ECO-UNESCO welcomed young people from across Europe to join policy makers and experts at the Youth Exploring Rio+20 – A UNESCO Clubs Transnational Youth Meeting at the Greenhouse 

Young people from France, Italy, Latvia, and Malta have come to Ireland to meet key politicians and policy makers, to have their voices heard about how to make our world a better place at the “Youth Exploring RIO+20 – UNESCO Clubs Transnational Youth Meeting.” This event, organised by ECO-UNESCO and support by the European Commission (Youth in Action), is taking place in the Greenhouse in Dublin today and tomorrow (30th November, 1st December). ECO-UNESCO is Ireland’s environmental education and youth organisation.

The Lord Mayor, Naoise Ó’Muirí opened the event by welcoming the young people from across Europe to Dublin, and highlighting the steps the city is making towards being more sustainable. “On my way here I saw people riding Dublin bikes – this simple initiative demonstrates how this city is serious about making issues such as transport a major priority in the years to come. With the input from young people Dublin will become a smarter, better, more sustainable place to live.”

This ECO-UNESCO event gives an opportunity for European young people to talk directly to key policy makers about how the official outcomes of the Rio+20 World Summit can be used as tool for positive change on a local, national and European level. In his keynote address, Eamon Ryan, Leader of the Green Party of Ireland discussed the key themes that these young people will have to address in their lifetime: the importance of job security, sustainable energy for all, sustainable cities, food security, water, and disaster resilient societies. These themes will be explored by the young people over the two-day conference through debate, discussion and speed networking.

The Youth Meeting is part of a larger ECO-UNESCO initiative which supports youth-led action projects in local communities across Europe. Each group will use the forum to develop projects and action plans that will have a positive impact through engagement with key decision makers in their local area. These projects will be recorded for a dynamic multimedia exhibition, which will be displayed simultaneously in France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, and Malta in May 2013.

“Young people are vital stakeholders in the present and future of this planet,” said Elaine Nevin, National Director, ECO-UNESCO. “Through this event, we are delighted to provide young people from across Europe with a platform to have their voices heard about these important global issues as well as supporting and empowering them to become active citizens in their local communities.”