ECYC at the EU Youth Conference in Tallinn

ECYC at the EU Youth Conference in Tallinn

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ECYC is engaging in the Vith Cycle of Structured Dialogue (2017/18), being represented in the three flagship youth conferences and working with 11 other international NGOs and the YFJ to bring their outreach capabilities and their European perspective to the consultation phases.

What is Structured Dialogue?

“The Structured Dialogue on Youth is a process implemented by the European Commission enabling young people to be involved in the shaping of policies that affect them, through continuous cooperation among youth representatives and decision-makers.” - more information- youthforum.org/claims/the-structured-dialogue/

‘Expect blue sky thinking’ - in advance of the Vith Cycle of Structured Dialogue emails and updates warned to expect a new take on a conference. Now in retrospect I can say the best way to describe Tallinn would be ‘unstructured structured dialogue’. In the space of workshops, participants self organised into open spaces; finding people in the conference who could add their perspective to a discussion on an issue that affected young people. An open space discussion on youth work took place between national and INGYO delegates as well as experts and director generals. The key themes from this discussion will be analysed by the COE-EU researchers and shape the consultations to occur over the next six months.

ECYC has the exciting opportunity to sit on the European Working Group in this cycle and to work with international NGOs to pool our outreach for the integral aspect of on-the-ground consultation with young people. In this cycle, more than the previous, ECYC and other INGYOs are increasingly relevant as the outcomes from the Vith Cycle will feed into the next European Union Youth Strategy, and this strategy shares the European perspective of the INGYOs in the European Working Group.

A refreshing level of self-awareness also existed within the conference; speakers, guests, participants and experts were conscious that many, many groups were underrepresented. This wasn't disregarded, instead outreach and increasing representation was the focus of multiple spaces within the conference. This year, for the first time, the Eastern partnership countries, like Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan were invited to engage in the process. Their presence and engaged delegates brought new and important perspectives to the conversation. The increased engagement of INGYOs is also a welcome step into bringing more voices to the Cycle. However, there is still a journey left to reach those hardest to engage with.

What next?

ECYC and its member organisations will work to use the results of the Tallinn conference to consult young people. The themes of the inputs at consultations will then be examined at the next European Youth Conference in Sofia, Bulgaria next April.

Robert Nesirky - ECYC delegate to the Vith Cycle.

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