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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


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

There are few projects related to exchanges between young people and policy-makers on global processes. These projects remain occasional and affect small groups of young people. 

As explained in the previous chapter, one example of  exchanges relates to a project launched by the Walloon Minister of environment and ecological transition as part of the Walloon sustainable development strategy: the youth parliament. 

The European Youth Dialogue is the most steady process of exchanges between young people and policy-makers on global issues. It is organised by the Youth Council. The latter organises every 2 years (since 2015) a day where young people meet policy makers.This meeting offers to young people the possibility to exchange view with policy-makers. 

The last one was organised in 2017. The 3 topics discussed were: 1.    Practical competences at school ;  2.    Access to quality information ; 3.    “Living the diversity”. 

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 Council and its selection of youth delegates.

The Youth Council 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 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
  • 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.