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EACEA National Policies Platform


9. Youth and the World

9.3 Exchanges between young people and policy-makers on global issues

Last update: 9 January 2024

Global issues exchanges with policy-makers at the domestic level

Flemish youth representative in FRDO

The Flemish Youth Council monitors global policy developments and disseminates their opinion at the UN level. It also supports the youth representatives.

The Flemish Youth Council has youth representatives in the Federal Council for Sustainable Development (FRDO). FRDO advises the Belgian Federal Government on federal policy on sustainable development. The youth representatives represent the Flemish youth on this council. There are also representatives of NGO’s, employers, employees, science and the government. Different working groups prepare opinions.

“What do you think?” project of UNICEF

Since 1999, UNICEF has launched the project “What do you think?” in Belgium. UNICEF want to make the voices of children and young people heard with this project. UNICEF questions children and young people about their rights and whether or not children and young people experience problems with their rights. UNICEF gathers their ideas, their wishes and their suggestions. Subsequently, UNICEF will make these suggestions known to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

In addition, the project “What do you think?” wants to encourage policy makers to go ahead with children’s rights. "What do you think?" is much more than just making reports: at least as important is the whole process that precedes and follows it.

This process aims to stimulate a real political and social debate on the participation of children, their experience and their situation. It is aimed at giving all those who are involved in and responsible for translating the fine words of the Convention on the Rights of the Child into daily reality - policymakers at all levels of competence, the Committee's experts, lawyers, teachers, professionals from all kinds of sectors, parents, children and young people themselves - a clear picture of what is important according to the children and young people. So that they can take it into account and see how relevant it is to think about what children and young people think.

In 2022, the focus was on mental health issues of children and young people. The publications and reports can be found on this website.

KRAS (Globelink)

Since 1977, the Flemish-funded organisation Globelink runs the simulation project KRAS. KRAS is a discussion and role play for young people from the third grade of secondary education. KRAS works across schools. All over Flanders, young people come together in their free time to discuss global issues with their peers on the cutting edge. Discussion and one's own opinion are central in this project. Every school year, a new annual theme with a global slant is used to introduce young people to the world of democracy and debate. Themes covered in recent years include: migration, property, climate, identity and inequality. In this project empathy and discussion are central and essential. From the point of view of people who have something to say, young people get the best insight into the often difficult, global themes. That is why young people put themselves in the shoes of a political party, a young person from another country, the government of a country, the press, an interest group, etc. They are also able to make their own contribution to the debate on the future of the European Union. They defend their voices with verve and experience the tensions that exist between the different parties. At the end of the school year, the Flemish Parliament invites the students to a big closing colloquium. On this colloquium, young people formulate their (non-binding) policy recommendations.


Global issues exchanges with policy-makers at the international level


The European Youth Dialogue

The European Youth Dialogue (previously called the Structured Dialogue) is a European project and process for discussions between young people and policy makers about different themes, to make sure the opinions of young people are taken into account in defining the EU’s youth policies. The EUYD is introduced in 2010 and is one of the policy instruments of the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027. So far, there have  been 9 cycles of the Dialogue. Each cycle takes 18 months and focuses on a different theme set by the Council of Youth Ministers. 

In Flanders, the European Youth Dialogue is managed by the Flemish Youth Council. The results of the Flemish consultations and any additional input from international youth organisations are compiled into background documents. These inputs are discussed during the EU Youth Conferences, where youth representatives and policy makers have the opportunity to work together and present a joint message to the EU. The EU Youth Conferences take place twice a year and are hosted by the country that holds the EU Presidency.

The current 10th cycle is held under the Trio Presidency of Spain – Belgium – Hongary. It started on 1 July 2023 and will run until 31 December 2024. The title of the 10th cycle is “We need youth”. During the 18 months, the focus will be on Youth Goal #3 Inclusive societies. 

Flemish youth representative on youth forum UNESCO

UNESCO is an organisation of the United Nations (UN). Its aim is "to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of povertysustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information".

The UNESCO Youth Forum was created in 1999 to provide young people with the opportunity to present their concerns and ideas to Member States and help shape the direction of UNESCO.

Every two years, UNESCO organises a youth forum, that precedes the general assembly of UNESCO. Young people come together at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris to discuss and debate thematic areas of concern. 

The Flemish Government sends a youth representative to the youth forum. 

UNESCO Youth Forum 2022 will celebrate the accomplishments over the last three decades and advance authentic interdisciplinary dialogues and the cross-sectoral mobilization needed to confront complex challenges on the horizon. Dedicated to the theme of "Transforming knowledge for just and sustainable futures", the two-day event that took place in November 2022 is grounded in the spirit of scientific, moral, intellectual, and academic solidarity. The conference was also an opportunity for networking to strengthen the collaboration among members and with the UNESCO sector programs. It included special sessions based around thematic clusters, allowing multiple opportunities for Chairs, Networks, UNESCO specialists, and other participants, to exchange and initiate new collaborations.

Consultation of Flemish children preparing the Council of Europe’s Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2022-2027) 

The current Council of Europe’s Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2022-2027) was adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 23 February 2022 and launched at the High-level Conference “Beyond the horizon: a new era for the rights of the child” in Rome on 7-8 April 2022.

It is the fourth in a series of successful Strategies aimed at advancing the protection and promotion of the rights of the child across Europe, in the framework of the programme “Building a Europe for and with Children” operating since 2006. As part of the Organisation’s long-standing commitment to putting the child at the centre of its work, the Strategy was developed through a large consultative process involving national governments, international organisations, civil society organisations and, last but not least, 220 children from 10 member states. Flanders, representing Belgium, was one of these member states. 

Young people (13-17 year) from Flanders participated in this consultative process, through the guidance of the Children’s Rights Knowledge Centre (KeKi) and the Flemish youth organisation Mediaraven. This project was part of the Flemish youth and children’s rights policy plan 2020-2024. Recommendations were formulated by them in the field of the access to new technologies. Two young people from Flanders were also present at the launching conference in Rome as -member of the youth delegation, leading their own negotiations with the European and international policymakers present.