global challenges.


“The Young Environmentalist Awards covers a range of environmental issues that present huge challenges that face the whole island such as climate change, biodiversity and the Sustainable Development Goals.” commented Elaine Nevin, National Director of ECO-UNESCO; “I would like to encourage young people in schools and youth organisations across Ireland to get involved in the awards and look forward to the seeing the ideas, commitment and innovation of Ireland’s young people.” 


Interested young people can register their group online on ECO-UNESCO’s website. Once registered, entrants have until the end of February 2019 to complete their project, before entering the heat of the semi-final ECO-Dens in March 2019, where they pitch their project to expert judges for a coveted place in the prestigious final in May.


The Young Environmentalist Awards are funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, the Environmental Protection Agency with support from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.



On December 5th, the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition are hosting an event called ‘Rise for Climate, Jobs & Justice’, in the Georgian Suite and Boardroom of Buswell’s Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.


The event is designed as a day on which constituents as well as grassroots groups and SCC member groups will have the chance to meet TDs face-to-face and discuss the urgency of tackling climate change. 


‘Rise for Climate, Jobs & Justice’ will be an opportunity for asking questions and for pressurising decision-makers to take adequate action on climate.


 The event will take place from approximately 10 to 5pm, with a smaller number of constituent/TD meetings taking place between 5 and 7pm in the Boardroom followed by a wrap-up discussion/public talk between 7:15 and 8pm.


More information can be found on the organisation website


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.”







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