ACP YPN co-sign letter EU Diversity & Inclusion Strategy

On 4th September 2017, the ACP YPN and 28 organisations working on equality in the EU published an open letter to Jean-Claude Juncker, President of European Commission and Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, which expresses some deep concern vis-à-vis the European Commission’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy – ‘A better workplace for all: from equal opportunities to towards diversity and inclusion.’

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Firstly, the letter expresses concern “with the decision to exclude staff belonging to racial, ethnic and religious minorities as a specific target group in this strategy and the failure to plan targeted measures to improve racial, ethnic and religious diversity at the European Commission”.

Secondly, the letter also expresses concern that “[b]y not specifically tackling discrimination based on race, ethnic origin and religion, this strategy falls short of this mission and overlooks one of the most pressing concerns of diversity and inclusion in the European Commission today”.

 Thirdly, the letter underlines that “Particularly at senior levels, the issue of under-representation is acute. This points to a trend of structural discrimination within the European Commission and jeopardises the equal inclusion of racial, ethnic and religious minority staff”.

Based on these issues, the co-signatories recommended that:

  1. The Strategy be amended immediately to include ‘racial, ethnic and religious minority staff’ as a target group and specific measures are developed to ensure that the Commission is a fair and equal workplace for this group.
  2. The specific measures acknowledge and take steps to address the overwhelming lack of representation of racial, ethnic and religious minorities (particularly at senior levels), discrimination within the workplace, and the need for policies for reasonable accommodation of cultural and religious needs for Commission staff. Particular attention should also be devoted to the workplace situation of women belonging to this group.
  3. In the design of the forthcoming operational action plan the European Commission should seek advice from organisations with expertise on this issue, and consult racial, ethnic and religious minority staff – both men and women. The plan should implement specific measures for this target group.

Read the full letter here via the ENAR website.

What is the European Network Against Racism (ENAR)? ENAR is the only pan-European anti-racism network that combines advocacy for racial equality and facilitating cooperation among civil society anti-racism actors in Europe. The organisation was set up in 1998 by grassroots activists on a mission to achieve legal changes at European level and make decisive progress towards racial equality in all EU Member States. Since then, ENAR has grown and achieved a great deal.

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ACP YPN members of the African Union Youth Advisory Board

From the 6th to the 9th of August, Celine Fabrequette ACP YPN Secretary General joined a Capacity Building workshop at the African Union (AU) in Addis-Abeba. In July, ACP YPN was nominated to be part of the Youth advisory board (YAB) to the AU Youth Division. The Capacity building workshop was developed and provided by the AU Youth Division in collaboration and financial support from IPPF. The objective of the training was to provide the Youth representatives with enough information on the YAB and its role and its responsibilities, review of last year activities, the African Union Commission Youth programmes, the African Youth Charter, the AU 2063 Agenda , 2017 focus year Harnessing the demographic dividend through Investments in Youth and lastly to develop an action plan of activities for the upcoming year in the four areas (Education & skills development; Rights, Governance & Youth empowerment; Health & Well-being; Employment & Empowerment) covered by the Demographic dividend.

YAB

To develop the 2017-2018 YABs’ action plan the youth representatives had the opportunity to interact and exchange with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), The United Nation Economic and Social Council (the ECOSOC), the African Union Commission Department of Political Affairs (DPA), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Lucky enough, the training took also place at the same time as the AU Finance Ministers Meeting and members of the YAB where invited to an informal diner exchange at his Excellency Honorable Ken Ofori-Atta AU Deputy Chairperson Residence, this exchange confirmed the support and the direction taken by the AU Financial Ministers toward a more inclusive and supportive youth dialogue, opening the access for more constant exchange between the YAB and the AU Financial Ministers.

With such variety of Youth organisation members expertise and for the first time representative of the Diaspora, it was only natural that the focus of the YAB this year, be based on the Demographic Dividend Four areas (Education & skills development; Rights, Governance & Youth empowerment; Health & Well-being; Employment & Empowerment); which changed from the previous year, where the focus of the YAB was on Youth Health and Well-being. And so as YAB member, ACP YPN will provide inputs and support the development of activities to foster Youth Employment & Empowerment.

So do stay tune, and keep following us on our various social media, more information to come soon!

By  Céline Fabrequette

Contact & follow Celine via LinkedIn & Twitter

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ACP YPN at the 6th African Diaspora Youth Forum in Europe

From the 1st to the 4th of August Celine Fabrequette ACP YPN Secretary General and SDGs 5 Expert took part in the Accelerated Africa organised by the African Diaspora Youth Forum in Europe (ADYFE) in cooperation with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna. The Four days conference was an opportunity for African Diaspora entrepreneurs to interact and exchange with Africans based entrepreneurs (Diaspora Business Talks), internationals and regionals policy makers (Panels Discussions). The conference had also a capacity building element to it, which had for purpose to provide participants with tools to understand; create & develop their own Pitch & Business Model Canvas (Diaspora Startup Award program). The capacity building training and workshop was provided & facilitated by Theodore Khoury with concur of five Africans based entrepreneurs (Rotimi Williams (CEO Kereksuk Rice Farm), Vongai Chekanai (Agronomist), Affiong Williams (CEO Reelfruit), Geraldine (Consultant), Ivan Mworozi (Akiba) .

The first groups exchanged with the entrepreneurs concluded on advice on what elements are needed to be taken into account when going into entrepreneurship. Need to be passionate about what they are doing and not be afraid of the unknown. When developing their idea must first determine a need, the idea/product must respond to need; it must bring a value or create a value. They also need to calculate the risk which means knowing their markets and competition. When searching for funds first, they must start by looking in their surrounding (family, friends)/ network, this will create a frame where there will have to start small before scaling up. To conclude entrepreneurs need to constantly keep learning, and to always heal the advised of other while being aware of what is out there.

6th African Diaspora Youth Forum

A total of 20 pitches were made in which Celine got the opportunity to pitch (Diaspora Start-up Award program) ACP YPN SDGs Mainstreaming bottom-up approach before her peers and experts. This was a very good learning experience, but also a good test run and ways to already take the temperature among our targeted audience. The interests by the audience lead to a useful interaction, which she took, into account when learning how to develop a Business Model Canvas. ACP YPN idea respond to the question how while making profit entrepreneurs can have a social impact. In the seconds workshop participant had to first identify three social issues then identify mechanisms to counter those social issues and thus create a sense of responsibility in regards to keep safe social rights by entrepreneurs. Celine’s’ group identified Youth Unemployment; Gender Inequality & Xenophobia has the pressing social issues to be resolved. The group identified that to take a step toward reducing Youth unemployment four elements needs to be put in place: Awareness, Empowerment, Youth social actors of change & Free Education. For gender equality, they propose anonymous CV & gender pay parity in every occupation and to fight against Xenophobia, awareness need to be made from childhood.

The conclusion that can be made from these four days is that “entrepreneurship, migration and unemployment are all link to each other. In other words: finding solution for one requires to find & developed solutions for the others. In that the diaspora has a crucial role to play in the development of the solutions but also their implementation.” By its Excellency Honorable Alpha Souleymane Bah ECOWAS.

By Celine Fabrequette

Contact & follow Celine via LinkedIn & Twitter

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ACP YPN at Africa-EU CSO Summit

CSO SummitOn 11-13 July, ACP YPN took part in the Africa-EU Civil Society Forum #AfricaEUCSO held in Tunis, Tunisia. The ACP YPN delegates included Yentyl Williams, ACP YPN President and Founder, Bora Kamwanya, Parliamentary and Diaspora Relations Advisor, Aissatou Touré, Expert on Agriculture & Sustainable Development. Alongside the 80 CSO representatives there were two other representatives from Youth Organisaitons present: Karim Saafi, African Diaspora Youth Forum Europe (ADYFE) and Tina Hocevar, European Youth Forum.

Over two and a half days, the African and EU CSO representatives worked together to draw up a joint declaration, which is available here. The declaration shall be delivered to Heads of State and Government, and to African and European institutions ahead of the upcoming 5th Africa-EU Summit, in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) on 28 and 29 November 2017. They were split into thematic groups to work on five thematic clusters: (i) conflict prevention, peacebuilding and refugees; (ii) human development; (iii) sustainable future for our planet; (iv) decent work, universal social protection and (v) sustainable socio-economic development; and democratic governance and civic participation. Youth and gender were cross-cutting themes of the Forum.

On day 1, Yentyl Williams and Aissatou Touré were part of the ‘Sustainable Future for our planet’ workshop, where Yentyl was elected as co-rapporteur with Ana Kalin from the Forum for Equitable Development. Bora Kamwanya participated in the ‘Human development’ workshop, where he was also elected as rapporteur for the group. On day2, there were two main workshops in Forum. Bora Kamwanya took part in the workshop on ‘Democratic governance and civic participation’. Yentyl Williams and Aissatou Touré took part in the workshop on ‘Decent work, universal social protection and sustainable socio-economic development’. Yentyl gave specific input in relation to her recent publication on ‘Labour rights in the EU-Africa Economic Partnership Agreements‘. As rapporteurs for their groups, Yentyl and Bora presented the recommendations in the plenary session on day2.

The final declaration was drawn up and the ACP YPN delegation, alongside their youth counterparts, ensured the inclusion of several key points. These included reference to diaspora youth, and ruralisation (valorising rural livelihoods, especially vis-à-vis youth), as well as other recommendations already included in other ACP YPN advocacy (Nairobi Declaration, Future of EU-ACP relations consultation, forthcoming St. Julian’s Declaraiton and Action Plan amongst others).

Background information:

The First Africa-EU Intercontinental CSO Forum took place in Cairo, Egypt, in November 2010.

The Second Africa-EU Civil Society Forum took place in Brussels, Belgium, 23-25 October 2013, ahead of the Africa-EU Summit of April 2014.

See EU-Africa Partnership fact sheet here.

See EU-Africa partnership website here.

Contact & follow Yentyl Williams via LinkedIn or Twitter; Bora Kamwanya via LinkedIn; Aissatou Touré via LinkedIn

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ACP YPN leads 3rd ACP-EU JPA Youth Forum

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On the 18th of June, Bora KAMWANYA, ACP YPN Parliamentary Relations Experts, co-chaired the 3rd ACP YPN Youth Conference with Mrs ARENA and Mr GOUMANEH in collaboration with the Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) Secretariat in St. Julian, Malta.

The St. Julian Youth Conference was a result of the work of the ACP YPN Steering Committee composed of 14 Youths from ACP countries, meeting virtually every Wednesday for 7 weeks. The steering Committee chose the topics of the St. Julian Youth Conference following the recommendations of the Nairobi Declaration. In fact, the themes chosen for the Youth Conference in Malta were the one affecting the Youth both in ACP and EU countries. Firstly, following up on the Youth Conference in Nairobi, Education has emerged as the theme that combines both the concerns of European and ACP youth. In view of the food shortages, global warming and the need for young people to exchange and communicate, we linked our sub-themes under the hat of education and thus addressed agriculture, climate and exchange programs.

Youth between the age of 17 and 35 years old from Malta joined the Conference and benefitted from this unique opportunity to exchange with ACP and EU parliamentarians and officials. The two co-chairs, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Marie ARENA for the European Parliament and Mr. Mohamed GOUMANEH (Djibouti) for the ACP opened the Youth Conference. This was followed by a speech by Bora, who in his introduction told the Members of the European Parliaments and the Members of ACP national Parliaments that it was time that the Youth address and propose solution to problems they are facing or they will face. He followed up by stating that the problems, which need to be addressed today, are the issue of ACP Agriculture and Trade deficit, Climate Change and the preparation of youths to this issues, and the lack of ACP-EU education cooperation.

From the Youth Conference, two main ideas came out. One, very pragmatic on “How to better involve the young generation in the ACP-EU relations. The other one, more prospective on the themes we deemed deserve a particular attention.

For the first, the Youth stressed the call for increased mobility of young people between EU and ACP Member States. During the Youth Conference, it was proposed, for example, that MEPs should be able to welcome 3 young people from the ACP each year into their political teams. If we consider 700 deputies (Democrats) this would represent no less than 2100 young people trained per year, and therefore more than 10,000 on a mandate. It was also proposed to involve young people from ACP countries in the European Forum of Young Parliamentarians. Even more, to include young refugees in Erasmus exchange programs, which would have the double advantage of positive thinking for young refugees but also for those who welcome them.

All the recommendations were put together in the St. Julian Action plan and thanks to the support of many Parliamentarians, a youth, Bora, was able for the first time to present the conclusion of a conference to the JPA. These actions have been submitted to MEPs and the Steering Committee will assess its implementation in December 2017 and then the second and final assessment will be in June 2018; date at which the actions should be implemented. These dates match the meetings of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

Bora concluded by stressing the importance of the inclusion of young people in ACP-EU relations, reminding the Joint Parliamentary Assembly that the presence of the youth shows their commitment to democratic values.

By Bora Kamwanya

Contact & follow Bora Kamwanya via twitter & LinkedIn

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