Leave No Trace Ireland & Environmental Youth Summit 2017-


This autumn Leave No Trace and ECO-UNESCO is launching a new initiative to inspire, empower and engage young people to meaningfully engage with key policy makers and influence the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and their own futures.


The Environmental Youth Summit programme is an innovative 10 month initiative comprising a series of events, trainings and action projects for over 50 Irish and European young people (15-19). By the end of this project, funded by Erasmus+ with support from UNIDO, young people will be equipped with the knowledge they need to recognise and harness their power and the tools to influence the achievement of the SDGs. Young people will gain the confidence to voice their opinions to decision-makers on how Ireland can respond to present and future challenges.


Environmental Youth Leader Summit


As part of the Youth for the Future project, the motivated young people met in Dublin Castle for a 3 day Environmental Youth Leader Summit from October 31st – November 2nd. This involved 3 days of project work, workshops and discussions, all inspired by 3 of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals; Climate Action, Sustainable Consumption & Production, and Sustainable Cities.


During the Summit, young people met with experts on the SDGs and environmental policy, including Kai Bethke, Director of the Department of External Relations at UNIDO; Eamon Ryan, leader of the Green Party; Brian Carroll, Assistant Secretary of the Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment; and Duncan Stewart, presenter of RTE's Eco-Eye series. This was a valuable opportunity for young people to speak directly with the experts to get their voices heard on matters that influence their generation. 


Young people also had the chance to be inspired by Youth Activists who attended the Summit to share thier experience of taking meaningful action for positive change. The youth activists included Aisling Byrne, founder of a sustainable fashion start-up called Nu Wardrobe; Aaron Bailey, a community leader in Cloughjordan eco-village in Tipperary; and Claudia Tormey, the Relations Supporter at Young Friends of the Earth and co-manager of the Dublin Library of Things, a product reuse initiative.


The approach was very hands on with youths working in groups on activities and planning their action projects. There were outdoor excursions and fun activities to keep them on their toes including a trip to Leinster House, a visit to the Dublin Waste Water Treatment Facility, and even a hike to the top of Sugar Loaf in the Wicklow Mountains! In the evenings, they did a Halloween tour of the city, attended a music gig and had several social events like games nights.

Next steps

After the Summit the young people returned to their communities and will each carry out a Local Action Project putting the knowledge and skills they have gained into practice the skills and knowledge they have acquired in the project, bringing environmental benefits to their communities. Part of this includes engaging in peer-to-peer education in their countries of origin, which we hope will inspire and engage more young people in environmental and sustainable development issues.

Project Activity Timeline30th Sept 2017


World Café with politicians. 
31st Oct ─ 2nd Nov 2017


Young people engage in meaningful dialogue with decision makers, government, academics and key guests.
8th Feb 2018

22nd May 2018


All Action Projects to be show-cased at ECO-UNESCO’s Young Environmentalist Awards Showcase and Awards Fina
8th Jun 2018


An award ceremony for all participants and policy makers.