1.3 National youth strategy
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The Decree of 6 December 2011 on the Promotion of Youth Work (Dekret zur Förderung der Jugendarbeit vom 06. Dezember 2011) foresees the adoption and implementation of a cross-sectorial Strategic Plan on Youth (Jugendstrategieplan) by the Government. It is explicitly mentioned in said Decree that the Government engages funded youth NGO’s, the Council of the German-speaking Youth (Rat der deutschsprachigen Jugend, RDJ) and young people in drawing up the Strategic Plan on Youth. Article 4 of the Decree reads:
The government publishes and implements a multidisciplinary strategic plan for each funding period, consisting of thematic priorities, an evaluation and an action plan. It covers the living spaces of young people at the level of the German-speaking Community and defines more detailed goals and tasks that contribute to improving the situation of young people.
In preparation for the following strategic plan, the government publishes a youth report on the living situation of young people in the German-speaking Community. A corresponding study conducted by a scientific institute serves as the basis for this youth report. The government involves the funded youth institutions and the Youth Council of the German-speaking Community in the Preparation of the Youth Report.
The government determines the thematic priorities for the following strategic plan in January of the year preceding the next funding period. The government involves the funded youth institutions and the Youth Council of the German-speaking Community as well as young people in determining the thematic priorities of the strategic plan. The results of the youth report as well as the social space analysis to be prepared by the providers of open youth work are also to be included. The government submits the thematic priorities of the strategic plan to parliament for approval.
The Strategic Plan on Youth provides the framework in which practicable, future-oriented and sustainable projects can be developed. Nevertheless, it is open enough to enable interested organisations to develop relevant projects. The Strategic Plan not only involves creating new approaches but also continuing already existing measures or directing them to the youth sector.
Decisive for the successful implementation of the strategic plan continues, however, to be thinking holistically and keeping an eye on the multidisciplinary approach for all projects. The political environment has committed itself to creating appropriate general conditions for the best possible implementation of the Strategic Plan. For this, it needs the support of all organisations and people involved in the development of the Strategic Plan. They should be deliberate in their authorship and breathe life into the Strategic Plan jointly with the Government.
The Strategic Plan on Youth aims to identify actual need, in order to improve the situation of young people in the German-speaking Community. Here concrete action is to be taken in four stages:
- 1st stage: Analysis of the current life situation of young people in the German-speaking Community.
- 2nd stage: Identifying the need for improving the life situation of young people and planning appropriate measures.
- 3rd stage: Implementing measures.
- 4th stage: Evaluation.
The first Strategic Plan on Youth bore the title “The Future for all Children and Young People – with the Focus on Disadvantaged Children and Young People” (Jugendstrategieplan 2013-2015 – Zukunft für alle jungen Menschen - Benachteiligte junge Menschen in den Fokus) and was devoted to two central themes:
- Planning actions aimed at the target groups for children and young people with a range of problems
- Propensity to violence among children and young people.
The target group of the first Strategic Plan were young people with multiple psychological and mental health problems as well as being in a precarious social and financial situation. These young people usually don't take part in organised youth work and are mostly reached through outreach youth work.
On these two central themes an action plan with seven concrete projects has been drawn up.
In 2014 the Second Strategic Plan on Youth covering the period 2016-2020 was drawn up. Bearing the title "Acting respectful" (Jugendstrategieplan 2016-2020 – Respektvoller Umgang miteinander und mit sich selbst) it foresees 11 actions in 4 categories:
- "Strong against Addiction",
- "Promoting diversity",
- "Political education",
- "Emotions and self-perception".
These actions include cross-border action days, developing networking, promoting projects, building awareness, offer trainings and supporting mechanisms for young people and youth workers in order to develop e.g. new approaches for drug-prevention, for social inclusion, democracy, political education and participation in the youth field.
The duration of the Second Strategic Plan on Youth has in 2020 been prolonged for 2 years, so its final period is 2016-2022.
The Youth Department of the Ministry of the German-speaking Community has the responsibility for the coordination of the Strategic Plan on Youth.
A steering group has taken the lead in supporting the implementation process (selection of the topics, specification of the measures and editing). This steering group is composed of representatives of the youth sector, the Government and the Ministry. The composition of the steering group is as follows:
- one member of the staff of the Prime Minister, responsible for external relations, finances and budget, administrative organisation,
- one member of the staff the Minister responsible for culture, employment, local authorities and tourism,
- one member of the staff of the Minister responsible for family, health and social policy,
- one member of the staff of the Minister responsible for education and scientific research,
- two representatives of the Ministry of the German-speaking Community (Youth Department),
- two representatives of the Youth Council (one for the youth organisations and one for open youth work),
- one representative of the Youth Office (Jugendbüro),
- one representative of the Youth Info (Jugendinfo) of the German-speaking Community.
If there is a need, additional personnel may be included, for instance if they are relevant for a specific topic.
As of 2023, the Strategic Plan on Youth will have a duration of 5 years before being renewed. The first four years of each period are foreseen for the implementation of the Strategic Plan and the last year of the period is used for evaluation purposes and preparing the next Strategic Plan.
Furthermore, the strategic plan is an ongoing process. Not least for this reason good communication between the participating partners is important. The steering group supervises the implementation of the 2016-2022 action plan and supports with the implementation. Individual topics, actions and procedures will be regularly evaluated and may if necessary be adjusted.