ACP YPN at European Youth Forum COMEM

On 27-28 April, ACP YPN was invited as a guest organisation to attend the European Youth Forum’s Council of Members (COMEM) in Brussels. Arnaud Szanto, ACP YPN Expert represented the Network to more than 100 youth organisations (National Youth Councils and International Non-Governmental Youth Organisations) and engaged with them on the following topics: future of youth rights, social and economic inclusion, democratic participation and sustainable development in the European Union.


Photo: Arnaud Szanto (ACP YPN), Luis Alvarado Martinez (EYF) and Christopher Fürst (JCI)

Luis Alvarado Martinez (President, EYF) delivered a speech on the “State of Youth in Europe” in which he presented the progress made in the struggle for social justice through the adoption of the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR). He also discussed populism as a threat to the next EU election, youth unemployment and migration among other pressing issues. He emphasized the prominence for youth organisations to support the “Erasmus+ x10” campaign which advocates for an increase of the programme’s budget by 10 for the new multiannual financial framework (MFF) post-2020. ACP YPN is fully supporting this “Erasmus+ x10” campaign as we believe having an ambitious Erasmus + programme goes hand in hand with bringing together youth groups coming from various backgrounds. In this way, we reaffirm our commitment to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all as part of the Sustainable Development Goal 4.

Arnaud participated in a workshop organised by ATD Fourth World Movement“Do you want to know about stories of change?” and raised 5 key recommendations on the subject of inequalities in accessing quality education:

1. Promote a holistic approach to address systemic issues that marginalised groups are facing in getting access to quality education.
2. Enhance non-educational programs aiming at empowering young people to help them create new narratives that go beyond the structural problems they are facing.
3. Strengthen ongoing advocacy efforts for more inclusive and comprehensive education policies at the national and international level
4. Support education systems and curricula to foster self-awareness and tolerance while promoting equality of opportunities, which values diversity (ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and religious) and cultural heritages in order to combat social ostracisation.
5. Bridge communication gaps between groups to prevent marginalized youth – especially those in a situation of ‘learned helplessness’ – from not having access to quality education in order to unlock young people’s future opportunities.

Arnaud has also met with Anna Widegren (Secretary General, EYF) to talk about the challenges facing small organisations such as access to funding and the underrepresentation of youth coming from the diaspora in relevant debate at the EU level. He expressed that he was truly inspired by the stories of young leaders advocating for policy change and stated :

“I am feeling optimistic about the future of our Youth. I’ve had the chance to talk with leaders that are fighting ruthlessly to make sure no one is left behind. As long as we keep working together, I have not an ounce of doubt in my mind, that we can make Europe’s future, brighter for young people regardless of their race, age, sexual orientation, religion or disability.”


Photo: COMEM group picture for Erasmus+ x10 Campaign, 2018

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