Brussels, 24 May 2018. The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, is putting in place new mechanisms for young people to shape EU external policies towards the Mediterranean and Africa.
This was a key outcome of three days of policy forums in Brussels involving young peacebuilders and senior institutional leaders, culminating in an open dialogue with Mrs Mogherini at the headquarters of the European External Action Service (EEAS).
Listening to the views of young leaders from Europe, Africa and the Mediterranean, Federica Mogherini committed: “We will test ways of consulting youth organisations on some of our external policies to be sure that they match with the needs on the ground. We want to open up space for your voices to be heard, and to shape the way our external policies are developed and delivered”.
Mrs Mogherini also underlined in her concluding remarks the importance of now bringing to the policy table concrete case studies of youth-led social innovation and prevention that could replicated, scaled-up and invested in at the level of Member States, cities and municipalities. In this perspective, it was stated, the UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security provided an impetus for Member States to invest in strategies for sustaining and expanding existing practice.
“The young generation can have a very powerful impact in terms of conflict prevention,” said Mrs Mogherini. “Acting on how the young population of a country or a region deals with conflict or acts on peacebuilding turns out to be the most relevant factor to prevent a conflict”. She added that it was equally essential more than ever to protect the space of youth voice and work against the violence of exclusion.
The encounter in Brussels marked a significant milestone in a process initiated at EEAS headquarters in March 2017 through “the inaugural dialogue of the EU High-Representative and Young Mediterranean Voices”, with the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2250 among the main calls to action. Following that, HRVP Mogherini has actively connected #YoungMedVoices to various EU and regional networks involved in promoting youth in peacebuilding, including the Africa-European Union (AU-EU) Youth Plug-in Initiative and the “Voices of Youth of Sahel”.
The dialogue of 24May marked the culmination in three days of events in Brussels connected through the HRVP roadmap for Youth Engagement: the EU-MENA Youth Forum “Time for a Paradigm Shift: Listening and Learning – A Two Way Street” (22-23 May), co-organised by the Anna Lindh Foundation and Friends of Europe; the “EU high-level meeting on Youth, Peace and Security” (23-24 May), hosted at the European Parliament and organised by EEAS with the Foundation, UN Peacebuilding, UNFPA, UNESCO, UNDP, the European Youth Forum, the European Commission and the “European Partnership for Children and Youth in Peacebuilding”.
“Young Mediterranean Voices” is coordinated by the Anna Lindh Foundation in partnership with the British Council and a new consortium of leading actors in policy dialogue, among them the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid, the Centre for Mediterranean Integration (CMI), Friends of Europe, the Mediterranean Academy for Diplomatic Studies (MEDAC), Search for Common Ground – Soliya, and the Global Thinkers Forum. Building on the impact of its forerunner, Young Arab Voices, co-founded in 2011 by the Foundation and Council, Young Mediterranean Voices is embedded in the European Neighbourhood Policy Review with the co-funding of the European Commission, World Bank Group and Government of Finland.