9.3 Exchanges between young people and policy-makers on global issues
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Exchanges between young people and professionals in the field of international relations are not systematic nor are they the subject of any national strategy; nonetheless, through ad hoc or annual events, young people have the opportunity to find out about global issues as well as receive training from professionals in their own countries.
The Ministry in charge of Foreign Affairs’ “Ambassadors’ Week”
Ambassadors’ Week (Semaine des ambassadeurs) is an annual event which, among other things, helps the public discover what ambassadors do and better understand major diplomatic issues and topics.
It provides an occasion for French ambassadors to debate with elected representatives, experts and representatives of civil society and the private sector. The general public is also given the opportunity to meet diplomatic staff and attend roundtables.
The Convergences Forum
The Convergences Forum / Forum Convergences is an annual, multi-party event that promotes the Sustainable Development Goals and the fight against poverty and climate change in countries dubbed “Northern and Southern”. More than 200 partner organisations from civil society and the non-governmental, public and private sectors take part every year. The French Development Agency / Agence française du développement (AFD) is the main partner of this forum. It is also supported by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Environment. The forum brings together international participants, including political decision-makers and students, who meet to build common solutions to social and environmental issues and to strengthen the international partnerships formed to promote the powerful idea of “zero exclusion, zero carbon, zero poverty”.
The Climate Change Conference COP and the Conference of Youth for the Climate
The aim of the Conference of Youth for the Climate is to arrive at a set of clear rules for applying the Paris Agreement, which was negotiated in 2015 during the COP21 on the climate. The COY (Conference of Youth) was held before the COP and brought together several thousand young people from across the world to debate, discuss and find solutions to climate change.
Every year, young French people take part in the COY, particularly through the associations involved in fighting climate change.
The Conference of Youth that took place in October 2021 (COY 16) during the COP 26 (Glasgow Climate Conference) provided the opportunity for international decision-makers to meet young people from more than 140 countries.
The “Youth Involvement and Participation” (“Engagement et participation des jeunes”) Report
The Economic, Environmental and Social Council (CESE – Conseil économique, Social et Environnemental), established in 2008, published the “Youth Involvement and Participation” (“Engagement et participation des jeunes”) report in March 2022. The report was presented by the Agriculture Group (Groupe Agriculture) and the Student and Youth Organisations Group (Organisations étudiantes et des mouvements de jeunesse).
The report argues for:
- “bolstering education in democracy from an early age,
- placing young people at the centre of the public policies that affect them,
- making it easier to register to vote and encouraging people to vote,
- reinvigorating democracy, ensuring the accountability of elected officials, and revamping political bodies in order to restore trust.”
The meetings at the summit between young people and political decision-makers are not intended to result in specific and systematic policies or schemes. However, the young people can take part in international conferences addressing global issues where the different stakeholders meet to debate and construct policies and decisions collectively. These include the public decision-makers, associations, non-governmental organisations, businesses and civil society.
French youth delegations at internatonal summits
Every two years, delegations of young French-speakers take part in the Francophonie summit that brings together the heads of state and government of the French-speaking nations. In particular, they are invited to attend the international conference of young French-speakers, specifically for them. During this event, the young people are invited to reflect on the themes of the summit.
The 18th Francophonie Summit (XVIIIe sommet de la Francophonie), which was to be held in 2020, finally took place on 19th and 20th November 2022 in Djerba (Tunisia). The 19th summit will be held in France in 2024.
Exchanges between young people and policy-makers at the European Union Youth Dialogue (EUYD) programme and the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union (FPEU)
As part of the ninth round of the EU Youth Dialogue (EUYD) programme and the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, young people had two specific opportunities for dialogue with policy-makers:
- at the European Conference of Youth (24th–26th January 2022), young participants from each Member State and associated countries had the opportunity to interact with French and European policy-makers on how to “work together for a sustainable and inclusive Europe” (“s’engager ensemble pour une Europe durable et inclusive”).
- and at the Informal Meeting of Ministers for Education and Youth (la réunion informelle des ministres de l’Education et de la Jeunesse) on 27th January 2022. For the first time, a young person from each EU Member State had the opportunity to have a discussion with their country's minister.
In order to gather opinions on the topics addressed, a consultation was carried out with young people from all Member States, and interactive workshops were held to develop specific proposals. In France, these are led by the Committee for National and International Relations between Youth and Non-Formal Education Associations (CNAJEP – Comité pour les relations Nationales et internationales des Associations de Jeunesse et d'Education Populaire) as part of the Provox campaign.
Work continued at the European Conference of Youth held in Prague in July 2022.