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UNESCO launched the Global Action Programme (GAP) to generate momentum on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). This follows commitments made by the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development that called for changes about how we think and act to achieve Sustainable Development.
In 2015 ECO-UNESCO Clubs Ireland was recognised by UNESCO for its work in ESD and was selected by UNESCO as a key partner for the implementation of its Global Action Programme (GAP) in ESD under the Key Priority Action 4 – Mobilising and Empowering Young People. This recognition came from our work in ESD in particular theough our Young Environmentalist Awards (YEA) programme and our Youth for Sustainable Development (YSD) programme.
In addition to our work mobilising and empowering young people, ECO-UNESCO implement activities that address UNESCO’s Priority Action Areas on: Advancing Policy; Transforming learning and Training Environments; Building Capacities of Educators and Trainees; and Accelerating Sustainable Solutions at Local Level.

ECO-UNESCO run prestigious Education for Sustainable Development Youth Leadership training in conjunction with UNESCO in Dublin, February 2017

ECO-UNESCO was delighted to have been selected by UNESCO to run the ‘Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Youth Leadership training‘ on 21-22 February 2017. The training is a Flagship project of the UNESCO Global Action Programme that aims to empower youth people to inspire and mobilise others to take action towards a more sustainable and just future, towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals


Over 26 young people from ten different countries completed the intensive two day training that took place at the Clock Tower, Department of Education and Skills, Marlborough Street, Dublin, Ireland. They developed their understanding of ESD; developed their leadership skills; and are now part of a global network of UNESCO youth leaders. The training in Ireland is one of five trainings being held internationally and is the only one of its kind to take place in Europe. 


The young people have now returned to their communities with the knowledge and skills to teach and empower the young people they work with about the Sustainable Development Goals. 


ECO-UNESCO Commitments to GAP

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To deliver the GAP objectives, UNESCO identified five priority action areas to encourage stakeholder commitment in moving the ESD agenda. ECO-UNESCO commits to deliver on the fourth priority action that focuses on Empowering and Mobilising Youth through its Young Environmentalist Awards and Youth for Sustainable Development Programmes


ECO-UNESCO’s Young Environmentalist Awards programme is a unique initiative that promotes not only environmental protection but also youth empowerment by mobilising youth to take local action on achieving the global goals for Sustainable Development. Participants, aged 10-18 years, enter the YEA from both schools and non-formal youth organisations across Ireland and Northern Ireland. Since the awards began in 1999, over 35,000 young people have participated in the programme, thus creating a lasting environmental impact on their peers and communities. Through a recognition and rewards scheme, the YEA programme provides knowledge, skills and values to empower young people as key change agents for sustainable development. As part of our GAP commitment, we aim to increase young people’s participation and establish ECO-UNESCO Clubs for long-term engagement.


Click here to view a clip of the Young Environmentalist Awards

The Youth for Sustainable Development Global Youth Leaders for Change peer education programme (YSD), promotes ESD in the non-formal education sector. Young people meet weekly in Dublin in an after-school peer education training setting to explore ESD through innovative and engaging activities along with global action project work. Our commitment is to increase participation in the YSD programme nationally throughout Ireland over he next three years.

Click here to view a clip of the Youth For Sustainable Development in action


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Learn more about GAP Clearinghouse

The GAP ESD Clearinghouse is a repository for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) resources and news and events from all UNESCO regions (Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe/North America, Latin America and the Carribean). Its main objective is to serve as an online platform to share knowledge, experiences and competencies of the ESD global community of practice. It aims to serve as the central information platform for the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD and to collect and share learning resources, good ESD practices and innovative research. The work of ECO-UNESCO is highlighted here.