At the opening of the 21st edition of the University on Youth and Development (UYD), organised by the Council of Europe’s North-South Centre on 12 September 2022 in Mollina (Spain), James Moloney (Ireland, ILDG), Vice-Chair of the Current Affairs Committee and Congress Rapporteur on rural youth, underlined the importance “of making the younger generation part of governance” in line with the values and standards of the Council of Europe and of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
"Youth work comes in many shapes and does not fit into one single mould”." underlined Mr Moloney, presenting the Congress activities in this field. Among them is the “Rejuvenating Politics” initiative”, a programme that allows youth delegates from the 46 member States to participate in Congress sessions and meetings. More recently, the Congress adopted a report on youth work, as well as guidelines encouraging local and regional authorities to get young people involved in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mr Moloney also presented the report on the future of youth in rural areas and shared some of the specific battles that young people in rural areas have to fight such as access to education and employment, service provision, and less opportunities than urban peers to participate in public and political life. To address these challenges the Congress calls for meeting young people where they are at, engage with them in an intersectional way, and listen to their feedback for instance by engaging with rural youth organisations to better understand needs and creating advisory youth councils.
“What better way to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ensure a sustainable future than by involving the young generation who represents both the present and the future.”, he concluded.
See also: Youth participation
The 21st edition of the University on Youth and Development (UYD) gathered over 235 youth workers, youth leaders, decision makers, experts from the field and institutional representatives. This year, the 10 activities focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16 “the role of young people in promoting peaceful and inclusive societies”.