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Belgium-French-Community

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9. Youth and the World

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


Global issues exchanges with policy-makers at the domestic level

A youth consultation to update the Air Climate Energy

The Walloon Region has set up a wide consultation process for the adoption of a new Air Climate Energy Plan (PACE).

The 2016-2022 Air Climate Energy Plan (PACE), initiated by Wallonia, sets Walloon objectives in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy and air quality. A new Air Climate Energy Plan for 2030 is in preparation. To do this, a consultation process, followed by work to update objectives and measures is implemented to meet Walloon commitments, including the achievement of -55% greenhouse gas emissions by compared to 1990.

As part of this participatory process, the Youth Forum was asked to consult young people. Therefore, the  Forum created two fun activities and an online form aimed at collecting ideas from young people aged 16 to 30. The objective of this consultation is to ensure that the comments of the population of this age group are taken into account when updating the Air Climate Energy Plan for the Walloon Region.

Young people meet the Prime Minister

On May 26, 2021, the young Ambassadors of the Youth Dialogue organized a meeting between 9 young spokespersons and the Prime Minister, Mr. De Croo. In total, around sixty young people from 2 secondary schools and a municipal council were able to participate.  This meeting is a continuation of the Festival of Democracy, organized in 2020 by the Youth Forum, which gathered the opinions of young people about their participation in society and the impact they have on the decisions that are taken.

In this context, young people frequently expressed two feelings: they did not feel sufficiently listened to by politicians and wish to express their reality more as young citizens, experts in their experiences.  This is precisely what the young people who participated in the Festival of Democracy had the opportunity to do, during a virtual meeting with Mr. De Croo. This interview is the first edition of a series of meetings planned between young people and elected politicians. The objective, through this project, is to allow as many young people as possible to discuss their vision of engagement and politics, in an informal setting, with a political representative.

Global issues exchanges with policy-makers at the international level

There is a regular framework for view exchanges at the international level through the work of the Youth Forum and its selection of youth delegates.

The Youth Forum of the French-Speaking community selects 3 youth delegates below 30 years old for a 2-years mandate. Their mission is to represent the points of view of french-speaking belgian youth at United Nations conferences and meetings. 

One of them participates to the Conference of the Parties on climate change, the second one to the 3rd General Assembly Commission of the UN and the ECOSOC Youth Forum and the last one to the High Level Political Forum on sustainable development. 

During a two year period, youth delegates follow policy developments in their thematic field, both at national and international level. They ask young people in their communities about their views, as inspiration for the key messages they will address internationally. To this end, youth delegates organize and participate in events, use online communication tools and give presentations. 

Youth delegates also influence national decision-making through lobbying, among others by elaborating policy proposals, contacting decision-makers and writing press articles. A true ‘key moment’ is when they actually go to the UN where they:

  • participate in negotiations as part of the Belgian delegation ;
  • give speeches in the name of youth from the French-speaking Community of Belgium
  • organise side-events to raise awareness among the international community about youth issues.

Moreover, they work together with youth delegates from around the world to make young people’s voices heard more effectively at international level. 

Through the work of these youth delegates, this programme contributes to the exchanges of views between young people and politicians at international level. Youth delegates also participates to a more efficient visibility of the UN work. 

Environment and sustainable development are the main topics discussed.   

In the framework of the Youth Dialogue, the Youth Forum