Africa-Europe Youth Cooperation
The milestone in the work of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe (NSC-CoE) in Africa-Europe Youth Cooperation was the 1st Africa-Europe Youth Summit (AEYS), held in Lisbon in 2007.
The final declaration of the AEYS, presented to the Summit of Heads of State and Government, called for an Africa-Europe Youth programme that would enable exchanges between and the capacity-building of youth organisations, creating the framework and conditions for their active participation in the development of their societies, in decision/policy-making and in the implementation of the EU-Africa Strategic partnership.
The Africa-Europe Youth Cooperation (AEYC) programme was led by the NSC-CoE in collaboration with the European Union, the African Union, the Council of Europe, the European Youth Forum and the Pan-African Youth Union. Other relevant actors such as the African Diaspora Youth Network Europe (ADYNE) and the Network of International Youth Organizations in Africa (NIYOA) would eventually appear and join the partnership.
In 2008, the NSC-CoE and the European Commission (EuropeAid) signed the first Joint Management Agreement – JMA (2009-2011), for the development of an Africa-Europe dimension of the Youth Co-operation programme of the NSC-CoE. Besides the JMA, the NSC-CoE was also responsible for the implementation of Africa-Europe cooperation activities under the framework of the EU-CoE youth partnership until 2012.
In 2012 the first JMA was extended, allowing the continuation of the work developed until the signature of the new JMA in September 2012 for the period 2013-2015.
Dimensions and activities
Within this framework, the NSC and its partners developed different activities to implement the conclusions and demands expressed on the final declarations of the Africa-Europe Youth Summits.
Through a series of training courses and seminars, the NSC contributed to the capacity-building of youth organisations, youth leaders of the African Diaspora in Europe, and trainers specialised in Africa-Europe Youth Cooperation.
The NSC supported advocacy and policy development by organising institutional meetings, 5 sub-regional seminars on Youth Policies and the African Youth Charter, and a “Youth Leaders Meeting on Youth Policies in the context of the AEYC”, which outlined the AEYC Action Plan for 2012-2015 and established the grounds of the Africa-Europe Youth Platform (AEYP) for its monitoring.
Moreover, a seed-funding grant scheme supported around 60 projects intended to promote youth exchange, networking and political participation in the context of Africa-Europe Youth Cooperation.
During the first years of the AEYC, the NSC consolidated the African University on Youth and Development as a permanent annual feature that provided a common space for youth action and the promotion of youth policies, training and non-formal education, and intercultural and inter-regional dialogue within the context of Euro-African Youth Cooperation.
Several declarations containing recommendations and priorities for the improvement of youth rights, as well as national political commitments for the implementation of youth policies, emerged from these activities that followed the Africa-Europe Youth Summits' demands.
The North-South Centre played a facilitating role in the preparation of the Africa-Europe Youth Summits and in the monitoring and evaluation meetings conducted, to guide and assess the development of the activities that fed the Africa-Europe Youth Cooperation programme.
Eventually in 2013, an online resource centre (AEYCO) was created to provide continuous updates on the mapping of relevant actors in the Africa Europe Youth Cooperation and foster capacity-building and cooperation between Africa and Europe organisations working towards the goals of the Africa-EU Strategy.
African Union – European Union Initiative
Since 2015, the North-South Centre has been accompanying the projects implemented by the European Union and the African Union. Namely,
- the “AU-EU Youth Plug-In Initiative (YPII)" organised in the run up to the 4th Africa-Europe Youth Summit - preceding the 5th AU-EU Summit - from which the Youth Agenda came out;
- the “AU-EU Cooperation Hub” that followed-up for the implementation of pilot projects on the six areas identified in the Youth Agenda;
- and online activities such as the “Africa-Europe Youth Meet Up” (2020) and the “Africa-Europe Week” (2022) - preceding the 6th AU-EU Summit.
The “Youth Consultation and High-Level Event on the AU-EU Youth Programme 2022-2025 (Lab 3.0)”, organised in the framework of the Youth Track Programme of the Africa-Europe Week, aimed to set the grounds for the Youth Action Plan to be launched in 2022, which will count on the collaboration of the NSC as organiser of the African University on Youth and Development.