- Key Points - International Youth Policy of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth

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1 - Key Points - International Youth Policy of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth Promoting Exchange Utilising Experience Shaping Partnerships September 2009

2 - 1 - International Youth Policy at a New Departure International and European youth policy is an important component of national youth policy as well as of foreign cultural and educational policy. It is part of the process of European unification. Not only does it promote cooperation and understanding with other countries, it also furthers the participatory development of national policies for young people. In addition, it is an important element of non-formal learning. International youth policy encompasses bilateral and multilateral cooperation with other countries in Europe and around the world, as well as youth policy cooperation across the EU. In past years it has always taken current developments into account. By promoting international youth work in the form of youth exchanges, opportunities for civic involvement and programmes for specialists, and by providing relevant information and the necessary infrastructure, the Federal Government makes it possible for young people and youth work professionals to gain international experience and intercultural skills, appreciate diversity, and find work opportunities abroad. In this paper the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth has updated the joint Guidelines for International Youth Policy and Youth Work that were adopted in 2001 by the federal and Länder governments with the aim of expanding its international partnerships in the field of child and youth services. The Ministry aims to introduce greater overall coherence in international youth cooperation and ensure that international insights and learnings are taken into account when developing national youth policies. Several of the Ministry s partners in the field of youth policy cooperation within the EU and with the Council of Europe are also involved in bilateral cooperation, so developments in the EU and in the Council of Europe context will also impact on these partnerships. Therefore, the goal is to improve coordination also in these areas.

3 - 2 - Against this background it is our aim to shift our focus to the living situations of young people, and give them access to the wide variety of opportunities offered by international cooperation, ensure that international experiences and ideas are taken into greater account when developing national youth policies, sharpen the profile of international youth work as an opportunity for non-formal learning, introduce an effective reciprocal learning process between international partners, establish greater creative leeway for future cooperation, focus the Ministry s direct involvement on certain key countries and key topics, better coordinate activities with the EU, the Council of Europe and other international partners, improve cooperation between the federal, Länder and municipal governments and non-governmental organisations, strengthen international youth work organisations, and facilitate access to international youth work measures. In a changed world, we strive to develop effective structures for promoting social integration and participation at the national and cooperation at the international level. We aim to continue promoting measures that have proven effective while launching new ventures with our partners, in order to strengthen the link between successful international activities and national youth policy and make the value of international cooperation more visible. Reshaping International Youth Policy Setting Priorities Enhancing Partnerships The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth will give its own youth policy activities a greater thematic focus and to this end, engage in new forms of cooperation with partner countries under existing programmes. The Ministry s direct bilateral cooperation in administrative bodies and

4 - 3 - special committees will focus mainly on key countries and, in line with the structure of youth policy cooperation in the EU, on key themes. Emphasis will be given above all to France, Poland, Czech Republic, Israel, and Russia. The bilateral youth offices and coordination centres already established for this purpose will be further strengthened by formulating regularly updated objectives and guidelines and furthering a sustainable implementation strategy. Strengthening Organisations Promoting Exchanges in a Simple Manner In keeping with the principle of subsidiarity, youth exchanges and activities will continue to be regularly organised by local organisations, which will be responsible for selecting the relevant partners and themes. To strengthen this approach, existing promotion instruments will be made more flexible. New international partnerships will be supported by the Ministry during the initial phase; following that phase, responsibility for managing activities will, as is currently the case, pass to the international youth work organisations - an approach that strengthens their role. The Länder and youth work organisations will participate in shaping international youth policies and youth work through their membership in various governing bodies, such as a programme-specific working group and the European Youth Policy task force, and by attending regular meetings between representatives of the Federal and Länder governments and youth organisation conferences. The concept also involves a considerable simplification of the international youth work promotion system in order to enhance and strengthen exchanges and open them up to new target groups (e.g. young people with an immigration background) by lowering age limits and establishing an ESF-supported mobility programme, amongst other measures. Open to the World: Building Networks Utilising Experience The Ministry further intends to set up a network of partner countries. Existing forms of cooperation within institutionalised specialist committees outside of the

5 - 4 - core countries will be transferred into this new network in consultation with our partner countries. The programmes for youth work professionals, which were previously agreed upon in the bilateral special committees and coordinated by IJAB, International Youth Service of the Federal Republic of Germany, will be replaced as needed by new forms of exchanging information and experience, taking into account the circumstances in each of the partner countries. Within this network the Ministry aims to coordinate and organise selected central projects in political and thematic priority areas together with interested partner countries, which will ideally involve stronger cooperation with bilateral youth offices and coordination centres. Possible thematic priority areas include the integration of young people with an immigration background; civil society, i.e. voluntary civic activities; successful and sustainable integration into society and working life; participation; media literacy/competence; and health. The results of the June 2008 conference entitled Global Youth in 2020: Challenges and potentials of international youth work are another important source of inspiration for future topics. Bringing Together What Belongs Together Coordinating Activities Greater coherence in international youth cooperation, i.e. the improved coordination of the many youth activities in Europe and beyond, can only be achieved if there is a network that brings together European and international issues and concerns. Insights and experience gained from central projects must become a firm part of the national youth policy debate and should also influence joint future agreements at the EU level, just as the new EU youth strategy will influence the implementation of the parameters described here. The capacity of youth-specific approaches in the field of non-formal learning, participation, voluntary civic involvement and mobility to promote this coherence must be examined in greater detail, strengthened, and made more visible.

6 - 5 - Germany is capable of contributing a great deal to the process of learning from each other in the field of youth policy while also benefiting from the practical knowledge of others. This requires improved national cooperation between the federal, Länder, and municipal governments and NGOs. Communicating Successes Taking on New Challenges In future the importance of international youth work and its value for society on the whole must be communicated more effectively by means of a convincing, long-term PR strategy. Media experts will develop PR measures for selected projects from their inception; a PR campaign highlighting the importance of the effects of international youth work will be launched; and the PR activities of the bilateral youth offices, coordination centres, IJAB, and Youth for Europe, the German agency of the EU s Youth in Action programme, will be stepped up and wherever possible, better coordinated. Securing Structures Creating Flexibility IJAB is an important partner in implementing international tasks and activities and will remain a preferred partner for organising broad-based cooperation, ensuring continuity and documenting long-term results. In addition, its close cooperation with Youth for Europe creates important synergies in international youth work and enhances its character as a specialist agency. The exchange of information between international youth work organisations and IJAB must be strengthened and structured. The organisations experiences are to be documented and used to generate high-profile thematic projects (e.g. JiVE - Youth Work International Experiencing Diversity). IJAB will document any constraints and obstacles faced by international exchanges and identify solutions in cooperation with the Ministry and the partner countries. To this end a cooperation agreement will be concluded with IJAB. Objectives and thematic priority areas will be discussed and identified in order to clearly promote efficiency and visibility, also where cooperation with the partners of IJAB is concerned. Our key points for the ongoing development of international youth policy are developed in coordination with the youth work organisations and partners in the context of mutually trustful partnerships.

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