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The Youth Board of Cyprus Law includes legal provisions and guidelines on youth consultation. In particular, the law contains the establishment of Advisory Bodies and clearly says that the Council should seek and take seriously into consideration the recommendations made by the Advisory Bodies on matters that it examines and fall under its jurisdiction. The Advisory Body is there to express views and submit suggestions regarding general principles of youth policy. Taking into consideration that the Youth Board of Cyprus shall advise, through the Minister of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth the Council of Ministers about the configuration of a comprehensive and specialized policy on youth matters”, this consultation mechanism is across all policy areas directly influencing the situation of young people. For more info, please read the section 5.4 “Young people's participation in policy-making”.
Regarding the exchanges on global issues between young people and policy-makers at domestic level, youth consultations were held on a regular basis towards the end of 2018 for monitoring the National Youth Strategy 2017-2022 which dedicates a field of action on Youth and the World. Based on the 2019 MOECSY Annual Report, the outcomes were compiled in a Conclusions Report which presents 64 proposals by young people on new measures and 35 suggestions for improving current measures. The Report was the outcome of structured dialogue procedures, which were attended by 150 young people and representatives of Youth Clubs, Municipal and Community Youth Councils, the Cyprus Youth Council and the Cyprus Children’s Parliament. The consultations took place all over Cyprus.
However, among the society of active citizens, there are various exchanges of youth workers, young people and policymakers under the Erasmus+ Programme (e.g. through the method of structured dialogue) for exchanging views and recommendations on key topics that concern young people on global level.
More specifically, the Annual Report 2018 of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth mentions that in 2018 the Structured Dialogue process (since 2019 it is called EU Youth Dialogue) continued, based on the guidelines of the European Steering Committee for Structured Dialogue which consists of the European Youth Forum, the Presidency and the European Commission. All member states which have a National Group for Structured Dialogue are involved in this process. In Cyprus, the National Group for Structured Dialogue consists of representatives of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth, the Youth Board of Cyprus and the Cyprus Youth Council, and it is coordinated by the Cyprus Youth Council. In the context of this process, many consultations between young people and representatives from the Ministry of Education and the Youth Board of Cyprus were held in urban and rural areas as well as meetings among representatives of the Group for Structured Dialogue, to plan actions and analyse the consultation results. The 2019 Annual Report of the MOECSY states that in 2019, five consultations were held in Cyprus, with the total participation of 50 people.
The Youth Board of Cyprus is run by a seven-member Administrative Board which consists of youth representatives. As the competent national authority on youth issues (a) it participates in international youth organizations’ meetings and develops bilateral contacts with respective youth bodies of other countries in order to be informed regarding the international development youth matters; (b) It stipulates protocols/programmes of cooperation with corresponding youth bodies of other countries for the achievement of the Board’s aims and (c) it funds the participation of young people and youth representatives such as members of the National Youth Council for their participation in international forums through the ‘’Youth Initiatives Project’’.
Moreover, the first 3-year Action Plan of the National Youth Strategy states that under the priority “International cooperation in the field of youth”, the following objectives are set: (a) Active involvement in shaping advances and processes which take place at international youth policy-making centres; (b) Developing and maintaining Youth Board of Cyprus’ relations with the international community and promoting the Organization abroad; with a view to enhancing cooperation in the youth field. In this way, participation in international seminars and workshops, representation in international forums and conferences as well as memberships in international organisations is considered important.
Based on the 2018 and 2019 Annual Reports of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth, the Youth Board of Cyprus, through its Board members and staff, participated in several important European and international meetings, conferences and activities on youth related issues. These are:
- Participation in Working Groups on Youth Related Issues: The YBC participates in the Working Groups on Youth related issues that are held in Brussels during each Presidency of the European Council, as well as in Youth Conferences and in General Directors’ meetings that are hosted by each Presidency.
- Participation at the European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ): The YBC participates at the meetings of the Steering Committee for Youth of the Council of Europe twice a year, where policies and other youth related issues are discussed and strategies are put forward in the member states. The Executive Director of the YBC is one of the members of the Bureau of the CDEJ. In 2019, the meetings focused on the active participation and the successful efforts to save the Youth Sector of the Council of Europe, and on the preparation of the new Youth Strategy 2030.
- European Knowledge Centre on Youth Policy (EKCYP) of the Council of Europe: The YBC attended the annual meeting of the national correspondents of the Centre to monitor the drafting and implementation of youth national policies.
- United Nations (UN): The YBC participates in the international conventions and forums organized by the UN, as the UN youth policies and initiatives are taken into serious consideration by the YBC in its National Youth Strategy. In 2018 and 2019, the YBC and Cypriot youth representatives participated in the following UN events: a) The UN Winter Youth Assembly, b) the 7thYouth Forum of ECOSOC (United Nations Economic and Social Council), which took place in New York, c) the Youth Summit on Youth Dialogue and d) The World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth 2019 and Youth Forum Lisboa+21. Furthermore, the participation of additional young people in similar Forums was funded by the YBC through the Youth Initiatives Project.
- Commonwealth: The YBC encourages young people’s participation in the Commonwealth Youth Forum providing financial and other kinds of support. In 2018, the YBC participated in two Commonwealth youth events that aimed at drafting a road map for a holistic development and promotion of employment for young people in Cyprus. The events were the Commonwealth Higher Education Youth Work Consortium Workshop and the 3rd Commonwealth Conference on Youth Work.
In addition, in 2017 the YBC organised the international conference “Youth Cooperation for Peace (You Coop): Building Bridges to counter radicalization and extremism” which was held in Nicosia with 30 participants aged 18-35 years old on 13-14 December 2017. The conference was organised with the cooperation of the Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth and it was attended by young people from Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and Slovakia, who exchanged ideas on finding new ways to promote tolerance, understanding and the fight against stereotypes. The conference focused on two main topics: 1) recognition / exposure of youth policies’ contribution towards extremism and radicalisation; 2) creation of tolerant societies that promote a peace culture.
The Office of European and International Affairs in cooperation with the Office of the European Parliament in Cyprus also organises educational visits to the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg with the participation of students.