The Advisory Council on Youth held its bi-annual meeting in Budapest in March 2017. Among many other topics, the following developments can be highlighted from the meeting.
The AC commenced the process of evaluating the “Agenda 2020”, by adopting a roadmap that will present how well the Council of Europe achieved its objectives over the past 7 years. This roadmap will eventually lead to the development of the “Agenda 2030”, which will have an prominent role in the 2018-2019 mandate.
In addition, the Draft Recommendation on Youth Work was finalised and adopted by the Joint Council, and will be voted upon by the Committee of Ministers in September 2017.
In order to get an overview of which forms of youth participation are most prominent in local and national decision making, the AC commissioned a study on “Innovative Forms of Youth Participation”, the results of which were presented at the March meeting.
The AC and the government representatives in the Steering Committee on Youth (CDEJ) also debated the topic of “co-management”; a unique feature in the Youth Department by which youth and policy makers make decisions together. This system is meant to ensure valuable youth participation, which the AC also works to promote. However, it has been under scrutiny for the past few years, as some question its efficiency and continued relevance. The debate and accompanying survey among the current Joint Council members, showed that all are happy with the idea of co-management, as it gives legitimacy to youth policies and represents the highest level of youth participation in decision-making. Despite this, it can also be considered inefficient and tokenistic, and in order to not lose co-management, the debate provided space to have an open and honest discussion by sharing concerns, frustrations as well as the positive elements. It was a necessary conversation, which reminded both sides that co-management requires equal engagement from both the AC and the CDEJ.
Lastly, as a result of the previous thematic debate in October 2016 on the subject of young refugees, the Joint Council debated how to take the issue forward, and the AC pushed for the possibility to research the existing policies and potentially draft a recommendation on the subject of unaccompanied minors and young refugees in transition to adulthood. This would complement the action areas of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees, which has highlighted the lack of safeguards in place for young people in transition
While the current AC mandate does not finish until the end of the year, the elections for the 2018/19 mandate were already now held at the YFJ Comem in April 2017. 20 organisations (13 from the International youth organisations and 7 from national youth councils) were elected by the YFJ Members – EFIL is happy to announce that we were elected for another mandate with a high level of support, and Charlotte Klinting will be able to continue the work on intercultural dialogue activities in the Council of Europe and more.
Text and photos by Charlotte Klinting, AFS Denmark
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