9.3 Exchanges between young people and policy-makers on global issues
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This section provides information on the formal and informal opportunities given to young people to exchange views on global issues with national and international policymakers. In Denmark, young people have a number of formal opportunities to exchange views with policymakers at domestic and international level.
Denmark’s current strategy for development cooperation ‘The World We Share’ emphasises the role of young people as active citizens and agents of positive change, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlights youth as an important priority in its work. A key principle for Denmark is actively promoting and implementing development with, by, and for youth.
The strategy involves young people in two ways:
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports several organisations that engage and include young people in developing countries.
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a pool for development cooperation activities with the purpose of engaging Danish youth. The pool is administered by the Danish Youth Council (DUF).
Young people constitute an enormous development potential, and the meaningful inclusion and participation of youth is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. That is why the Ministry of Foreign Affairs developed programme management tools and guidance notes for increased youth mainstreaming. The tools and guidance notes are to be used as inspiration when designing, implementing and evaluating development engagements. Read more here. The ministry also has an appointed Global Youth Advisor, who supports the work of mainstreaming youth on policy and implementation level.
At the domestic level, young people have a number of consultation opportunities. In December 2018, at the COP24 (The 24th UN Climate Change Conference), two Danish UN youth delegates presented the idea of a youth climate council to the Danish minister for energy, utilities and climate, and he pledged to establish a council in 2019. The objective of the youth climate council is to give young people a voice and engage them in policy development on global climate issues. The task of the council is to advise the minister and provide input for Danish and global climate policy. The council has 10 members, meets with the minister twice a year and brings up new input and ways to solve climate change problems. Read more here.
In 2017, the minister for development cooperation launched a youth package. The youth package initiated a multitude of measures. The package contains both domestic and international measures with the overarching goal of engaging and including young people in policymaking and incorporating a strategic focus on young people in Danish development cooperation policy and the youth agenda in multilateral fora.
At the domestic level, the youth package presents two consultation opportunities:
Firstly, DUF (Danish Youth Council) was appointed to take a seat in the minister’s Advisory Council on Development Cooperation. The council provides advice to the minister responsible for development cooperation in relation to the preparation and implementation of Danish development cooperation.
The Council for Development Policy discusses strategic policy initiatives within the sphere of development policy and development cooperation, including policy papers for Denmark’s relations with priority countries, new thematic strategic frameworks, and organisational strategies for Denmark’s cooperation with multilateral organisations. The council advises the minister on programmes and projects with budgets of more than 39 million DKK and contributes with independent knowledge sharing through discussions and prioritisation of the annual evaluation programme.
Secondly, in 2017 the Danish parliament’s cross-party network on the UN development goals set up a 2030 panel with 25 members representing different sectors of Danish society. The task of the panel is to support the network through analyses, knowledge sharing, meetings, conferences, etc. Since 2018, DUF has been represented in the 2030 panel and is currently the co-chair.
As part of the drafting process of the new development strategy ‘The World We Share’, the minister for development cooperation hosted a range of open hearings to ensure input from stakeholders. One of these hearings was co-hosted by DUF and had a specific focus on young people. Furthermore, DUF and many other organisations provided written input to the strategy.
The minister for development cooperation has also launched a new international youth panel consisting of six Danish members and eight members representing the African priority countries defined in the Danish development cooperation. The panel will advise the minister on development policy, projects and programmes. The panel members are nominated by The Danish Youth Council (DUF) and the Danish embassies in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.
Since 1972, Denmark has appointed one youth delegate to participate in the Danish official delegation to the United Nations General Assembly and various functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council. The programme was extended in 2018 and 2020, and the total number of United Nations (UN) youth delegates organised by DUF is eight. The eight delegates participate in UN and other multinational forums such as COP (the UN climate change conference), the ILO (International Labour Organization) and the WHO (World Health Organization).
The delegates work within four overarching themes:
- Climate and environment
- Equal rights/gender equality and sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR)
- Democracy and partnerships
- Technical and vocational education and job creation
The delegates represent Danish children and youth organisations, and the application process is open to all young people. The delegates are nominated by organisations and appointed by DUF. At the national and local level, the delegates arrange dialogue meetings, workshops and panel debates on global issues for young people and youth organisations. Part of the delegates’ mandate is to communicate global agendas to young people, and the delegates obtain a negotiating mandate to bring to the upcoming international meetings, where the youth delegates are the young people’s voice in the discussions and negotiations. Read more about the Danish UN Youth delegates here.