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EACEA National Policies Platform


1. Youth Policy Governance

1.8 Cross-border cooperation

Last update: 30 March 2024
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  1. Cooperation with European countries
  2. International cooperation

Cooperation with European countries

The division ‘Knowledge and policy’ is responsible for the development of knowledge and expertise to substantiate policy and practice, with a strong focus on transversal and international connections. It has a direct bilateral cooperation with Luxembourg, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Catalunya. Seminars and study visits on specific youth topics are organised in the framework of a two- or three-year work programme. 

The Division Knowledge and policy is represented in the National Working Group of the EU Youth Dialogue and foresees representation in most of the expert groups and peer-learning exercises set up in the framework of the EU Youth Strategy.

International cooperation

Flanders youth policy benefits from cooperation with the Council of Europe. With the European Youth Centres and the European Youth Fund, the youth sector has important tools to achieve its goals. The structure of the youth sector is unique in its kind thanks to co-management. Representatives of governments and youth organizations are jointly represented in the decision-making bodies. The Flemish Government gives a yearly contribution to the European Youth Foundation. The representative of the Flemish Government is active in the CDEJ and in different expert groups. The Flemish Government supports ‘Perspectives on youth: European Partnership Series’. This series aims to function as an information, discussion, reflection and dialogue forum on European developments in the field of youth policy, youth research and youth work. The Flemish Government supported the development of the series ‘history on youth work and youth policy in Europe’.

Each year, the Flemish Youth Council and the Youth Council of the French-Speaking community select several youth delegates (young people below 30 years old) to represent the points of view of Belgian youth at United Nations conferences and meetings. These youth delegates make sure that young people’s voices are heard in international decision-making processes while contributing to the implementation of international commitments at national level. Environment and sustainable development are the main topics discussed.

Since 1996, the Division 'Knowledge and policy' has a direct bilateral cooperation with South Africa. South Africa and the Flemish government cooperated in the areas of culture, art, sport and youth. The basis of this cooperation is the three-year work programmes. Up to 2006 these programmes have focused on two aspects, namely capacity building of libraries and non-formal adult education; and, capacity building of young South Africans who were designated to elaborate a strong youth policy.

Since 2006, a renewed approach is adopted. A transversal approach is promoted whereby special attention is given to the coordination of the policy areas youth, socio-cultural work, arts, heritage and sport. This new vision is reflected in the ‘adoption’ of four local community centres whereby attention is given to youth, culture and sport. The underlying idea is that those local community centres have to develop the capacities needed to operate. At the end of the collaboration, the four local community centres have to be an example of an integrated community centre. In addition, the educated South Africans can pass their knowledge on to actors who are involved in the community centres. In this way, they can inform and sensibilise the youth policy actors through activities and a course around capacity building. The selected community centres also have to be important actors in setting up the local cultural- and youth policy. After all, this stimulates the competences and the involvement of the local actors.

A publication about 20 years of cooperation with South Africa has been released in 2020. It describes the formal cooperation between the two governments both from the Flemish and South-African side and contains the quasi-exhaustive collection and classification of all documentation that has been gathered on this long-standing cooperation and offers a reflection on content, an interpretation of what has been organised and undertaken.