ECO-UNESCO hosts ‘The Heat is On’ an international Youth Summit in response to a Youth Climate Voices Survey they recently conducted, in which young people expressed the need for more opportunities to have their voices heard.

In collaboration with SpunOut.ie, the Youth Climate Voices report surveyed over 1,000 young people aged 15-25 across Ireland. The survey was focused on the issues of climate change, climate justice and taking climate action. When asked about the main barriers of taking environmental action, 55% of young people said they feel nobody listens to them, and 36% said they don’t know how to engage with politicians or key decision-makers.

The Environmental Youth Summit provides an opportunity for young people to dialogue with policymakers and decision-makers.  The theme “The Heat is On!” focuses on climate change and biodiversity and links to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The programme provides a platform for your young people to develop knowledge of climate and biodiversity, their skills to engage, become more active citizens, create a structured dialogue with policymakers and to affect positive change.

This programme will be running from January to June 2021 and involves 3 European conferences. ECO-UNESCO celebrated the first conference in January and early February, the second conference took place on Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd of March 2021 and reunited environmental activists, entrepreneurs, artists, and policymakers such as Grace O’Sullivan from the European Parliament, Pippa Hackett Minister of State for land use and Biodiversity, TD Gary Gannon, Finlay Carson from the Scottish Parliament, and Leona DeKhors from the Irish Department of Education.

These events are hosted by ECO-UNESCO, Ireland’s environmental education and youth organisation, this initiative is dedicated to educating and empowering young people aged 13 to 18 years old.

Elaine Nevin, National Director of ECO-UNESCO said ‘We are delighted to be able to host this European youth summit for young people this year. It was clear from the survey young people want their voice to be heard and to take climate action, but feel they are lacking the knowledge, skills and opportunities to engage. This summit offers the opportunity for young people to have a platform where they can express their concerns, learn from expert environmentalists and make connections with the international youth community.”

ECO-UNESCO have partnered with Resilience Earth in Spain, Wester Ross Biosphere in Scotland, and Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere in Scotland. This programme is co-funded by Erasmus+ and Leargas.