1.8 Cross-border cooperation
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PEACE PLUS is a European Union initiative, that supports commitments made by the European Commission, the UK Government and the Irish Government to support peace and reconciliation. PEACE PLUS is designed to support peace and prosperity across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland (including Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan, and Sligo). It runs from 2021-2027 and build upon the work of the previous PEACE and INTERREG Programmes. Its focus includes peacebuilding activity and how the actions we take can contribute in positive ways to building the economy and increasing prosperity, as well as helping us adjust to new challenges.
The Programme's funding is worth €1.1 billion. This is a funding increase from the previous programme, PEACE IV (2014-2020), which had €270m funding. 85% of the Programme is provided through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 15% is match-funded by the Irish Government and the Norther Irish Executive.
Within the Republic of Ireland, Léargas manage international and national exchange programmes in education, youth and community work, and vocational education and training. These exchanges connect people in different communities and countries, and bring an international dimension to the work of organisations across Ireland.
The content was agreed by the Northern Ireland Executive, the Irish Government, and the European Commission. The programme has been divided into six themes. Each new programme aims to address longstanding social and economic challenges which have and continue to impact our communities. Within each theme there are several investment areas - these will have a more specific focus and target specific organisations such as local authorities or community groups. These themes are:
- Building Peaceful and Thriving Communities
- Delivering Socio-Economic Regeneration and Transformation
- Empowering and Investing in Our Young People
- Healthy and Inclusive Communities
- Supporting a Sustainable & Better Connected Future
- Building and Embedding Partnership and Collaboration.
A target groups of the programme is young people aged between 14-24 years who are disadvantaged, excluded, or marginalized, have deep social and emotional needs and are at risk of becoming involved in anti-social behavior, violence, or dissident activity.
National Youth Council of Ireland
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) is a member of the European Youth Forum and works as part of this platform to influence the decisions of the European Union and the United Nations. NYCI’s International Programme supports young people’s involvement in international activities, youth work and youth policy. The programme aims to:
- facilitate and promote the involvement of youth organisations and young people in international activities.
- encourage youth organisations to include an international dimension to their youth work, through creating opportunities for sharing of best practice in youth work and facilitating international collaboration.
- advocates and lobbies on International and European youth policy to ensure young people have an opportunity to add their voice to decisions that affect young people, their youth organisations, and their future.
UN Youth Delegate Programme
The UN Youth Delegate Programme supports the representation of young people from Ireland at the United Nations. The programme is sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in partnership with NYCI.
Each year, two UN Youth Delegates are chosen to form part of Ireland’s official delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. The aim of the initiative is to provide a platform for young people from Ireland to be represented at the United Nations, and to facilitate greater engagement with Irish youth on national and foreign policy issues.