Organised on the margins of the 2017 Eastern Partnership Summit, the 3rd Eastern Partnership Youth Forum discussed the participation and active citizenship of young people and their involvement in decision-making processes.

The 3rd Eastern Partnership Youth Forum gathered nearly 300 young leaders, youth workers and youth policy-makers from the EU Member States and Eastern Partner Countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine).

Participants engaged in plenary and workshop sessions around three topics:

  • Young people as active, critical and responsible citizens;
  • Young people and entrepreneurship – taking the future into young people's own hands;
  • Young people and education today: formal, non-formal and informal.

The 3rd Eastern Partnership Youth Forum participants reiterated that recommendations from the 1st and 2nd Eastern Partnership Youth Forums are still highly relevant and that the EU, its Member States and Eastern Partnership governments need to take these into consideration when shaping their youth policies.

Participants developed the following recommendations:
Young people as active, critical and responsible citizens

The European Union should:

  1. Open the European Solidarity Corps to Eastern Partnership youth and youth organisations.
  2. Use the good practice and 20 years of experience of the European Voluntary Service in shaping the European Solidarity Corps and include all possible support measures for youth with fewer opportunities thus broadening the level of inclusion and accessibility of all young people in the new programme.
  3. Empower organisations sending volunteers abroad within all international voluntary programmes (notably the European Solidarity Corps) in order to assure inclusion and provide adequate support for young people with fewer opportunities.
  4. Develop and financially support a community of ex-international volunteers through an on-line alumni platform in order to use their experience to create impact through activities at local, national and international levels.

National governments and the European Union should:

  1. Establish inclusive and evidence-based youth policy development and decision-making structures, co-managed by governments and youth organisations, based on principles of transparency and accountability.
  2. Create and maintain supportive and youth-friendly legal, administrative, political and financial mechanisms in which youth-led organisations, platforms and initiatives can co-operate and use their full potential.
  3. Reinforce the existing and develop new mechanisms for monitoring and enforcing young people’s access to rights, as codified in national legislation, the Lisbon Treaty, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  4. Prioritise youth policies and projects in the allocation of EU funds and better coordinate among all types of EU programmes and among institutions dealing with youth issues at all levels.

Youth organisations should:

  1. Increase their engagement in needs assessment and monitoring of the spending of EU funds on youth-oriented projects, and raise the engagement of young people in these processes through mainstreamed civic education and media literacy.
  2. Increase their involvement in cooperation, networking on local and regional level, policy dialogue, sharing the best practices and experiences.
  3. Raise awareness of the voluntary service and benefits of active citizenship, notably through:

a/ organising seminars, webinars and info-sessions,

b/ promoting active citizenship as a subject at secondary educational level and

c/ encouraging mass media channels to establish programmes dedicated to youth affairs.

Young people and entrepreneurship – taking the future into own hands

 The European Union should:

  1. Establish an international social entrepreneurship investment fund to provide long-term support for innovative and financially sustainable social impact to reduce poverty and increase well-being starting from young people with fewer opportunities.

National governments should:

  1. Establish social entrepreneurship support programmes for youth, including information campaigns on social entrepreneurship, job-shadowing, capacity-building events for different stakeholders, trainings and educational programmes and seed funding.
  2. Incorporate social entrepreneurship into national youth policies to raise awareness and develop the entrepreneurship skills of youth for increased employability of young people and community development.
  3. Elaborate support systems for social enterprises by creating legal frameworks and providing relevant infrastructure, developing guidelines on social impact measurement, promoting business and social business partnerships (direct financial and indirect support) in tax benefits, corporate social responsibility competitions and social impact awards.
  4. Provide online resources for the support of entrepreneurship both in the EU and Eastern Partnership countries to take stock of existing funding, evaluate projects and assess entrepreneurship competences.

National governments and the European Union should:

  1. Introduce entrepreneurial learning as a horizontal subject in academic curricula regardless of the field of study in order to create an entrepreneurial culture, raising awareness of existing opportunities, projects, and good-practices.
  2. Promote public-private partnerships in Eastern Partnership countries to train, employ and promote self-employment among young people, with the support and participation of young people and youth organisations.
  3. Provide incentives for young people to set up their own enterprises, reduce taxation, eliminate red tape and provide funding for technical expertise and professional support for young entrepreneurs.
Young people and education today: formal, non-formal and informal

National governments and the European Union should:

  1. Establish a structured dialogue involving relevant stakeholders at national level (NGOs, schools, policy-makers, formal and non-formal education stakeholders and experts) active in the fields of education and youth work in order to review the existing national education curricula with regards to the acquisition of transversal competences.
  2. Develop a concrete strategy to further include transversal competences in existing curricula and ensure that appropriate resources are allocated for the implementation of the strategy.
  3. Support the creation of synergies in the field of formal and non-formal education between initiatives, youth organisations, civil society organisations, communities, entrepreneurs as well as schools, youth clubs and local youth work structures aiming at effective acquisition of transversal competences.
  4. Financially support and mainstream holistic education, where formal and non-formal education actors meet and co-operate.

Youth organisations should:

  1. Seek cross-sectoral recognition that is credible and verifiable for actors from formal education and employment sectors by emphasising adequate documentation and promotion of outcomes and value of youth work and non-formal education activities.
  2. Co-operate with other education stakeholders in building holistic and inclusive learning experiences with relevant recognition tools.

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