From the 9th to 11th October, 120 young leaders from across Europe, Africa and the African Diaspora came together in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire for the 4th African Union (AU) – European Union Youth Summit. Representing a diverse range of political parties, civil society organisations and charities, they set about debating the common challenges facing a generation. The result, The Abidjan Declaration, which will be presented to governments and Heads of State at the 5th AU-EU Summit in November
The Declaration calls upon Leaders across both continents to create meaningful mechanisms for young people to engage in political processes and makes a number of recommendations in six thematic areas: education & skills, peace & security, governance & inclusion, environment & climate, business & job creation, and culture & arts.
In particular, delegates highlighted the need for a cross-sectoral and participatory approach to youth policy; ensuring young people have a seat at the table and opportunities to influence policy making. Furthermore, they call on Leaders to expand on their commitments to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and ensure governments cooperate on a path towards sustainable development at both national and regional levels.
In order to build on the Youth Summit, 18 delegates will participate in a ‘Plug-In’ initiative and work with EU and AU officials to develop tangible proposals for implementing the recommendations put forward in the Declaration. The ‘Plug-In’ offers first-hand experience to develop the skills of young people as well as the opportunity to implement policies, which will lay the foundations for future involvement of young people in policy making.
To find out more about the Summit and read the declaration follow the link: http://www.africa-eu-partnership.org/en/newsroom/all-news/4th-africa-europe-youth-summit-declaration. And to contribute ideas to the ‘Plug-In’ initiative please follow the link: http://aueuypii.org/en
Murray Hawthorne is a co-founding member of Young Mediterranean Voices Plus and an active campaigner for the Liberal Democrats in the UK. He is currently a member of IFLRY’s working policy group on the ‘Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’ and is studying Arabic and Politics (BA) at the University of Leeds.