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AC 2012-2013 No. 1 June 2012

June 2012

The AC Newsletter A new mandate starts The new mandate (2012-2013) started full of enthusiasm and fresh ideas to continue the work in the Youth Department. In a really challenging period, with the economic and social crisis having affected young people’s lives around Europe, we will focus our work during the next two years on the access of young people to their rights. The results of the Youth Event prior to the Ministerial Conference being held in September 2012 in St. Petersburg will provide us with the necessary momentum to further strive for our rights. At the same time, safeguarding the comanagement system of the youth sector of the Council of Europe and promoting it in different structures and levels is a clear priority. Looking ahead at the next two years, we will all work as a strong team towards a more rights-based approach to youth policy which will better respond to the needs of young people. Maria Paschou, Chair of the AC

Election of the Chair, Vice-Chair and Bureau members

In this issue Update on the 20122013 programme


40th Anniversary of the Youth Deptartment


9th CoE Conference of Ministers of Youth


Roma Youth Action Plan


Young People combating 3 Hate Speech Online Our Action Plan (20122013)


Courtesy Visits


During the AC meeting in Budapest, the AC members choose its representatives for the Bureau (2012-2013). The Advisory Council on Youth elected Maria Paschou (Hellenic National Youth Council (ESYN)) as Chairperson; Sergio Belfor (UNITED for Intercultural Action) as Vice-Chairperson; and Mihai Floran (JECI-MIEC European Coordination), Matti Niemi (Finnish Youth Cooperation Alliansssi), and Ghofran Ounissi (Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisation (FEMYSO) as members of the Bureau. The Bureau is composed of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and three other members. The Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and the members of the Bureau are elected among the members of the Advisory Council for a term of two years. The composition of the Bureau reflects the composition of the Advisory Council. The members of the Bureau are elected in their personal capacity (i.e. based on experience, know-how, etc.) and not as representatives of their organizations. The election of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson and the other Bureau members requires the majority of the members entitled to vote, at the first ballot, and the majority of the votes cast, at the second and any subsequent ballots. The Bureau meets at least twice a year in between the Advisory Council.

The AC Newsletter

Update on the 2012-2013 programme of the Youth Department

40th Anniversary of the Youth Department

The Advisory Council is highly concerned with the lack of funding for flagship projects and agreed to mention in the Joint Council that flagship projects needed flagship attention and flagship funding. I t wa s i mp o r t a n t t h a t governments supported these

47 years ago, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted Resolution 303 (1965), the birth certificate of what was seven years later to become the first structured and reasonably well-financed youth policy of a European Institution. This year we celebrate the 40 years of the Council of Eu-

projects. Additionally, the AC also started working on the priorities of 2012-2013 in the field of youth. In the working groups, the AC stressed the importance of prioritizing the social inclusion of youth with fewer opportunities within the new priorities.

rope engagement with youth with several events taking place. One of the events will be the discussion on the achievements of the CoE work in the youth field and the future perspective of youth policy in the Parliamentary Assembly on the 27 June where the AC will share its views.

Preparation of the 9th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for youth

Roma Youth Action Plan Another flagship project, the Roma Youth Action Plan is a response of the Council of Europe to the challenges faced by Roma young people in Europe, particularly in relation to their empowerment, participation in policy decision-making processes and structures at European level and the realities of discrimination and particularly anti-gypsism that they are confronted with. A call for Voluntary Contributions from member states had limited success (so far, only Finland committed 12000 €). We remain hopeful that youth leaders and activists are trained in human rights, antidiscrimination and play an active role in making democracy a reality for Roma too. Future involvement of the European Commission, increased cooperation with the team of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma Issues as well as other directorates of the Council of Europe are considered as essential for the success of the initiative. Page 2

The theme of the 9th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Youth is “Young people’s access to rights: development of innovative youth policies”. The conference will take place in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, on 24-25 September 2012. The Conference will be preceded by the Youth Event held on 22-23 September 2012. The AC proposed the following 5 topics to be discussed in the Youth Event: social inclusion; democracy and participation; living together in a diverse society; right to mobility of young people; access to rights and youth information.

declaration of the Conference. After the Youth Event, all participants will participate in the Ministerial Conference where they will have the opportunity to exchange views with Ministers.

The Youth Event will bring together 100 young people from all over Europe: 6 representatives of National Youth Councils (members of YFJ); 13 representatives of International Youth NGOs (members of YFJ); 6 AC members (non-members of YFJ); 50 youth representatives coming from the national delegations and 25 young people from Russia. Youth representatives, members of their national delegation for the Ministerial The Youth Event will be an Conference, will also participate in the opportunity to contribute to the topic Youth Event. of the Ministerial Conference and A joint working group (AC bureau+ make recommendations on concrete YFJ+ NYCR) was set up to prepare actions to facilitate young people’s for the Youth Event and the Ministeriaccess to their rights. It will serve as al Conference. a platform of discussion and debate. Participants in the Youth Event will The AC’s major concern was how the discuss the state of play of young youth representatives were expected to people’s access to their rights in Eu- participate in the Ministerial Conference, how the results of the rope. Youth Event would be properly linked Taking the opportunity of their to the Ministerial Conference and how participation in the Ministerial they could truly contribute to the final Conference following the Event, they version of the Declaration to be will make recommendations on conadopted during the Ministerial crete action to include in the final Conference.

AC 2012-2013 No. 1 June 2012

Young People combating Hate Speech Online The Council of Europe Youth Department kicked off one of its flagship projects “Young People Combating Hate Speech Online” by organizing a training course for young bloggers and online activists. The training runs from May to December 2012 comprising a residential seminar, which took place in European Youth Centre Budapest on 20-27 May 2012, an online learning delivered through the e-learning platform of the Youth Department (, as well as online initiatives against hate speech developed by the participants themselves. Moreover, the project aims at setting up a network of youth activists and youth organizations aiming to be the core of the campaign against hate speech online starting towards the end of 2012.

A very interesting and powerful element of the project and the training course will, definitely, be monthly online initiatives organized by the participants. They will be addressing burning issues within human rights spectrum. They can range from online flash-mobs, to Twitter actions, to pictures sharing etc. June has been dedicated to support of Pride events around Europe. The next steps for the project include launching of the campaign combating hate speech online in 2012, a conference in 2013 bringing together all stakeholders to the project, training another group of bloggers, as well as securing a sufficient budget for the whole duration of the project.

Euro-Arab Youth Co-operation Τhis year the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe defined as one of its main priorities involvement in Euro-Arab Youth Cooperation. Several projects and meetings are planned and the Advisory Council is already taking an active part in this process.

that will be soon presented to the Euro-Arab network.

The Advisory Council on Youth, is also taking an active part in the organisation of the Symposium on the Arab Spring “Youth participation for the promotion of peace, human rights and fundamental The “Euro-Arab and Mediterranean freedoms”, which will take place Youth Leaders Meeting: Network- in Tunis on 28-29 August. ing and Partnership Development” More than 100 young leaders are was held in Rome on 7-12 May expected in this crucial event 2012. which will be the opportunity to The Forum Nazionale dei Giovani review Euro-Arab cooperation one of the Advisory Council mem- and the chance to launch longber organisations, organized this term projects. This fall, the “Euromeeting to give a new impetus to Arab Youth Forum on Youth the Euro-Arab youth cooperation, participation, development and the taking into consideration the Arab human rights”, will take place in spring achievements. Bethlehem. Thirty three young leaders coming from 18 different countries and representing independent youth organizations, national youth councils, international non-governmental organizations have attended the meeting and drafted an action-plan

For the first time a Youth event will be hosted in a Palestinian city. The Advisory Council on Youth is particularly dedicated to the preparation of this unique event and hopes that this first experience will be a great success.

Our Action Plan (2012-2013) The Advisory Council on Youth Action Plan 2012-2013 was adopted by the Bureau at its meeting on 23-24 May 2012. The AC defines itself as being the voice of young people in Europe working under this topic on Youth Mainstreaming, Cooperation with the Council of Europe Directorate of Democratic Citizenship and Participation, International Cooperation, Partnership b e t we e n t h e Eu r o p e a n Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of Youth

and Cooperation with the Gender Equality Commission. The AC calls for a) a rightsbased approach to youth policy working under this topic on Youth and Human Rights, b) Democracy and Participation, c) Recognition of youth work and non-formal education, d) Recognition of the role of youth organisations as the main channel for participation and e) Environmental Protection. The AC also commits itself to continue the implementation of Agenda 2020 and has defined some key activities for its mandate.

Appointing of a Gender Equality Rapporteur The CMJ was invited to appoint a gender equality Rapporteur from amongst its members. AC member Ilaria Esposito (WAGGGS) was nominated as Gender Equality Rapporteur to represent the Joint Council. Page 3

The AC Newsletter

Appointing of a Joint Council Representative in the Executive Committee of the North-South Centre. The CMJ was invited to appoint a representative in the Executive Committee of the North-South Centre amongst its members. AC member Giovanni Corbo (National Youth Forum of Italy - FNG) was appointed to represent the Joint Council.

Courtesy Visits After the Bureau meeting of 23-24 May 2012, the AC Bureau had the chance to meet with different institutions within the CoE to discuss its priorities and ask for more co-operation. The AC Bureau met the Commissioner for Human Right Mr. Nils Muiznieks who expressed his interest for further co-operation on the flagship project “Young people combating Hate Speech Online” and on the results of the Youth Event taking place in St. Petersburg in September. The Bureau also met the Chair of GR-C Ambassador Mammadov (Azerbaijan) with whom it discussed the reforms of the CoE, the flagship projects and his interest in interreligious and intercultural dialogue. With the PACE Secretariat the Bureau expressed its interest to continue co-operation and discussion on the “The young generation sacrificed: social, economic and political consequences of the financial crisis” – the report prepared by Mr Luca Volonte and its adoption by the Parliamentary Assembly. The AC Bureau also met the Secretary General of the Congress Mr. A. Kiefer and exchanged views on how we can promote the Comanagement System at the local level.

Finally, the AC Chair had a meeting with the Deputy Registrar of the European Court on Human Rights Mr Michael O’Boyle and tried to establish good collaboration by asking the Court’s help to collect existing case-law regarding violations of young people’s rights in order to improve the AC’s political work and provide it with more evidence and data in its advocacy work.

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The Advisory Council (AC) is made up of 30 representatives from youth NGOs and networks who can formulate opinions and proposals on any question concerning youth dealt with in the Council of Europe. With its governmental partner – the European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ) – it forms the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ) to develop a common position on the political priorities and programme of the youth sector.

The 1st edition of the AC Newsletter for the new mandate has been compiled by Adina Marina CALAFATEANU – AC Member – Center for Sustainable Community Development – Romania Maria PASCHOU – AC Chair – Hellenic National Youth Council Mihai Floran – AC Bureau Member - JECI-MIEC European Coordination

AC Newsletter  

AC 2012-2013 No. 1 June 2012