Young people share ideas on environmental policies

On April 9, Europe Direct Valletta and MEUSAC invited young people to join the CITIZENV initiative taking place in all Member States to discuss future environmental policies of the EU. The group met the Maltese Deputy Director General, DG Environment of the European Commission, Mrs Joanna Drake, at Europe House in Valletta.

The discussion, taking place in all Member States between January and May 2019 about the future priorities of EU environment policy, is being held both in view of the expiry (and the evaluation) of the 7th Environment Action Programme and the elaboration of the new Commission’s priorities. In that respect, CITIZENV gathers the feelings, concerns and ideas of young people: the year of the European elections is indeed a good opportunity to discuss the European environment policy, and to reflect on its future.

The discussion focused on 5 questions in a very friendly and participatory way, to gather ideas on what matters in the European Commission’s environmental policies for youth. The following questions were discussed in small groups:

– How will our environment look like in 2030?
– How can I convince others to be environmentally conscious?
– What is the most urgent action that needs to be tackled?
– What an I ready to do on my part?
– What needs to be done in my country, hometown, and the places I go to?

During the discussions, participants highlighted the following concerns: bold decisions need to be taken by governments to address the effects of climate change, construction and waste; governments need to be judged not only in terms of economic performance, but also in terms of sustainability; young people expect that policies do not remain on paper but are truly implemented and enforced; urgent action needs to be taken as regards water extraction and conservation; traffic pollution is not the only major source of pollution – the impact of air and sea pollution must not be disregarded; the need to counteract the general sense of ‘apathy’ which leads to complacency; authorities and organisations need to work together to address common problems through common solutions – actions need to be purpose driven and community based.

At the end of the sessions, Dr Drake commended the participants for their valuable input and recommendations which will be forwarded to the European Commission. She also said that the Commission is committed to inform them – and the institutions hosting the events – about policy developments based on the feedback received, via emails or social networks.

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