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Young Irish people to lead the way to a sustainable future

ECO-UNESCO Clubs Ireland will be welcoming young people from all across the world for a Flagship UNESCO International training to be held in Dublin, Ireland on 21st─22nd February.  This ‘Education for Sustainable Development’ Youth Leadership training provides a unique opportunity for 30 young people to learn the skills needed to lead the way in bringing about change to achieve a more sustainable world. This ground-breaking training is the only one of its kind being held in Europe which has attracted much international attention, with young people from the Ireland, UK, Europe and Central America travelling to Dublin to attend along with representatives from UNESCO Paris and other International observers.

ECO-UNESCO is a key partner of UNESCO for the implementation of its Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The GAP was set up to contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a plan to create a more sustainable, prosperous and peaceful future for all, in harmony with our planet. Education is critical to achieving the promise of transformative change needed to achieve the SDGs. The GAP selected key educational partners to realise the potential of the SDGs and accelerate change at the local level. The young people (aged 18-35) attending the training hope to gain the knowledge, skills, and values in education for sustainable development that will allow them to educate, inform, and inspire change amongst other young people and in their communities.

Ireland played a central role in the process of agreeing the Sustainable Development Goals, which was a huge honour for the country. We are at a unique point in history and what we do next will determine the future of the planet and humanity. This is an important opportunity for Ireland to once again show leadership in promoting positive change, enhance our reputation, and promote Irish citizenship around the world

As Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh T.D. comments, “Education for Sustainable Development and the SDGs is critical in eradicating poverty, addressing environmental degradation and climate change, and building a more peaceful, fair and sustainable world by the year 2030. This is a fantastic opportunity for young people in Ireland to gain the knowledge and skills to advocate for positive change, and show leadership on a local, national or international stage.”

Commenting on this unique opportunity, Elaine Nevin, National Director of ECO-UNESCO said, “ECO-UNESCO is delighted to have been selected by UNESCO to be one of their organisations globally to run this Flagship training. Education is a tool for achieving the SDGs, important as much for decision makers as much as for young people. It is their future we are building in implementing the SDGs, this is why we need young people to play a role in shaping the world they will be living in. We look forward to working with the youth leaders and building their capacity to empower and inspire many more young people to be agents of change.”

Alexander Leicht, Chief of Section of Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Division for Inclusion, Peace and Sustainable Development at UNESCO commented that, ‘Youth is a priority of the UNESCO Global Action Programme on Education (GAP) for Sustainable Development. We are pleased that ECO-UNESCO, as a Key Partner of the GAP, is mobilizing its experience in youth leadership training to support youth as change agents for a sustainable future’.

In 2015, ECO-UNESCO was selected as a key partner in the GAP in recognition of its leadership in ESD in Ireland, to contribute in particular to implementing Key Priority 4 ‘empowering and mobilizing youth’. ESD is recognised as an integral element of quality education and crucial for bringing about positive change in reorienting societies towards sustainable development, as outlined in the government’s ‘National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development 2014-2020’.

For more information on this project contact: Lisa Wilson