Idealistic, absurd, very new, unclear, hopeful, manipulative, work in progress, investment on the future - these are just a few definitions of youth policies in their countries given by young people who will participate in or follow the First Global Forum on Youth Policies to take place in Baku on 28-30 October 2014.
The Forum is supported by the Council of Europe and hosted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan under its Chairmanship in the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers. It is bringing together some 700 participants, including youth ministers, policy leaders, young professionals and NGO representatives. They will discuss elements of an effective youth policy, specific strategies needed to address needs of young people in such areas as education, employment, leisure, volunteerism, urbanization, justice; and ways to encourage them to actively participate in public life.
A global blueprint for effective youth policies had already been put in place in 1995, with the adoption of the World Programme of Action for Youth. With the 20th anniversary of the Programme in sight, 122 out of 198 countries now have youth policies in place, and 32 are in the process of updating them. Lack of budget, especially in current economic circumstance, as well as limited scope and impact of youth policies are among key problems faced by those who work with young people.
The Council of Europe, through its European Youth Centres in France and Hungary, builds capacity of young people, and reflects their decisions in the funding priorities of its European Youth Foundation. The Council of Europe advises governments in youth policy matters and has enabled hundreds of thousands of young people from all over Europe to meet, share their concerns, learn from and motivate each other.