On 14th-16th April, ACP YPN were invited as guests to take part in the European Youth Forum’s (EYF) Council of Members (#COMEM). ACP YPN was represented by Yentyl Williams, ACP YPN Founder and President and Zama Nkosi, ACP YPN Private Sector Expert (SDG 17)
This was a unique occasion to engage in debate and understand the decision making process of the EYF, the platform of over 100 youth organisations (both National Youth Councils and International Non-Governmental Youth Organisations) in Europe. ACP YPN gained insight into the functioning of the governing body and the vision of the organisation that is the voice of young people in Europe, namely to empower, encourage, involve, represent, reach out and support young people.
On Thursday evening, EYF members, observers and guests were invited to celebrate EYF’s 20th anniversary, #20years4youth , with a high-level exchange with European Commission Vice-President, Jyrki Katainen Commissioner for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness; Commissioner Tibor Navracsics for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport and Aida Hadzialic Swedish Minister for Education and Reserach. The event was held at the Natural Sciences Museum in Brussels. Being surrounded by dinosaurs was an ironic reminder that in policy-making, just as in life, we need to evolve or we will become extinct.
Zama Nkosi, ACP YPN Private Sector Expert (SDG 17) represented ACP YPN on 16th April and raised the following question on behalf of ACP YPN: Subject: An inclusive European Youth Forum, an inclusive Europe?
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau recently said that diversity is not just social policy, diversity is the engine that drives innovation and growth. What is the EYF doing to promote inclusiveness of young people, irrespective of race, ethnicity, origin, religion and economic status, both as the level of the EYF and Europe-wide?
The EU has a partnership with the 79 countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states, called the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA). Article 26 (CPA) on ‘youth issues’ is currently under-utilised and youth have become marginalised in largely technical cooperation between EU and ACP. How will EYF support the implementation of this Article 26 CPA so that both European and ACP youth can benefit from what the partnership set out to do before its expiry in 2020?
In response, EYF listed some of the initiatives that they are involved in to ensure more inclusiveness and they also highlighted their work on anti-discrimination policy with the EU, as well as their promotion of youth rights guided by the mantra “no young person left behind”. Indeed, at the COMEM, EYF adopted the resolution on quality standards for youth policy. While EYF were less aware of the Article 26 CPA, they welcomed dialogue and engagement with ACP YPN on this issue. Overall, it was an extremely positive experience and we thoroughly look forward to evolving together so that we do not become dinosaurs and making our societies more inclusive. Watch this space!
Find out more about EYF here
And don’t miss the opportunity to join ACP YPN and EYF meet-up to find out more about the European Youth Event, Aloft Hotel, May 3rd from 6pm. Sign up to our mailing list to keep up-to-date here.