The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe is supporting Youth Work by stressing the role of local and regional authorities

With resolution 463 (2021), the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (CoE) emphasises the relevance of youth work for the societies in Europe and recommends the local and regional authorities in its member States to support it.

Young people, so it says in the resolution, are ‘powerful agents for change’. Therefore, young people ‘need to be acknowledged as fully-fledged citizens, who contribute to shaping European societies’. Youth work is ‘important in view of its impact on young citizens as they engage in a participatory process and seek information about their rights and opportunities.

Effort must be made to accompany them by the development and implementation of innovative youth policies as well as new ideas for youth work adaptable to individual needs and to local contexts.’ Moreover: ‘Youth work can play an important role in preventing and addressing social exclusion and in promoting the values of democracy and human rights.’

With reference to the CoE youth sector strategy 2030 and the European Youth Work Agenda and its implementation and moreover, recalling the Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life adopted in 2003, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities now adopted the resolution ‘Youth work: the role of local and regional authorities’.

The requests

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is convinced that local and regional authorities must support young people, not only by providing services but also by co-ordinating relevant activities at local level, with the objective of enabling them to plan their own future and exercise their democratic citizenship. Local and regional authorities are primarily responsible for successfully implemented ‘effective and efficient’ youth work.

Therefore, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe gives eight recommendations and requests. It calls on the authorities

  1. to invest sufficient resources, both human and financial, in youth work, both when provided by the authorities and by NGOs,
  2. to provide sufficient spaces for youth work and training for youth workers (professional and volunteer) for the delivery of quality youth work,
  3. to ensure that information is gathered and disseminated in a way that enables young citizens to take part in discussions,
  4. to develop partnerships with NGOs and youth organisations for joint environmental initiatives aimed at building the capacity of youth as future leaders and driving forces behind a new climate change regime,
  5. to refer to Recommendation CM/Rec(2017)4 on youth work when devising policies and strategies for youth work and make use of the CoE youth work portfolio, and participate actively in the five-yearly reviews of CM/Rec(2017)4, the first of which is to be held in 2022,
  6. to promote the Council of Europe’s ‘Gender Matters’ manual on addressing gender-based violence affecting young people, and support youth work on issues of gender equality and gender-based violence,
  7. to consider applying for the CoE quality label for youth centres for local youth centres and to set up youth centres if there are none,
  8. and to co-operate with and encourage local youth NGOs and associations to apply to the European Youth Foundation for funding of pilot activities.

The text, as well as recommendation on youth work CM/Rec(2017)4 of the Committee of Ministers to member States addressing to member States’ governments, is the result of a fruitful co-operation, especially with the Congress Spokesperson on Youth. Over the past few years, the Advisory Council on Youth (CCJ) – the non-governmental partner in the Council of Europe youth sector’s co-management system and composed of youth representatives – has been intensifying its co-operation with the Congress. Thanks to this collaboration, the Congress has recognised the role of local and regional authorities in supporting young people so they can achieve their full potential as autonomous members of society and exercise their democratic citizenship through the provision of youth work.

Resolution 463 (2021): Youth work: the role of local and regional authorities