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EACEA National Policies Platform


9. Youth and the World

9.5 Green volunteering, production and consumption

Last update: 28 November 2023

Green volunteering


Youth Volunteering - European Blue Flag Association

The Youth Volunteering - European Blue Flag Association is a youth volunteering initiative promoted by the European Blue Flag Association within the scope of the Now Us programme, coordinated by IPDJ, I.P.

It took place during June 2017.

The goal was that young people participated in activities of environmental education awareness-raising; beach cleaning campaigns; and games/workshops with schools or entities.

The initiative was targeted at young people between the age of 16 and 30, living outside of the locations where the different actions took place to do volunteering work for a month (June 2017).

In 2017, it included a set of 4 campaigns:

  • Clean Mediterranean Week Campaign;
  • Roach Hunt and Q-tip Hunt Campaign;
  • Development of environmental education workshops (inspections on award-winning beaches and marinas;
  • Backoffice support plus dynamization of activities.

The young volunteers were awarded with a participation certificate, a personal accident and liability insurance and reimbursement of travel expenses.  The initiative was funded by IPDJ, I.P.


Youth Volunteering for Nature and Forests Programme (Voluntariado Jovem para a Natureza e as Florestas)

By Resolution of the Council of Ministers no. 166/2017, of 2 November, the "Youth Volunteering for Nature and Forests" Programme was created, aiming to promote youth volunteering practices within the scope of nature, forests and their respective ecosystems preservation, by raising awareness among the general public, as well as preventing forest fires and other disasters with environmental impact, monitoring and restoring affected territories.

Regulation no. 178/2019, of 21 February, republishes with amendments to Regulation no. 124/2018, of 21 February and with amendments introduced by Regulation no. 739/2018, of 31 October.

The Program is aimed at young volunteers aged between 18 and 30, inclusive, and non-profit organizations and municipalities.

The activities to be developed under this Program fall within the different areas of activity:

a) Awareness raising of the general public for the prevention of nature, forests and their ecosystems;

b) Inventory and monitoring of animal and plant species at risk;

c) Inventory, signalling and maintenance of forest paths and access to water points;

d) Recovery of footpaths;

e) Cleaning and maintenance of leisure parks;

f) Mobile surveillance on foot or by bicycle in the areas defined by the local coordination bodies;

g) Fixed surveillance at lookout points,

h) Inventory of areas in need of cleaning;

i) Logistical support for wildlife recovery centres;

j) Logistical support to forest fire prevention and detection centres;

k) Inventory and monitoring of burnt forest areas;

l) Reforestation activities;

m) Invasive species control activities;

n) Other integrated activities in the areas of intervention of the Programme.



Green production and consumption


ECOs-Locations (ECOs-Locais)

The ECOs-Locations project is a national project with a local scope of action, coordinated by the League for Nature Protection, in partnership with the CNE Scouts and the Protection Service of Nature and Environment of the GNR (Portuguese National Guard).

The project began in 2009 and continues to be implemented.

It aims to promote an environmental citizenship through the active and informed participation of society, and the awareness and participation in the prevention and resolution of environmental problems.

Initially, it was targeted at young scouts between the age of 14 and 22, having been extended later on to other youth groups, whose scope of action mainly involves the local community.

This project encompasses a wide range of promotion initiatives and practical actions to promote the sustainable management and conservation of nature and biodiversity.

In 2017 there were several actions that took place both to invigorate and promote the project by society and the dynamization of several ECO-Actions open to the general public, and to promote the collaboration of actions with partner institutions for the extension of the scope of action of the project.  

It is funded by EEA Grants - Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area.


Tagus Project (Projeto Tejo)

Tagus Project is a project focused on applying for the registration of the cultural landscapes of Iberian Tejo on the UNESCO world heritage list - TEJO Project - is promoted by Tagus Universalis Portugal Association and aims to build an Itinerary of the different structures/territorial units with landscape quality in collaboration with schools, teachers and students. For this purpose, the objective of this project is to create a network of schools that belong to the municipalities of Tejo that are close to a river


        Young Reporters for the Environment

The Young Reporters for the Environment Programme is an initiative of the Foundation for Environmental Education which aims to contribute to the training of the exercise of an active and participatory citizenship through environmental journalism. The programme is promoted by the European Blue Flag Association and is running in Portugal since 1994.

This programme adopts a participatory methodology, by conducting research on issues of sustainability, with a focus on the environment, noting questions, problems and solutions. The process consists of 4 stages: research a local environmental theme or problem; propose solutions; report a local environmental issue and its possible solution through a journalistic production, targeting the local audience; and promoting the theme to the local audience.

It is targeted at school groups (between 13 and 21 years) or freelancers (between 15 and 21 years).

At the international level, students and teachers from 29 countries that are part of the current network are participating in the Young Reporters for the Environment project.

The project also includes an additional set of initiatives:

Litter Less Campaign    

The Litter Less Campaign is an international project coordinated by the Foundation for Environmental Education and integrates 9 countries of the Environment network.

The objective is to observe, interpret, report and find more sustainable solutions to the problem of waste, namely through a set of activities within schools to promote awareness, knowledge and skills on prevention and management of waste.

It is targeted at schools that must plan and carry out a school and/or community campaign through a competition within the Community Actions Days and shoot a film about the Community Action Day/Global Action Day campaign.

The winners at the national level (3 winners per category - article, photo-reportage, video report) and 1 in each age group (11-14 and 15-21), will be published on the Young Reporters for the Environment platform and will participate in the international competition and in a national mission.


Me and YRE - Short video competition

The Me and YRE is an initiative aimed at young people who are participating or have already participated in the Young Reporters for the Environment programme.

Young people must produce a short video with a testimony about their experience and participation in the program, which should portray the impact and changes that this participation has produced in their lives.

The videos will be taking part in the international competition and will also be published on the YouTube channel of Young Reporters for the Environment.


Eco-reporter of Energy (Eco-repórter da Energia)

The  Eco-reporter of energy initiative promotes reports focused on energy, in the region where the school is located.

The objective is to develop a set of local research on the effectiveness and efficiency of energy use in various themes: from renewable energies to consumption habits; from the mobility habits to the implications in terms of climate change.

Research must make their relevant cases and examples known at the local/regional level.

The objective is to stimulate the critical interest and knowledge in young people in the field of ​​energy and environmental sustainability by addressing the themes of energy and environment, while promoting research and journalism skills at the same time.

The journalistic pieces produced will be directed to the local, regional, national or international media (internet).

Schools that participate must be enrolled in the Eco-Schools or Young Reporters for the Environment networks. Young people should fall into one of the following categories: up to 15 years and between 15 and 21 years.



The ECO XXI Project is an international programme that seeks to recognize good sustainability practices developed at the local level, recognising the title of eco-municipalities.

This project has been implemented since 2005. It is promoted by the Foundation for Environmental Education, and the Blue Flag Association of Europe is responsible for its implementation in Portugal, in partnership with the Directorate General for Education.

It is mainly targeted at the technicians and decision makers of the municipalities that are considered privileged agents of promotion of the sustainable development at the local level.

The scope of Sustainable Development is based on two axes: education towards sustainability and environmental quality.

The objective is to promote at the local level, through the municipalities, the environmental education using the processes of formal and non-formal education of programmes of Environmental Education for Sustainable Development and the establishment of partnerships with school projects under the implementation of Local Agenda 21.


Awareness-Raising Campaign for Energy and Climate Change

The Awareness-raising Campaign for Energy and Climate Change is an initiative promoted by GEOTA - Study Group of Environmental and Spatial Planning (Grupo de Estudos de Ordenamento do Território e Ambiente), which aims to raise the awareness of a rational use of energy and climate change.

This campaign is targeted at schools and the general public, and intends to promote information and training initiatives in various formats (formal presentations and press and media releases) through a variety of channels (Internet, mass media), and through various media.

It also provides for the organisation of events targeted at the general public to promote the change of behaviours/attitudes.

The Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth, the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training and Geota are the entities that fund this initiative.


Sustainable Mobility

Promotion Plan for Bicycles and Other Means of Soft Transportation

The National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency 2013-2016 established means of transportation as a priority area, in particular by promoting the use of bicycles and other "soft means of transportation", as established in the project "Cycling - National Plan for the Promotion of Bicycles and Other Means of Soft Transportation 2013-2020 (Ciclando - Plano Nacional de Promoção da Bicicleta e Outros Modos Suaves).

Within the scope of action of School and Public Health, the Cycling plan's operational objective is to promote in the school context the education and training of children and young people about soft means of transportation and sustainable mobility.

It intends to raise the awareness of the environmental benefits that come with the reduction of pollutant and noise emissions, and less congestion, not only to the environmental quality, but also to the quality of life, from the point of view of the individual health of each citizen, reinforcing the physical well-being and the combat against obesity.

In this sense, the objectives are:

  • Educating and training children and young people;
  • Developing promotion project to go to school on foot or by bicycle;
  • Promoting the acquisition of skills to ride a bicycle.

The Directorate General for Education, on behalf of the Ministry of Education, integrated the working group that created the project "Plan for the Promotion of Bicycles and Other Means of Soft Transportation.

The third National Energy Efficiency Action Plan places energy efficiency as a priority of energy policy, considering, on the one hand, that, to date, Portugal does not have endogenous fossil resources, nor a sufficient volume of primary energy purchases to influence market prices (price taker) and, on the other, that the increase in energy efficiency promotes energy protection and security with a favourable cost-benefit ratio.


U-bike Project

The U-bike project aims at to promote soft mobility, through the use of bicycles in the university context. 

The project is coordinated by the Institute of Mobility and Transports, I.P. and started in September 2016.

15 Higher education institutions joined the project.

This projects is framed in the objectives of Portugal 2020, under the Operational Programme for Sustainability and Efficient Use of Resources and the Green Growth Commitment.

The allocation of 3.234 bicycles is expected (2.096 electrical and 1.138 normal bicycles) for a long-term use, either a semester or the whole school year.

The objective is promoting the regular use of this means of transportation as especially efficient for urban mobility, increasing the use of bicycles in urban areas.

With the use of bicycles throughout the 2-year period of the project, the goal is to save around 166.32 tons of oil equivalent, which means a reduction of 505 tons of CO2 emission.

The project is funded under the Operational Programme for Sustainability and Efficient Use of Resources, with the co-funding of the Cohesion Fund.


Energy and energy efficiency

Energy tutors in schools (Tutores de energia nas Escolas)

The Energy Eco-tutors in Schools measure arises within the scope of the Consumption Efficiency Promotion Plan  and intends to promote activities of public interest in the field of energy and energy efficiency.

This initiative is promoted by ADENE - Energy Agency, in partnership with RNAE - Energy and Environmental Agencies Association (national network).

The objective is to increase the awareness of the importance of energy efficiency, through the change of practices of the end use of energy, especially in the school universe.

It intends to create the figure of Energy Tutor in 120 school groups, through the acquisition of skills for energy management and raise the awareness of 45.000 students and school staff to the rational use of energy and the adoption of sustainable behavioural practices.

Among other activities, it provides for the creation of promotional videos of different awareness-raising actions developed in schools intended for teachers, staff and students.

This measure is funded by the Consumption Efficiency Promotion Plan of ERSE - Energy Services Regulatory Authority.


ON-OFF Campaign

The ON-OFF campaign is a campaign to raise the awareness of energy efficiency, which arose from a partnership between ADENE - Energy Agency, the Portuguese Radio and Television and the Secretary of State for Energy.

This campaign includes two mascots - Onofre and Maria da Luz and intends to encourage changes in the behaviour and consumption patterns and, in this way, lead to the reduction of the energy bill in three fundamental areas: home, work and mobility.

The campaign includes the production of short films (2 to 3 minutes), with the goal of explaining concepts and giving tips to the population.

In an initial phase, this campaign was targeted at families, but in a later phase it intends to expand to the school community.


“- é A tua equação da Energia!"

The - é + A tua equação da Energia! initiative intends to raise the awareness of teenagers and young people to energy efficiency.

This initiative is supported by ERSE under the Consumption Efficiency Promotion Plan programme and coordinated through a partnership between ADENE - Energy Agency and the Student Forum.

It uses communication strategies that combine specialised means of communication in the student public and the organisation of awareness-raising and training initiatives.

The objective is to introduce behavioural changes that have an direct or indirect impact in school and its energy consumption.

It is targeted at students of the 3rd cycle of Basic Education and Secondary Education (from the 7th grade to the 12th).

It includes a wide range of initiatives:

  • “less energy consumption” is equal to “more future, more saving, more nature”;
  • "Better School & Energy" (Melhor Escola & Energia) competition - with the goal of mobilising students and teachers to a critical view on energy consumption and how to reduce it in school; 
  • eight training seminars - targeted at teachers that drive teams of the 40 schools competing in this competition;
  • support teaching materials, notably the "Better School & Energy" magazine;
  • stand-up comedy show, named Stand by me;
  • exhibition on energy efficiency.

Under the partnership with the Student Forum magazine, it was created the space "- is +" in the abovementioned publication, with  the lauch of monthly tips on energy efficiency.


Twist competition – your energy makes a difference - and it is already on the street (Concurso Twist - a tua energia faz a diferença - e já está na rua)

The Twist - your energy makes a difference initiative is a competition of education and awareness-raising of young people in secondary education to the themes of Energy Efficiency, Climate Change, Renewable Energies and Sustainable Development.

The objective is that secondary education students and teachers acquire skills and knowledge about these themes through exercises of analysis and projection of possible scenarios for the future.

This competition is held by EDP Universal Service, with the support of ADENE - Energy Agency and the Ministry of Education, and with the approval of ERSE - Energy Services Regulatory Authority.  It arose within the scope of the 5th edition of the Electric Energy Consumption Efficiency Promotion Plan.


Energy Game II

The Energy Game II initiative is a national championship that encompasses various schools of the country.

It intends to raise young people's awareness to the issues of energy efficiency and saving.

This initiative involves an innovative videogame that simulates the story of a family with eight characters participating in a television competition.

The objective is to raise students' awareness to the electric energy saving in a dynamic manner, where they choose a character and have to answer a number of questions about energy and energy efficiency.

This initiative took place in Cascais, with the support of the City Council of Cascais, and was promoted by ADENE - Energy Agency in partnership with Cascais Ambiente (a Municipal Environment Company of Cascais) under the Electric Energy Consumption Efficiency Promotion Plan, which is promoted by ERSE - Energy Services Regulatory Authority.


LIFE projects

SPEA - Portuguese society for the study of birds is involved in some projects of the LIFE Programme (L'Instrument Financier pour l'Environment) which funds activities that promote the development of European Policies and Strategies in the field of Environment.

Within the scope of its activities, SPEA - Portuguese society for the study of birds develops projects targeted at the school public, which develop information and awareness activities and initiatives in the educational community for the promotion of habits of nature conservation.

The projects count with the partnership of the Portuguese Environmental Agency and the Ministry of Education through the Directorate General for Education and the Directorate General for School Establishments.

LIFE Sparrow hawks (fura-bardos)

This initiative was launched in 2013 and intends to increase the knowledge regarding sparrow hawks.

It includes lectures, workshops, educational games and exhibits adapted according to the age and education of the participants, covering students from preschool to secondary education.

LIFE Rupis

This initiative takes place in school years 2016/13, 2017/18 and 2018/19, under the Special Protection Zones of Douro Internacional, Vale do Águeda and Arribes del Duero project.

It aims to raise the awareness of school communities and the population to the conservation of the threatened birds of prey (namely the Egyptian vulture and Bonelli's eagle).

The following are included in its activities: a School Programme of activities with schools (ex: classroom, field work, training of teachers); production of educational and playful resources and participation in events, with fun and educational activities ("Rupis' Corner").



The EDUCO2CEAN project counts with 7 partners from 4 countries (Portugal, Spain, Scotland and Poland), being coordinated in Portugal by ASPEA - Portuguese Association for Environmental Education and Ciência Viva.

It has a duration of 24 months and ends in August 2018.

The goal is to create a pedagogical model "Science-Technology-Society" (STS), with potential to be applied all over the European Union.

The communication between the different countries intends to create a communication with society in the sense of raising the awareness of the importance of research on the impacts and mitigation of climate change in the sea, with a special emphasis in the Atlantic Ocean and the Baltic Sea.

This project's activities foresee the sharing of projects and ideas as a way to improve the scientific and communication competencies, through initiatives that allow to meet other practices and cultures by participating in exchange programmes of European students in the 3rd cycle of basic education and secondary education (13-18 years), teachers and the general society.

It is funded by ERASMUS+ in strategic partnerships of cooperation for the innovation and exchange of good practices.


Eco-Schools (Eco-Escolas)

Eco-Schools is an international educational project promoted by the Foundation for Environmental Education, which, in Portugal, is represented by the European Blue Flag Association.

More than 11 million students and 52 countries participate in this project. In Portugal, 1.300 school establishments are currently participating.

The objective is to support activities developed in schools through an adequate methodology and training, aiming to encourage the creation of partnerships for the implementation of the 21 Agenda locally. 

Every year, one or more themes are chosen that must be addressed by eco-schools, among the following fields: water, waste, energy, biodiversity, biological agriculture, outdoor spaces, noise and transports.

The European Blue Flag association counts on the technical support of the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests, which is part of the National Eco-Schools Commission.

Among the activities developed in this project, the following stand out:

The National Ecoschools Commission includes a wide range of institutional partners such as the Portuguese Environmental Agency, the Directorate General for Education, the Directorate General for School Establishments, the Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests.