EFIL is represented in the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe by the member of the European Pool of Trainers (EPRO) Charlotte Klinting (AFS Denmark), for the mandate 2016-2017.
The Advisory Council on Youth held its second meeting of 2016 in October, in Strasbourg. Co-management, which is the nature of the Council of Europe’s Youth Department, means that the governmental counterparts meet simultaneously, after which the two groups meet together for a two-day “Joint Council on Youth”. Meeting in advance gives the groups a chance to prepare on the issues up for discussion in the Joint Council, but no decision can be made without consensus.
Working along the three priorities – democracy, human rights and participation; autonomy of young people and access to rights; and building inclusive and peaceful societies – there are many items on the agenda, for example reporting on the development within these thematic areas, updates from the European Youth Foundation, and discussion on the youth partnership with the EU. In the October meeting there was a particular focus on the work of the Youth Department in relation to inclusion of refugees, and a thematic debate was held on the topic. The main outcome of the debate was the identification of the challenges, as well as the role and primary priorities of the Youth Department in supporting the social inclusion of young migrants and refugees and their full participation in society. It was agreed that a particular focus should be put on the situation of unaccompanied refugee minors in their transition to adulthood. The participants also explored how these priorities could translate into future programmes, and contribute to the Action Plan of the Secretary General’s Special Representative on Migration and Refugees (SGSR).
The Joint Council also needed to agree on the priorities for the upcoming mandate of 2018-2019. In an attempt to avoid loosing what has already been achieved, the result is primarily a restructuring of the current ones and addition of a few new areas of work, such as mental health and young refugees. The overall title is “Youth for Democracy and Human Rights” and includes Access to Rights; Youth Work and Youth Participation; and Inclusive and Peaceful Societies.
Other developments: Approval of the Quality Charter on Learning Mobility
The Advisory Council is part of the Steering Group of the European Platform for Learning Mobility, an initiative that sits with the Youth Partnership between the Council of Europe and the EU. Throughout 2016 the Partnership organised inputs from experts and practitioners to create a “Quality Charter on Learning Mobility”. It is meant to be a tool recognised by the field, i.e. organisations engaging in learning mobility, and consists of 20 principles of how to deliver high quality mobility projects in a non-formal context. There has been an effort to make the language suitable for grassroots organisations and making it youth friendly. After many months of editing, the Charter was adopted by the Steering Group, and the next step is to create a handbook with indicators and case studies for organisations to use. EFIL has provided extensive input on the consultations and by being present on behalf of the AC, emphasising that mobility programmes have to be centred on learning and mutual intercultural exchange.
The Charter will be presented at the biennial conference in 2017, entitled From good to better: Enhancing quality in learning mobility in the youth field from cross-sectorial perspectives (21 – 23 November 2017, France) The Conference will focus on the Charter, cross-sectorial cooperation, research and inclusion, and targeted at young people, mobility organisations, and policy makers in various sectors.
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Photos: ©Charlotte Klinting