On 4th July 2018, Aïssatou Touré, ACP YPN Public Policy Advisor, was invited at the 9th edition of the Meeting for Internationalisation of local governments (Rencontres de l’internationalisation des collectivités territoriales) co-organised by Cités Unies France in Paris with several speakers including Frank Tiotsop, Youth Ambassador, OFAJ ( the International Organisation for Franco-German cooperation on youth), who presented the AKI tool for youth mobility.
The event gathered French & foreign local governments as well as public and private partners under this year theme ” Faced with the challenges of a growing urbanisation, what’s the place of local governments ? What’s our vision of a 2030 world? What’s our SDG approach ?“. During the Youth & Employability Panel, Aïssatou Touré demonstrated how projects integrating young people are a necessity in finding solutions for issues impacting them directly and indirectly through several points linked to her expertise with (1) ACP YPN and as an (2) African Union – European Union Youth Plug In Initiative (AU-EU YPII) fellow :
- Aïssatou introduced ACP YPN as a youth-led platform aiming at providing a platform for young people to play an active role in policy-making processes assuring equality of opportunity in line with Article 26 of the legally binding Cotonou Partnership Agreement and aiming to ensure inclusive, responsive decision-making at all levels as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 16.7.
a. She then, focused on ACP YPN’s specificity in particular 1) the creation of the Youth Forums at the ACP- EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly allowing young people to exchange with more than 100 representatives of the ACP-EU partnership and 2) the fact that ACP YPN is the only youth network with a formal role as a member of the EU- Cariforum Consultative Committee monitoring the EU’s trade agreement with Caribbean region.
b. She concluded by sharing with the audience the important role of ACP YPN in providing her a space that contributed to the realisation of her personal and professional projects , allowing her to deepen her expertise in development cooperation and to learn new skills including soft skills that are being valued in the employment sector.
2. Aïssatou presented the AU- EU YPII as an innovative initiative that gathered in October 2017 during 5 weeks 36 young people from Africa, Europe and the Diaspora working together in 6 different cluster in 3 different cities (Addis Abeba, Brussels and Abidjan) to present specific projects in the Youth Agenda delivered to the Head of States during the 5th AU-EU Summit in Abidjan. She mentioned 4 projects of the Governance and political inclusion cluster:
a. CityShapers: working on city twinning from the United Cities and Local Governments, this project aims at integrating the youth in local governance and decentralised cooperation allowing co-creation, synergies strengthening between authorities, experts and young people from Africa and Europe while including joint learning on solutions to urban, social, ecological and governance challenges.
b. E-ncludeMe: this digital tool aspires to reinforce local government’s responsibility and accountability while reducing corruption, week governance, tax avoidance, illicit financial flows and including youth to identify and implement concrete action plans.
c. AU-EU Remittances Transfer Platform: this platform reduces transfer costs in remittances in line with SDG 10C via a Public Private Partnership (PPP). A share of the profit will be invested in youth related projects reinforcing inclusion and job creation.
d. Youth Lab: a permanent cooperation hub for AU-EU youth testing technical, urban and rural solutions on both continents while implementing and monitoring the projects developed in the 6 clusters of the AU-EU YPII Youth Agenda.
In conclusion of this Youth & Employability Panel, Aïssatou recalled the necessity to include young people in finding solutions for issues that directly impacts them such as employability and she took in example two great initiatives (one in France, one in Senegal) working in this direction :
- Les déterminés is an entrepreneurship organization training, supporting and mentoring young entrepreneurs including those from poorest and rural areas in the region of Paris allowing young people to contribute in job creation.
- Voix des jeunes founded by Sobel Aziz Ngom, this project is a competition for young people fostering the creation of solutions to actual challenges. The selected young people have to debate on specific issues and deliver realistic solutions for those issues while stimulating their civic engagement and allowing them to develop analytic, argumentative and strategist skills among other skills.
These initiatives all highlight the fact that innovation in youth inclusion can be done in two ways:
- By creating permanent spaces, mechanisms for young people within existing institutions (JPA Youth Forum, CityShapers).
- Or by creating new institutions/structures for young people to access spaces they couldn’t allowing them to share their expertise on diverse issues (E-NcludeMe, AU-EU Youth Lab, Les déterminés, Voix des jeunes).