There are a number of initiatives, programmes and activities already underway which support activation of young people at local, regional and national levels.
My Department is currently consulting in relation to the forthcoming Climate Action Plan under the National Dialogue on Climate Action (NDCA), and the consultation has a very strong citizen-focused component which can be accessed at: https://www.gov.ie/en/consultation/5bd95-climate-conversation-climate-action-plan-2021/ Raising the voice of children and young people has been central to the design of this consultation, including facilitating online input from individuals over 16 years of age and youth groups in relation to key climate issues; local level conversations via Comhairle na nÓg to enable climate awareness, engagement and activation at local level; and a series of in-depth youth conversations which will encourage creative input and garner deeper feedback.
My Department is collaborating with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth on the development of a Youth Climate Council as part of a new engagement model, which will draw together various stakeholders and support the generation of ideas, with an emphasis on their translation into appropriate cost-effective actions. The Council will be designed in collaboration with a youth advisory group to ensure the model is relevant and effective in how it engages with young people. Feedback from the public consultation will be used to design a set of priorities which will feed into topics for discussion.
In addition, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth launched a Youth Climate Justice Fund in 2020 to encourage youth-led action at community, regional and national level and to help build and leverage youth sector capacity to support such activities. Since the launch of the Fund, young people, youth workers and volunteers have innovated and collaborated to advance a range of initiatives within the areas of network-building and communications, research, awareness raising, influencing policy-makers, and introducing practical climate justice changes within their communities.