"Young people are faced with our societies' challenges, but they are also powerful actors of change. Youth work is of particular importance in providing young people with tools that can fully unlock their potential", said Congress thematic spokesperson on Youth Thomas Andersson at the workshop on "Youth work as an integral part of youth policies in Member States" held online on 9 December 2020 during the 3rd European Convention on Youth Work.
Mr Andersson recalled the diversity of existing policies across Member States and reiterated the key role of local and regional authorities in ensuring that youth work receives proper recognition and the resources it deserves. "Work begins at local level where it is best adapted to actual needs. Authorities have a duty of ensuring the development of public policies that accompany, support and develop youth work," said Mr Andersson. Those areas where youth work has a significant impact were identified by the Congress and include facilitating the integration of refugees, combating radicalisation and the UN's sustainable development goals.
"We must maintain dialogue, exchange of good practices and continue involving young people in policies that affect them" added Mr Andersson, presenting the Congress' work in promoting youth participation through the "Youth Delegates” programme, which welcomes young people from all Member States to participate in sessions and conferences, providing valuable input on the various issues discussed. He also presented the youth delegates' contribution to the report, which encourages local and regional authorities to support youth work through the development of centres, investment in human and financial resources and supporting the youth sector in measuring the impact of their work.
Vasiliki Chatziefthymiou, youth delegate of the Congress actively participated in the conference alongside the spokesperson. "I applaud these initiatives that contribute to building partnerships at local, regional and international level and support the youth sector to make its value and benefits more visible" she declared stressing the importance of involving young people in the discussions: "In the 21st century, young people want to be involved in decision-making, but political institutions do not always give us the opportunity to do so. During these days of exciting plenary sessions, speeches and workshops, we had a voice. »
The Congress supports youth work as one of the priorities of the Council of Europe's youth sector strategy 2030.
The 3rd European Convention on Youth Work is organised by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, which is responsible for the activities of the German EU Presidency in the field of youth. It is supported by JUGEND für Europa, the national agency for European programmes Erasmus+ Youth in Action and the European Solidarity Corps. Following the meeting, the implementation of the European Youth Work Agenda was launched to strengthen and further develop youth work policies and practices in Europe.