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Press Release

Minister Katherine Zappone opens Youth Climate Justice Fund

Published: 16 March 2020
From: Department of Children and Youth Affairs

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, today opened a fund to support youth-led action and innovation on Climate Justice at community, regional and national level. The Youth Climate Justice Fund will total almost €500,000 in 2020, and is open to applications from all national youth service grant scheme organisations and from Gaisce – the President’s Award.

All eligible organisations have been provided with application forms and guidance notes relating to the Fund.

The Fund is now open to applications for initiatives being run in 2020. It is intended that this first year of the Fund will be a learning year which will conclude with a national Outcomes Conference where applicants and young people will come together to reflect on achievements and consider how the Fund should develop further.

The Fund is being established following the United Nations focus on youth engagement as part of the global response to climate change.

Opening the Fund, Minister Zappone said:

“After attending the UN General Assembly Session of 2019, when the youth of the world raised their voices about the climate crisis for world leaders to hear, I was determined to support Irish youth to take their lead on action for climate justice. This Fund will do precisely that. Its intention is to support the enthusiasm and innovative ideas of our young people to target this crucial issue of our time. It is my hope that this fund can grow as young people embrace it and use it to effect positive change.
“This initiative represents an important opportunity for youth-led change to address the climate crisis that our planet faces. We are making a clear statement - that the young people of Ireland will be taking a lead in this, that they recognise that they are part of a global family and are making sure that we are part of what needs to be a fair and balanced international effort to tackle the greatest challenge of this generation – or indeed any generation.”

Applications to the Fund should propose projects which will achieve one, or more, of the following key goals or actions:

  • raise climate justice awareness among young people
  • educate youth groups and clubs on climate justice, including supporting development education organisations to work with young people
  • empower young people to influence, effect and sustain local, regional or national climate justice change, creating dialogue with people outside of the youth sector
  • deliver practical climate justice initiatives by young people in their communities, including supports to facilitate the participation of young people with fewer opportunities
  • develop youth related activities to embed climate justice communications, network building and deliberative capacity that connects with, and leverages, local youth and community activities
  • strengthen youth practitioner capacity to integrate climate justice education into their youth work practice
  • participate in and influence local public and private policy formation aimed at environmentally sustainable development and management of climate action


Notes to the Editor:

Definition of Climate Justice

Climate change is deeply inequitable. Those who have contributed least to carbon emissions often suffer the most. This has given rise to the concept of climate justice which frames global warming as an ethical and political issue rather than one that is purely environmental or physical in nature.

It was defined by the Mary Robinson Foundation as follows:

“Climate justice links human rights and development to achieve a human-centred approach, safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable and sharing the burdens and benefits of climate change and its resolution equitably and fairly.”

Eligible Organisations and Application forms

In this pilot year, applications under the Fund are open to national youth organisations being funded under the Youth Services Grant Scheme, and to Gaisce – the President’s Award. All eligible organisations have been circulated with application forms and guidance.

Youth Service Grant Scheme – funding is made available on an annual basis to 30 national and major regional voluntary organisations. The continued funding of voluntary youth organisations through the Scheme is intended to ensure the emergence, promotion, growth and development of youth organisations with distinctive philosophies and programmes aimed at the social education of young people.

Key Timeline:

  • 16 March 2020 – Launch of Youth Climate Justice Fund
  • May 2020 – Deadline for Applications
  • December 2020 – Outcomes Conference led by young people

COVID-19 Considerations

The Youth Climate Justice Fund is being opened to applications from national youth organisations to enable those organisations to consider and plan suitable projects in a manner which is in line with all public health guidance and which supports social distancing. In this way, organisations can use the present time to plan and submit applications so that projects can be funded and delivered later in the year as appropriate.

Please note that the video to support this Fund was filmed prior to social distancing advice being issued by public health authorities.