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EACEA National Policies Platform
Belgium-German-Speaking-Community

Belgium-German-Speaking-Community

9. Youth and the World

9.1 General context

Last update: 14 September 2022
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  1. Main concepts
  2. Youth interest in global issues

Main concepts

A dedicated governmental strategy paper on global issues and how to adress them by young people does as of 2022 not yet exist in the German-speaking Community of Belgium. 

Youth participation in general, including youth participation on global issues, is in the German-speaking Community mainly regulated by the politically neutral Council of the German-speaking Youth (Rat der Deutschsprachigen Jugend, RDJ). Apart from that, there are several political youth movements in the German-speaking Community which can also target global issues. For further information on those youth movements, please consult Chapter 5.2 - Youth participation in representative democracy.   

 

Youth interest in global issues

The Youth Council of the German-speaking Community

The Decree on the Promotion of Youth Work of 6 December 2011 (Dekret zur Förderung der Jugendarbeit vom 06. Dezember 2011) enables the Youth Council to release opinion reports on its own initiative on whichever topic they consider useful for the young people of the German-speaking Community. In addition to that, both the Parliament of the German-speaking Community (Parlament der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft, PDG) and the Government of the German-speaking Community (Regierung der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft) may demand the Youth Council to elaborate an opinion report on a given youth-relevant topic. 

One of those opinion reports which was published in 2016 dealt with the topic of whether or not to make use of atomic energy (opinion report on the topic of atomic energy, Stellungnahme zum Thema Atomenergie). This opinion report was the reaction of the Youth Council on the public discussions concerning the Belgium nuclear power plants in Tihange and Doel. The continued use of these nuclear power plants was largely criticised, since the Belgium government had originally announced in 2003 to terminate the use of nuclear power plants in 2015, but had then in 2013 decided to prolong the use of some nuclear power plants for up to 10 years. Additionally, the nuclear power plants in Doel and Tihange were multiple times subject to emergency shutdowns which caused a massive insecurity both in the Belgium population as well as in the neighbouring countries. In its opinion report, the Youth Council demands to terminate the use of atomic energy, referring to the risks of atomic energy both for people and the environment and to the problem of where to dispose of the atomic waste. In order to avoid for the young people to eventually be the ones who have to deal with the consequences of still relying on atomic energy, the Youth Council demanded in its opinion report policy-makers to terminate the use of nuclear power plants and the public to limit its use of electricity. 

Another opinion report of the Youth Council was published in 2019 and dealt with the walks for climate (opinion report on the walks for climate: youth for climate, Stellungnahme Klimamärsche: Youth for Climate). With this opinion report, the Youth Council supported young people in going on the streets instead of going to school and demanded policy-makers to be more ambitious as far as climate protection is concerned, referring to the fact that experts had long before started to demand a more ambitious climate protection and that it would be the young people who would mainly have to deal with the consequences of climate change.