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European conference

European Conference on Local Youth Work and Democracy

The European Conference on Local Youth Work and Democracy will bring together more than 300 participants. Building on the synergies deriving from the Strategic National Agencies Cooperation projects “Europe Goes Local” and “Democracy Reloading”, this event will focus on enhancing the quality of youth work and the participation of young people at the local and municipal levels.

What is this event about?

The European conference will have four keynotes, 30 workshops and 15 field visits in Brussels which will:

  • inspire the participants with opportunities to learn about the different contexts across Europe in which local youth work takes place,
  • showcase good practices in local youth work and youth participation,
  • imagine how different stakeholders can provide quality youth work and meaningful participation.

We will do this by:

  1. taking stock of what has been achieved in local youth work and youth participation,
  2. identifying links between quality local youth work, meaningful youth participation and the provision of public space,
  3. exploring youth work as a continuum, involving and addressing young people from an early age with a focus on the right to play,
  4. discussing the role, tasks and needs of local and regional authorities in the provision of quality youth work and youth participation, paying special attention to the inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities.

Why is it important?

The bulk of youth work primarily occurs at the local level, with municipalities and other local decision-makers playing a crucial role in providing, developing and supporting youth work and participation. The second European Youth Work Convention in Brussels (2015) acknowledged the importance of a Charter on Local Youth Work as an essential tool to support youth work locally. The third European Youth Work Convention in Bonn (2020) further emphasised the vital role of local youth work. The subsequent “Bonn Process" aimed to enhance efforts at both European and national levels to develop and support youth work.

Building on these initiatives, the conference seeks to advance youth work development. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union underscores the goal of involving young people in democratic life. Participation has consistently been a focal point in EU Youth Policy, including the current EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027 and the ongoing EU Youth Programmes such as Erasmus+ Youth and European Solidarity Corps. The event specifically highlights and addresses the democratic participation of young people.

Which outcomes are expected?

Firstly, the conference outcomes contribute to the Council Resolution on “Youth Work Policy in a New Europe", put forth by the Belgian EU presidency. This resolution is scheduled for discussion and potential acceptance by the Council of Ministers in May 2024.

Additionally, the conference serves as a crucial link between the third European Youth Work Convention (Bonn, 2020) and the upcoming fourth Convention in Malta in 2025. It plays a pivotal role in shaping the agenda for the fourth Convention and facilitating its discussions.

Lastly, the conference acts as a valuable source of inspiration and knowledge for the ongoing development of the Strategic National Agency cooperation projects, specifically “Europe Goes Local” and “Democracy Reloading”. These projects are expected to evolve in the coming years, benefiting from the insights gained at the conference.

Daily schedule

What to expect at the upcoming event?