The 4th Africa-Europe Youth Summit highlighted the key role played by young people on both continents as key actors within the Africa-EU Partnership.
At the summit, held this week in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, delegates representing African, European and diaspora youth organisations put forward a number of recommendations to be presented to heads of state at the 5th AU-EU Summit, on 29-30 November, the overarching theme of which will be “Investing in Youth for a Sustainable Future”.
The Youth Summit called on leaders in Africa and Europe to create meaningful mechanisms for young people to engage in political processes and made a number of recommendations for action in six thematic areas: education and skills, peace and security, governance and inclusion, environment and climate, business and job creation, and culture and arts.
In particular, the delegates called on leaders to build on their commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the universal framework for setting the world on a more sustainable path, by working together towards sustainable development as the overarching objective of national policies and the Africa-EU partnership, ensuring attention to the needs of future generations.
The delegates also urged leaders to implement a cross-sectoral and participatory approach to youth policy, ensuring structures for effective coordination and mainstreaming of youth in all policies, and the creation of or provision of support to existing mechanisms that guarantee extended and improved youth participation in policy-making processes. Also stressed was the need to leverage the unique potential of the diaspora youth to inspire and channel positive change and effective cooperation between Africa and Europe.
To guarantee the successful implementation of these recommendations, delegates called for the establishment of a participatory mechanism to monitor and evaluate the progress of the Africa-EU Partnership, which ensures cross-sectoral collaboration between governments, CSOs, diaspora and youth organisations.
Building on the history of Africa-Europe Youth Cooperation, the AU and EU should secure dedicated funding and mobilise additional resources to advance this cooperation, further boost opportunities for real partnership and exchange and support the implementation of these recommendations.
Participating in the Summit were 120 young people, selected from more than 7 500 applicants, who discussed common challenges faced by youth in both continents. The Youth Summit was organised by youth organisation platforms in Africa and Europe (the Pan-African Youth Union, the Network of International Youth Organisations in Africa, and the European Youth Forum) as well as diaspora organisations (ADYNE, ADYFE and ACP-YPN), with input from the Advisory Council of the Council of Europe. It was supported by the European Union in partnership with the African Union together with Côte d’Ivoire as the hosting country.