The Youth Action Plan in EU external action – a new era of global youth empowerment? - Multinational Development Policy Dialogue Brussels
On the 12th of December the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Multinational Development Policy Dialogue (KAS MDPD) organised discussion round titled "The Youth Action Plan in EU external action – a new era of global youth empowerment?". Invited speakers from the European External Action Service (EEAS), the Youth Sounding Board (YSB) of the European Commission Directorate General for International Partnerships and the African Union (AU) Diaspora Youth Initiative discussed how the new "Youth Action Plan in EU external action" (YAP) published by the EU Commission could strengthen global youth engagement.
The discussion was based on the findings of a KAS MDPD study titled “Time for the EU to implement the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda: Could Finland serve as a role model?”
The discussion showed that the Youth Action Plan in EU external action (YAP) is an important step forward and offers new tools to engage with the global youth. Even though its financing is limited, it opens up new possibilities for youth engagement, especially in the global south. Thus, it should be equipped with necessary financial and organisational means. Besides funding, the challenge of stabilising coordination and exchanges between the actors allocating funds and the youth on the ground remains. Consequently, the discussion revealed three main aspects that need further attention from EU and EU member states´ decision makers:
(1) The implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda in the YAP needs to be followed by competence building within the EU institutions as well as in EU member states and youth organisations.
(2) A monitoring system to see if the strategies and projects of the YAP are successful, must be implemented using qualitative and quantitative data from the ground. This monitoring system should be inclusive and include youth members.
(3) The Youth Sounding Board (YSB) of the European Commission Directorate-General for International Partnerships is an important tool that needs to be introduced to other Directorate-Generals in the EU commission and to other EU institutions. Moreover, each EU delegation should be mandated to have a local, or regional, youth sounding boarding. These would better integrate the global youth into EU decision making processes and enable them to engage with the EU. YSBs can encourage the global youth to strive for a change for the better in their local communities, while promoting the EU as a positive force.