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EACEA National Policies Platform


9. Youth and the World

9.3 Exchanges between young people and policy-makers on global issues

Last update: 4 October 2023
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  1. Global issues exchanges with policy-makers at the domestic level
  2. Global issues exchanges with policy-makers at the international level

Global issues exchanges with policy-makers at the domestic level

Consultation processes between the ministries are regulated in the Joint Rules of Procedure of the Federal Ministries (Gemeinsame Geschäftsordnung der Bundesministerien, GGO). The ministries are free to choose their own approaches on how to address e.g. young people (Available in German). Youth conferences help to support the dialogue with policy-makers:

  • Federal youth conference (Bundesjugendkonferenz)
    The federal youth conference brings together committed young people from across the country to discuss current youth policy issues. It is part of the Federal Government's youth strategy and national as well as international topics are discussed
  • At the Youth Policy Days (Jugendpolitiktage) organised by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend, BMFSFJ) in Berlin, young people have the opportunity to discuss and help shape policy development at the national level. The Youth Policy Days in 2023 focused on youth participation in global issues in times of crisis, among other things.
  • youpaN is a youth forum in which young people help implement the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) National Action Plan (Nationaler Aktionsplan Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung, BNE). Supported by experts from different educational sectors, they want to encourage other people to advocate social, ecological and economic sustainability and youth participation. The members of youpaN act as non-partisan and independent experts who represent young people’s perspectives, advise committees, organisations and political parties and present their own formats at ESD events.
  • The ESD youth conference youcoN (BNE-Jugendkonferenz youcoN) has taken place since 2017. According to the motto ‘We li/ove the future!’ (Wir l(i)eben Zukunft!), it brings together over 150 diverse young people from all over Germany every year. In workshops, bar camps and lectures, they learn about education for sustainable development (ESD) and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals over a period of several days. They discuss how to implement ESD in their own environments and plan joint projects.

Another example is the involvement of non-government stakeholders and civil society in the discussion surrounding the National Sustainable Development Strategy. The federal government's sustainability dialogue platform (Dialog Nachhaltigkeit) included young people to give them the opportunity to express their ideas and opinions. The new version of the National Sustainable Development Strategy was then adopted in January 2017 (Deutsche Nachhaltigkeitsstrategie) to support the 2030 Agenda (Agenda 2030 für nachhaltige Ziele).

The national steering platform for the implementation of the Global Action Programme Education for Sustainable Development (Weltaktionsprogramm Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung) includes an expert forum on 'Non-formal and informal learning/youth' (available in German) with representatives of various youth organisations . The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung) has overall control.

In the UNICEF Youth Council (UNICEF-Juniorbeirat), young people advise UNICEF Germany on programmes and projects. With its own activities, such as #sprayforpeace, #ActOnClimate or the Red Hand Day, the Youth Council campaigns for a better future for children and young people throughout the world.

The EU Youth Dialogue (Jugenddialog) – organised by the German Federal Youth Council (Deutscher Bundesjugendring) – gives young people and youth organisations the opportunity to participate in political processes and decisions at local, regional, national and European level. Young people engage with political leaders at all levels and through different channels. The Youth Dialogue allows young people to voice their concerns and be part of the policymaking process. The impact of the Youth Dialogue is made transparent so that young people can see how they influence political processes in their local area and all the way to the European Union. The theme of the 9th cycle in the Youth Dialogue in 2022/2023 is ‘Engaging together for a sustainable and inclusive Europe’ (‘Gemeinsam für ein nachhaltiges und inklusives Europa’). The Youth Dialogue takes place

At federal state level, for example, the youth advisory boards of youth initiatives created under the sustainability strategies in Baden-Württemberg (available in German) give young people a platform to talk about sustainable action with representatives from politics, academia, business and civil society.

Global issues exchanges with policy-makers at the international level

Each year, two Youth Delegates (Jugenddelegierte) go with the delegation of the German federal government to the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. They represent the interests of young people together with Youth Delegates from other countries. The German UN Youth Delegates take part in the meeting of the Commission on Social Development (CSocD) as representatives of non-governmental organisations. Youth Delegates in Germany are appointed for one year. They go through an application and selection process. The Youth Delegate programme is supported by the United Nations Association of Germany (Deutsche Gesellschaft für die Vereinten Nationen) and the German National Committee for International Youth Work (Deutsches Nationalkomitee für internationale Jugendarbeit, DNK).

DNK represents German youth organisations in a multilateral context: in the Lake Constance-Benelux-plus partnership (Bodensee-Benelux-plus-Kooperation), the European Youth Forum, the youth forum of the European Union, the Baltic Youth forum (Ostsee-Jugendforum) and the Council of Europe.

The Youth Delegates for Sustainable Development (Jugenddelegierte für nachhaltige Entwicklung) accompany the German government delegation led by the Ministry for the Environment (Umweltministerium) to the High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development, HLPF for short). There, they represent the interests of young people from Germany before the global community. The programme is backed by the German Federal Youth Council (Deutscher Bundesjugendring, DBJR).

Germany also regularly sends representatives to the EU Youth Conferences (EU-Jugendkonferenzen). These take place during the biannual EU Council Presidencies of the European Union. The youth representatives address issues of concern to young people with the aim of improving dialogue between policy-makers and young people. The theme of the 9th cycle in the Youth Dialogue (2022/2023) was ‘Engaging together for a sustainable and inclusive Europe’ (‘Gemeinsam für ein nachhaltiges und inklusives Europa’) and focused on the European Youth Goals number 3 ‘Inclusive Societies’ and number 10 ‘Sustainable Green Europe’. The contact organisation is the German Federal Youth Council (Deutscher Bundesjugendring, DBJR).

The Y7 Summit (youth7) is one of the official engagement groups of the G7 Summit. It offers young people a platform where they can introduce their perspectives on the negotiations of the G7 member states. Each G7 country sends four young people to this annual meeting. They discuss the main topics of the respective G7 year and adopt their own youth resolution with recommendations for the G7 countries in the respective policy area. This is then presented to the G7 countries. In 2022, the Y7 Summit took place in Germany. They young people discussed such topics as a sustainable and green planet, global health and solidarity. Japan is the host of the 2023 summit.

Parallel to the Y7 Summit at the G7, the Y20 Summit pursues the same goal at the G20 meeting: to involve young people in the decision-making processes of their governments as part of the G20 Summit. The procedure is the same as that of the Y7 Summit, with each G20 country sending up to four people to the meeting each year. India is the host of Y20 in 2023.

German youth delegations also take part in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Climate Change Conference.

Bundesländer (federal states)

Since 2001, the North Rhine-Westphalian state government has been inviting young people from Germany, Poland and France to take part in a trilateral youth summit (Bund.Europa.Internationales: Weimarer Dreieck). The summit rotates each year between the Hauts-de-France region of France, Silesia in Poland, and North Rhine-Westphalia. The young participants work on a current European issue and engage in a dialogue with politicians from the three regions. Topics of the youth exchanges were also zero waste, recycling and environmental degradation. The youth summit of the three regions in 2023 will look at the subject of energy transition versus energy sovereignty.