On 29th November 2016, Barry Owino, ACP YPN European Youth Event (EYE) Ambassador was selected amongst 7,500 youth to present his ideas to the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee of the European Parliament.this is the follow up to the European Youth Event (EYE) that was held in May 2016 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Barry presented on Internet Connectivity to Enhance Security in Public Spaces and on how to make EU Funding Accessible for Zero-Carbon Renovation Projects of Existing Buildings. Here is the link to his live intervention.
Want to hear more or exchange about Barry Owino ideas?
On 28th November 2016, Yentyl Williams, ACP YPN Founder & President presented two ideas to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in the International Trade Committee. Yentyl was selected amongst 7,500 participants that took part in the European Youth Event (EYE)earlier on this year at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, where she led the first ever ACP YPN delegation of ten youth to the event. This follow-up in the Brussels’ Parliament allowed 12 young people to take their ideas and present them directly in front of MEPs.
Yentyl presented two ideas on (i) the European Commission’s Trade for All strategyand (ii) the EU-US Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). On the first idea, Yentyl underlined that the EU’s trade strategy must allow developing countries products, in particular those from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states, to enter the EU market to truly ensure that ‘Trade is for all’ as the strategy suggests. She gave the example of agricultural trade and how support can be given to enhance innovation in agriculture to prove its commitment to a more socially and economically responsible globalisation and international trade for all.
Yentyl’s second idea was based on adding an article to TTIP, and all future EU trade agreements to give youth a role in monitoring the agreement. This ideas was based this on her experience as an observer of the Caribbean EU Trade Agreement at the European Economic and Social Committee, where she represented the ACP YPN. In her words, “It is not only an added-value to make young people more aware of trade agreements and monitoring processes but it allows us to guarantee that trade should foster sustainable development which guarantees youth employment, decent jobs and protects the people and the planet.”
Yentyl Williams is EU-ACP Trade Researcher at the University of Ghent. She is also Founder and President of ACP YPN.
Did you miss out on her intervention here is the video link .
On 24-25 November, Yentyl Williams, ACP YPN Founder and President presented on ‘youth and the private sector – an ACP YPN perspective’ at the African Unions 8th Private Sector Forum, which took place in Nairobi, Kenya. This year’s theme was ‘Moving from ideas to enterprise creation; Empowering Women and Youth in the area of entrepreneurship in Africa’. Here is the presentation.
Yentyl presented the work of the ACP YPN to build a platform for youth of African, Caribbean and Pacific origin in Europe and to connect these youth to the opportunities both within Europe and in the respective ACP regions. Yentyl also highlighted the importance of private financing for an organisation like ACP YPN that has no public funding and relies on crowdfunding, private donations and members’ contributions. She also posed the question, which remains a challenge for ACP YPN: ‘how do make a social enterprise economically viable?’
The Forum brought together private sector, international development organisations, governments, women and youth entrepreneurs from inside and outside of Africa. The participants shared their experiences and developed recommendations for scaling up entrepreneurship policy development and implementation in Africa, in order to foster broad-based, inclusive and sustainable development.
On the 22nd of November 2016, Celine Fabrequette, ACP YPN Programme Manager and SDG5 Expert chaired the exchange between ACP YPN members and His Excellency Ambassador Leuelu. Ambassador Leuelu, Ambassador of the Republic of Tuvalu to the European Union, the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Duchy of Luxembourg. Ambassador Leuelu has 28 years of work experience and service with the Government of Tuvalu. Formerly he served as Tuvalu high Commissioner to the Republic of the Fiji Island. His work coverage focus in the UN, where he has taken part in key meetings on developing international commitments such as the Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change.
This exchange was a great opportunity to learn more about the impact that climate change have in Tuvalu and how young Tuvaluans are unable to take part in national efforts to address the issue. Tuvalu now has a total to 11000 citizens, however due to global warming already 5000 of Tuvaluans have had to relocate to neighboring countries such as New-Zealand or Australia. For a country with the characteristic of Tuvalu, global warming is a reality. Indeed, participants learnt that if the sea level were to rise to only 50cm, Tuvalu would cease to exist. To save Tuvalu, the government has taken actions towards adopting renewable energy initiatives; as of today Tuvalu uses 40% of renewable energy and aims to reach the 100% by 2020. By enabling its youth to attend and participate at COP meetings and developing the national campaign with young people, the Tuvalu Government is empowering youth involvement and supporting inter-generational dialogue.
Tuvalu is a great example of national efforts towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. We can only hope that their example will help everyone to see the urgency of the situation and the importance of having everyone and every country contribute and collaborate with each other to the effort towards addressing climate change.
On the 16th November 2016, Celine Fabrequette, ACP YPN Program Manager and SDG5 Expert, presented ACP YPN contributions to ‘making the Sustainable Development Goal5 (SDG5) on ‘gender equality and women’s and girl’s empowerment’ a reality at the ‘University Libre de Bruxelles’ (ULB).
AIESEC, the largest youth-run international organization, believes that one way these SDGs can be achieved is through activating youth leadership; forming the future leaders who will help accomplish these goals. ‘AIESEC Talk’ is part of the Youth for Global Goals initiative to raise awareness of the SDG Global Goals among young people with the aim to provide them with the opportunity to make a difference. Alongside Celine, Angèle Perignon presented the work that “les Ailles du Phoenix ASBL” on making SDG1 on ‘poverty eradication’ a reality in Brussels.
During the discussion many topics were discussed: involvement of men in gender debates, feminism, women in leadership positions, quotas, role models, which cumulated in a series of recommendations. The audience came to the agreement that:
Education can be used as a tools to reach gender equality, for example: by facilitating and providing opportunity to young girls, by enabling them to participate and explore different activities such as coding or scientific fairs aimed toward girls’ empowerment, diversity and inclusion. Another recommendation was:
The audience commended the work that has already been done toward reaching the SDG5, and agreed that action must be both bottom-up, as well as top-down from a policy perspective. Celine concluded the session by reminding the audience that: “big changes and big movements come from little actions done by each and every one.”
Want to know more about SDG5 on gender equality? Get in touch with Celine: LinkedIn & @fesira
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Yentyl’s main message was that 1) African solutions are needed for African problems and 2) ‘Africa is not a country’ but this new era of South-South and triangular cooperation does offer many opportunities for a secure century – however this must be based in trade and not merely security. Xumin Zhang explained, “We support peaceful resolutions to security issues on the continent and are encouraging countries, regional organisations, and the African Union to solve regional issues through African means.” José Fernando Costa Pereira said, “Chinese and European interests in Africa are converging (…) particularly in the areas of peace and security. We believe that these common interests provide us with a broader scope for trilateral cooperation between China, the EU, and African partners.”
On 9th November 2016, Dana Schurmans, ACP YPN Digital Inclusion Expert and PhD researcher at the Université Catholique de Louvain/Vrije Universiteit Brussel, shared her ideas on entrepreneurship and cybersecurity with Members of the Internal Market Committee at the European Parliament (MEPs) and the European Commission in Brussels. These European Youth Hearings are follow-up to the European Youth Event (EYE2016) in Strasbourg in May, where ACP YPN led the first ever ACP youth delegation to EYE2016. More than 7,500 young people came together to discuss, debate and exchange ideas and perspectives on youth-related issues, and just 12 were chosen to present their ideas. Dana is one of three ACP YPN EYE2016 delegation member’s that was chosen, as well as a fourth ACP YPN Ambassador. Dana said: “I felt really privileged to have people in the European Parliament considering in my ideas for improving online platforms and collaborative economy, and protecting online consumers against cyber risks”. See her interventions in French and Dutch here.
Dana outlined two initiatives:
A European Investment Bank-led EU Crowdfunding Programme with dedicated funds for young entrepreneurs. In her opinion, this could facilitate creative, innovative and sustainable ideas to pressing societal challenges (poverty, health, education, mobility, housing, malnutrition, climate change…). Dana highlighted that the Juncker Investment Plan offers high hopes in creating a significant number of good quality jobs for young people. She adds: “We certainly agree that the Investment plan should have a lasting impact, therefore, the project must invest in social enterprises which use online platforms.”
She also advocated for the establishment of a Cybersecurity Helpdesk to raise awareness on digital risks. Dana said: “From the lessons learned of my research on digital exclusion, I know that for a successful Digital Single Market strategy, European policies need to ensure that consumers; including those with low digital skills, understand their rights over their data and how to manage these rights in relation to businesses and governments”. This unique EU website would be promoted by a European video campaign.
Dana has already received positive feedback from the European Parliament and the European Commission, and shall be following up on both issues with several different European political parties that have shown interest to develop them further.
Ms. Dana Schurmans is researcher at the University Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She is also pursuing a joint doctoral thesis between UCL and VUB in communication science entitled ‘New narrative for digital inequalities from the perspective of disadvantaged youth communities’. Dana is Digital inclusion expert for ACP YPN.
Contact her by mail Dana.schurmansATgmail.com or follow her on TWITTER: @DanaSchurmans
On 8th November 2016, Seyi Akiwowo, ACP YPN’s Ambassador at European Development Days 2016 and the UK’s youngest black female Councillor for the London Borough of Newham shared her ideas to improve youth inclusion at the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee. At age 22, Seyi Akiwowo was Councillor for Newham London Council. Having developed a keen interest in active citizenship while studying at the London School of Economics, Seyi became an activist for encouraging marginalised young people in democracy. Seyi is a Fellow at Royal Society of the Arts and currently is an International Facilitator and Speaker for Social Integration and Sustainable Development.
Seyi presented two ideas: 1) She recommended the introduction of youth quotas at all elections from local to the European level. In her opinion, the European Parliament election should already have this in place by the next election in 2019. 2) She also championed “youth proofing” in the EU via an online platform whereby young people can analyse, identify and respond to key developments in EU policy.
Seyi said, “I felt really honoured to have people in the European Parliament believe in my ideas for improving youth active citizenship and to believe in it so much that I should present them to MEPs in their Committee meeting is gobsmacking. (…) It would be good to have a similar initiative in the UK.” See the article here. Her ideas received very positive feedback by both the European Commission and the European Parliament, and she has already been contacted by two political parties to discuss these issues further.
On 11th November 2016, Bora Kamwanya, ACP YPN’s Advocacy and Policy Officer was a panellist at the 3rd International Students Conference at the University of Ghent. This year’s theme was “What Next? The Contribution of International Students to the Development of Their Home Countries and Study Environment.” The conference covered topics from migration and climate change to innovative entrepreneurial development, radicalism and terrorism. ACP YPN partnered in this initiative, with the aim to brainstorm innovative responses to contemporary challenges and to see how the students contribute both in their home countries/regions and the study abroad environment.
In his presentation Bora outlined ACP YPN’s mission, goals and achievements. Then, he introduced the challenges that young ACP diaspora face in the EU context, with particular references to his own situation as a migrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Bora highlighted four particular challenges:
Recognition of the colonial heritage in the EU, and the shared history between European states and ACP states. That is why we partner with the diaspora organisations in universities across the European Union and with ACP regional youth networks to ensure coherence in our actions.
In Bora’s words, “The conference was a chance for me to share my thoughts on the role of the diaspora in rebuilding itselves while rebuilding its home states. I was very glad to address a diverse audience and to exchange ideas with them. I believe that together we are stronger, we are the present, here to shape the future”.
By Mr. Bora Kamwanya, ACP YPN Advocacy and Policy Officer.