1.8 Cross-border cooperation
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To introduce this point, it is important to note that international relations are ruled by two different bodies, depending on the level of power:
- The Ministry for Foreign Affairs at the Federal level ;
- The Agency Wallonia Brussels International (WBI) at the Regional and Community-wide level for the French-Speaking part of Belgium.
The Youth Department is also in charge of the definition of lines and priorities of the international youth policy in close relationship with the International Youth Office and the General Direction of international relations.
In the framework of the European Strategy for Youth, the Youth Department participated to experts groups and peer-learning seminars on the following thematics: youth work quality systems, cross-sectorial policy-making, non formal education, and transition to employment.
Cooperation with France
The Youth Ministers of France and of the French Community of Belgium have decided to organise meetings between their administrations to share about the issue of violent radicalism. The administrations of Flanders and of the German-speaking Community are also invited. The aim of the coordination is to discuss the youth work practices and the political and sectoral decisions taken in the youth field in response to violent radicalism. They plan to organise regular meetings for the period lasting from September 2016 until September 2017.
The Greater Region
The Greater Region this is a cross-border collaboration between the states of Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany, the Lorraine Region in France, the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg and Wallonia in Belgium.
This institutionalised cooperation had taken concrete measures to foster an inclusive labor market, training, mobility, social cohesion in the area. In the youth field, the Greater Region promotes a multilingual, curious and open-minded youth.
Cooperation between the 3 Belgian Communities
The 3 Belgian Ministers for Youth finalised in 2009 an agreement about the creation of a programme “Bel’J”. This aims to promote young volunteers mobility and youth exchanges between Belgian communities.
“Child on Europe”
The Observatory of Childhood, Youth and Youth Welfare is involved in the European network of National Childhood Observatories named “Child on Europe”. The Observatory contributes to the organisation and the activities in order to organise the exchange of information and to promote good practices on the European level about childhood, youth or youth welfare policies.
Assembly of European Regions
The French-Speaking Community is one of the members of this European regions network.
Council of Europe
In the framework of the Belgian presidency, Belgium organised in 2015 the European Youth Work Convention. It brought together over 400 policymakers, researchers and practitioners who debated challenges facing youth work at the local, national and European level.
According to the website, "the Convention resulted in a Declaration aimed at giving a new impetus to youth work policy in Europe. The Declaration touched upon the social situation of young people in Europe, challenges that the youth work currently faces, and offered recommendations on how to improve its quality".
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 topic discussed.
The Conference of Ministers for Youth and Sports of Francophonie: The French-Speaking Community is a member of the “Conférence des ministres de la jeunesse et des sports de la Francophonie” (Conference of Ministers of Youth and Sports of Francophonie - CONFEJES). This intergovernmental institution was created in 1969 and promotes the Youth, Sports and Leisure sector within the francophone space (41 French-speaking countries).
Its mission is to mobilise countries, resources and energies in order to promote youth participation and inclusion within the society. Its main objectives are supporting the Member States through reflection and creativity, training the trainers in the Youth, Sports and Leisure sector, supporting socioeconomic insertion initiatives, fostering community life, helping the development of sportive elite in Africa, fostering youth meetings to enhance their participation within society.