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Council of Europe 2017 Congress of Local and Regional Authorities – Call for Youth Delegates.

Application Deadline: 10 January 2017.

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe is inviting one young person per member State to come to Strasbourg to take an active part in its 32nd and 33rd sessions and develop their own grass-roots project back home as part of the Congress’ initiative “Rejuvenating politics”.
The Council of Europe wants to encourage more young people to get actively involved in strengthening civil society in Europe and to defend the values of human rights, cultural diversity and social cohesion. It also wants to promote and develop youth policies, putting special emphasis on the participation of young people.

As part of their participation in 2016 youth delegates were invited for the first time to develop their own projects at local and regional level. This aspect of their participation will be further developed in 2017.

The Congress is a pan-European political assembly, its 648 members hold elective office (they may be regional or municipal councillors, mayors or presidents of regional authorities) and represent over 200,000 authorities in 47 European States.  Its role is to promote local and regional democracy, improve local and regional governance and strengthen authorities’ self-government. It meets in session twice a year.

Like other political assemblies, such as national parliaments or local/regional councils, the sessions are formal gatherings where the Congress members examine reports, hold thematic debates and adopt recommendations.

The youth delegates, one from each member State, will sit in the hemicycle, alongside the Congress members for the whole of the session.  A one-day preparatory session, run according to non-formal education principles and a welcome evening will be organised prior to each session.  Youth delegates must commit to taking part in the whole of the two 2017 sessions: from 26 March and 16 October (19.00) to the debriefing sessions on 30 March and 20 October (17.00). An optional farewell evening will be organised on 30 March and 20 October.

Aims and objectives

By inviting a number of young people to take an active part in its 32nd and 33rd sessions the Congress aims to create a space for dialogue between the selected youth delegates and local and regional elected representatives and to enable young people to express their views on the issues being debated.

The specific objectives are to:

–      allow a number of young people, from different walks of life, to take an active part in the 32nd and 33rd sessions and in the meetings of the Congress’ three committees;
–      raise the youth delegates’ awareness of the Council of Europe’s and Congress’ aims and work, in particular their policies on youth and participation, notably the co-management system;
–      examine with the youth delegates the state of young people’s participation at local and regional levels in European society and identify opportunities and obstacles to its effective implementation;
–      give the youth delegates space to prepare a contribution to a number of Congress debates on thematic issues to ensure an exchange of views between them and Congress members;
–      motivate the youth delegates to multiply the information and experience acquired during the sessions on their return home in particular through the development and implementation of their own projects at local and regional level;
–      through formal and informal exchanges, promote dialogue and co-operation between the elected representatives and the youth delegates in a spirit of mutual understanding and respect and encourage the exchange of good practices as well as the promotion of existing models of youth-led structures;
–      illustrate to the Congress the importance of officially including young elected representatives in member States’ national delegations, both as full and substitute members.

Profile of participants
The youth delegates, one per national delegation, should meet the following criteria:

–      be open, committed and motivated to develop and strengthen dialogue between young people and elected representatives at local/regional level;
–      be between 16 and 30 years old;
–      have been resident in one of the Council of Europe member States for a minimum of five years and live in the country which they will represent for the duration of their participation;
–      be a member of a local/regional youth council or parliament, or local/regional council or assembly or executive, or a representative of a youth NGO, or a youth-led structure, or involved in youth work, or a local or regional elected representative;
–      be available and motivated to engage in the whole of the activity including the preparation of grass-roots projects;
–      have an interest in actively participating in policy making at local and/or regional levels;
–      be able to multiply the information obtained during the session on their return home;
–      speak English fluently (NB: during the sittings they may also speak in one of the official or working languages for which interpretation is provided (English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Turkish)).

Application procedure and selection of participants

Those wishing to apply to take part in the 32nd and 33rd Congress sessions must do so by means of the online application form. Participation in only one session is not possible.

Applicants must also upload a short video, for example via YouTube, of no more than 30 seconds, to support their application.

The deadline for submitting applications is 10 January 2017.

The youth delegates will be selected by a selection panel which includes the Congress’ Spokesperson on Youth, the youth trainers and two members of the Council of Europe’s Advisory Council on Youth. The panel will ensure the selected applicants represent a balanced group with regard to gender, cultural background and experience.

Applicants will be informed of the results of the selection procedure by 31 January 2017.

For further information, please contact:

Dolores Ríos Turón
Head of the Table Office
Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
E-mail: congress.youth@coe.int

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Council of Europe 2017 Congress of Local and Regional Authorities 

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