Youth for democracy
The current economic and social context in Europe today is creating very diverse challenges for young people. They are often the first to be affected by unemployment and discrimination. With increasing fragmentation and economic inequalities of our societies there is a real risk of democratic disillusionment and social exclusion of young people. The Youth for Democracy programme seeks to achieve the active participation and autonomy of young people in peaceful and inclusive societies of Europe. The work is based on a co-management principle that actively involves young people in the decision-making process.
A series of activities such as training courses, conferences, seminars, consultative meetings, youth peace camps and study sessions bringing youth NGOs to the European Youth Centres to study the priority themes prepares the beneficiaries to become multipliers for the values defended through the youth programme. Research and educational manuals are also produced and widely disseminated, thereby reaching out to a wider population of youth workers, NGOs and authorities on the priorities of the Youth for Democracy programme; this will be strengthened by the wide outreach of the No Hate Speech Movement to individuals in the member States.
This programme line involves a double perspective.
- The first objective is that young people change their behaviour to influence decisions in democratic processes and increase their involvement in the development of inclusive and peaceful societies.
- The second objective is that member States take concrete measures for youth policy development facilitating young people’s access to rights.
The strategic priorities for each biennial programme of the youth sector are defined by the Joint Council on Youth, which is the central co‐managed political body of the youth sector.
The three strategic priorities for the 2016‐2017 biennium will be to focus on:
- supporting young people and member States in increasing the participation of young people in democratic processes;
- supporting member States and youth NGOs in the implementation of Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation CM/Rec(2015)3 on the access of young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods to social rights (ENTER recommendation);
- supporting the promotion of inclusive and peaceful societies, especially through the extended No Hate Speech Movement and the Roma Youth Action Plan.
The Programming Committee on Youth is the co‐managed body taking decisions on the programme of the youth sector, including the grants awarded by the European Youth Foundation.
When taking its decisions, the Programming Committee on Youth examines a proposed project’s links with the expected results and how it can contribute to achieving the overall objectives of the youth sector.
The following expected results and programme orientations have been defined for 2016‐2017.
Expected result 1: Young people and youth organisations have developed their competencies and knowledge to influence decisions in democratic processes
- E‐forms of youth participation and promoting human rights online
- Promoting real influence of young people in decision‐making processes, particularly
- participation at the local and regional level (European Charter of Local Self‐Government;
- Charter on local and regional youth participation)
- Acquisition of competences for democratic citizenship
- Promoting youth participation in formal education
Young people will have a key‐role in renewing democracy and developing an effective citizenship, especially through new and innovative forms of participation. Youth work, volunteering and non‐formal education will be recognised as models of youth participation that contribute to young people’s self‐development and citizenship. Youth organisations will be supported as spaces for democratic participation and as partners in implementing the Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education (EDC/HRE).
Expected result 2: Stakeholders have been assisted to take actions to foster young people’ access to their rights and young people’s autonomy.
- Young people’s transition to autonomy through a rights‐based approach
- Young people’s access to rights and the implementation/follow‐up of the Committee of
- Ministers recommendation on young people’s access to rights
- Increasing knowledge of and capacity to combat intersectional, multiple and other forms of discrimination
- Acquisition of competencies through non‐formal learning and its recognition
A rights‐based approach to youth policies, built on the standards and principles of the Council of Europe’s human rights instruments will be developed. Responses to exclusion, discrimination in all its forms and xenophobia will be developed in the framework of the implementation of the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member States on the access of young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods to social rights. Support to the further development of Youth Cards throughout Europe and beyond will continue to improve social integration, mobility and self‐development of young people. Young people’s transition to autonomy will be supported through the recognition of youth work and non‐formal learning practices.
Expected result 3: NGOs and youth workers have been supported in their work on intercultural dialogue, mutual understanding and peace‐building.
- Peace‐building and intercultural dialogue through non‐formal learning and formal
- Countering violent extremism
- Integration/social inclusion of migrants, young refugees, minority and vulnerable groups, including follow‐up of the Roma Youth Action Plan
- Supporting youth NGOs in conflict affected regions
- Continuing building strong links with relevant actors in the youth‐field on a global level
Youth policies or strategies will be designed to prevent or reverse the marginalisation and/or exclusion of individuals and groups, particularly members of the most vulnerable groups in society, for example in the follow up to the Roma Youth Action Plan. Young people and youth organisations will be empowered to take an active role in peace‐building and conflict transformation as well as in fostering intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding with neighbouring countries and international cooperation. Rising extremism and hate speech will be countered through the follow‐up of the No Hate Speech Movement Campaign with activists and National Campaign Committees.
The Council of Europe White paper on Intercultural Dialogue will serve as a reference when implementing this priority.