9.2 Administration and governance
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Youth participation and contribution to policy-making and youth cooperation at global level and on global issues is ensured through the Youth Council of the German-speaking Community (Rat der Deutschsprachigen Jugend, RDJ). Its main task is to increase youth participation in the German-speaking Community through participatory moments and active citizenship, in order to ameliorate the living conditions of all young people. All decision makers provide local and regional participative structures and participate in open fora, for example in the framework of the structured dialogue.
In executing its advisory and advocacy role, the Youth Council participates in several bodies on community and national level (e.g. youth welfare service; media; development cooperation, solidarity and integration; equal opportunities; family and intergenerational affairs). This participation allows for cooperation and participation on global issues in the German-speaking Community, in Belgium and in Europe.
A few years ago, the Youth Council took part in regular meetings at UN-level. Due to the size of the German-speaking Community and limited personnel ressources, this is no longer the case.
Youth contribution to global processes of policy-making is not anchored by any decree in the German-speaking Community. For this reason, there is no specific governmental authority responsible for the implementation and follow-up of youth participation on global issues.
Due to the limited size of the German-speaking Community, there are very few organisations and actors specifically dedicated to young people, the main organisation being the aforementioned Youth Council. The following main actors in the field of policy-making are not specifically limited to young people, but consider them a part of their general target group.
RESI - Council for developement cooperation, integration and solidarity (Rat für Entwicklungszusammenarbeit, Solidarität und Integration)
The RESI was a council to raise citizens' awareness of development cooperation, solidarity and integration, while encouraging the exchange and networking between local actors. The RESI provided advice to the government and issued regular opinions on societal and development policy issues. However, on 14th November 2019, the Government passed an edict (Erlass der Regierung zur Aufhebung des Erlasses der Regierung der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft vom 19. Juli 2007 zur Schaffung des Rates für Entwicklungszusammenarbeit, Solidarität und Integration (RESI) in der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft), repealing the edict which had constituted RESI. Consequently, RESI was discontinued.
Advisory Council for Integration and living together in diversity (Beirat für Integration und das Zusammenleben in Vielfalt)
In accordance with Art. 20 of the Decree on Integration and Living together in Diversity of 11th December 2017 (Dekret über Integration und das Zusammenleben in Vielfalt), an Advisory Council for integration and living together in diversity has been constituted. This advisory board has partially taken over the responsibilities of RESI, however, its main activities differ from those of RESI. As is stated in the Decree, the advisory board is mainly responsible for the drafting of reports on integration measures, either on its own initiative or when demanded by the Government of the German-speaking Community (Regierung der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft) or the Parliament of the German-speaking Community (Parlament der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft, PDG) and for shaping policy-making as far as integration is concerned.
Consumer Protection Centre Eastbelgium (Verbraucherschutzzentrale Ostbelgien)
The consumer protection centre's mission is to provide information to consumers on the range of goods and services on offer in their region, to conduct transfrontier surveys and comparison exercises, and to advise consumers on their rights should a problem arise with a supplier in a neighbouring country.
The kind of things dealt with by the centre ranges from the new opportunities available to consumers with the elimination of tax frontiers (e.g. purchases of goods or financial investment in other Member States) to the kind of problems which are always going to crop up (e.g. contract law and different commercial practices, difficulties over guarantees, etc.).
Weltladen - fair trade shop
The Weltladen is a fair trade shop that raises awareness on global social, economic, ecological and cultural issues. The revenue acquired through the sale of fair trade products is used to fund small development projects in developing countries.
Oxfam Solidarity is a Belgian NGO that supports development projects. In order to build another type of globalisation, Oxfam Solidarity cooperates with partners in more than 35 Southern countries. These partners work for real social changes, and fight against poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, exploitation and exclusion. Daily involved among their populations, they try to improve the living and working conditions for a better future.
Oxfam Trailwalker is a unique team challenge (for friends, family and colleagues) with one single purpose: to put an end to injustice and poverty. The challenge is to walk 100 km in teams of 4 in less than 30 hours, whilst raising 1.500 euros to support Oxfam-Solidarity’s projects worldwide. Oxfam Trailwalker is a worldwide event that takes place in 9 countries, spread over 4 different continents.
In 2011, the human rights organisation Amnesty International has opened a regional office in the German-Speaking Community. They function as a hub for their investigations, campaigns and communications.
There are no mechanisms of cross-sectoral cooperation between Ministries, Departments and Agencies involved in defining policies and measures regarding youth's contribution to global processes of policy-making, implementation and follow-up at the moment.