Youth Ministers meet in Kyiv to decide future of European youth policy
Kyiv, 10.10.2008 - The 8th Conference of European Youth Ministers, "The future of the Council of Europe youth policy: AGENDA 2020" opened today in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Over the course of the two-day conference, high-level policy makers from 49 signatory countries of the European Cultural Convention will be discussing European youth policy for the next decade.
"We should always remember that youth policy belongs to the youth, that they are true locomotives of a change and that they are vital for making a Europe of tomorrow more inclusive and diverse, vibrant, tolerant and at peace with itself and with others," said Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine, opening the conference.
He also used this occasion to declare 2009 a Year of Youth in Ukraine. "A national strategy will be developed next year that will seek to integrate young people, resolve educational problems, and make it lead a healthy life," he added.
In her welcome address, the Council of Europe Deputy Secretary General, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, outlined challenges to the organisation's policies in the youth sector such as those related to the values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue as well as social cohesion and the social inclusion of young people.
She emphasised that "mainstreaming" could revitalise youth work and policies across the continent and provide a genuine energy boost to them. "Youth policy cannot and should not be developed in isolation. They must be a part and parcel of education, social affairs, health and other policies," she said.
Ukrainian Minister for Family, Youth and Sport Yuriy Pavlenko, Swedish Minister of Integration and Gender Equality Nyamko Sabuni, President of the Council of Europe Congress Yavuz Mildon, Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Youth and Sport of PACE Andre Schneider and Pierre Mairesse, European Commission's Director for Youth, Sport and relations to the Citizens, were also among the opening speakers.
The conference programme includes four working sessions examining:
* Promoting equal opportunities for girls and boys, young women and young men;
* Supporting young people's access to social rights;
* Empowering young people to promote cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue and its religious dimension;
* Promoting intergenerational dialogue and solidarity;
The results of the youth event on the theme of the Ministers' Conference, organised by the European Youth Forum have also been presented at the conference, highlighting the Council of Europe's commitment to fostering greater youth participation through its system of co-management.1
The conference closes on 11 October with the adoption of a final declaration outlining the priorities in the youth sector for the next decade - the so-called "Agenda 2020".
The event is a joint initiative of the Ukrainian government and the Council of Europe's Directorate of Youth and Sport.
The European Conference of Youth Ministers is held every three years to set out the Council of Europe's long-term priorities for the youth sector. The Conferences offer a platform for member states to examine the main problems and challenges they face in the youth field, and in addition, allow direct contacts to be forged between ministers.
Ulvi Akhundlu, Press Officer, Council of Europe Press Division,
Ulvi.Akhundlu@coe.int , tel: +33 (0) 3 88 41 26 38, mob.: +33 (0)6 61 14 83 16
1 This involves representatives from youth non-governmental organisations (NGOs) sitting down in committees with government officials who together then work out the priorities for the youth sector and make recommendations for future budgets and programmes. These proposals are then adopted by the Committee of Ministers, the Council of Europe's decision-making body.
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A political organisation set up in 1949, the Council of Europe works to promote democracy and human rights continent-wide. It also develops common responses to social, cultural and legal challenges in its 47 member states.