On the week of April 7th 2019, five ECO-UNESCO youth delegates  from the Youth for Sustainable Development Programme got the chance to travel to NYC to act as Irish Youth Delegates at the United Nations.

When not having their voices heard on very important issues, the young people had fun exploring!

Here the full story:

Five ECO-UNESCO youth participants will be attending the United Nations Economic and Social Forum in New York on the 8th and 9th April.

The young people, aged between 16 and 18 years of age, are all involved in ECO-UNESCO’s Youth for Sustainable Development programme, a peer education initiative that builds awareness and capacity in young people around the sustainable development goals and have ongoing involvement in raising awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals and environmental activism at both a local and global level.

The young delegates will present a report, ‘SDGs Through the Lens of a Child’, a joint report by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the UCD Geary Institute, at the event. The Report was launched by Minister Zappone on Monday 25th March where she formally presented it to the Irish young people.

The young people will be highlighting the range of issues in the sustainable development goals including climate action, child poverty, youth empowerment and youth participation.

The young people are seeking for youth voices to be recognised in policy making and to have their say on the fulfilment the Sustainable Development Goals.

Muireann Spillane (17), one of the delegates spoke at the launch of the report on March 25th. Spillane also emphasised the importance of young people working in partnership with governmental policy. She stated:

“Youth organizations, in partnerships, need to be not just consulted, but be part of the decision-making process

from the beginning to the end of our transition to a world free of poverty and environmental degradation.”

ECO-UNESCO’s National Director Elaine Nevin stated:

ECO-UNESCO encourages young people to be active citizens and this is an amazing opportunity for our young participants to contribute

their voices towards the attainment of the sustainable development goals. It is vital that young people continue to have their say on their own future and we hope to continue to be able to offer opportunities such as this through our organization.”

Speaking on the opportunity, Professor Walsh UCD Geary Institute and Senior Advisor to the UN SDSN. said:

“Youth voices are a formal part of UN meeting and Ireland needs to consider how to incorporate youth voices into our institutions.”

The delegation will spend two days at the forum where they will be addressed by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations and Ms. Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General, amongst others.

Attendance the ECOSOC Youth Forum is a collaboration between ECO-UNESCO and UCD Geary Institute supported by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Irish Environmental Network.