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National Youth Council
The National Youth Council (NJR) (introduced in chapter 5) facilitates exchanges about global issues at a domestic level and internationally. At a domestic level, the NJR has launched multiple initiatives:
- EU-youth conference: During the Dutch presidency of the European Union (January – June 2016) the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (VWS) and NJR organized the EU-youth conference in Amsterdam. More than 100 young people and policy makers discussed European youth policy.
- The night of the United Nations (VN): Dutch youths can sign up for free for this night, where young people discuss topics like peace, security, human rights and sustainable development. Discourse is stimulated through different working methods, like interviews, debates, movies and lectures. The night of the VN is organized by NJR annually. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as an important partner in the organization, is also present during the event.
- National Youth Debate. At the National Youth Debate, young people are invited to share their view and their solutions for various problems in our society. Secondary school students visit the provincial house and form teams with assigned roles for each pupil. Together they try to convince policy makers of their ideas. After this day, one small team is selected to attend the National Youth Debate at the House of Representatives in The Hague with national parliament members. The debates at the provinces are organized several times per year.
Young Climate Movement
The Young Climate Movement unites the votes of more than 30 different youth organizations to influence climate and sustainability policies. They strive to include everyone, especially youth, in the transition to a sustainable world. Among other things, they do this by influencing politicians and policy makers. The Young Climate Agenda is an initiative of the Young Climate Movement. In total, more than 60 parties have contributed to its future vision on climate. The agenda is published on the website. The movement aims to organize two major events each year. In 2017, they hosted the #ClimateCandidate campaign and organized the Young Climate Summit on 21 October 2017.
Every six months, youth and policy makers from every member state of the European Union come together for a structured dialogue. The aim of this event is to stimulate that youth policy, both in Europe and at a national and local level, is developed together with youth. Every 1.5 years there is a new theme, the theme for January 2016 – July 2017 was ‘Ready for life, ready for society’. The structured dialogue offers a serious podium to exchange views, knowledge and experiences between youth and policy makers at a European level. The recommendations from the conference in October 2016 in Slovakia are summarized in a report.
Every two years the National Youth Council elects eight new youth representatives. These young representatives represent the view of Dutch young people at the United Nations General Assembly, the European Union, UNESCO and the Climate and Sustainability Summit Conferences. To prepare for this, the youth representatives travel through the Netherlands to collect the opinions of Dutch youths. They present these opinions and views during the international conferences they visit. The representatives work in couples, one couple per theme (UN, EU, UNESCO and climate and sustainability). Each couple is supported by a team of volunteers to help them. In addition, the volunteers also start initiatives and projects about the themes and the representatives, for example to run at schools and universities in the Netherlands.