Council of Europe (CoE)
The Youth Department of the Council of Europe (CoE) is part of the Directorate General of Democracy (DGII). The Department elaborates guidelines, programmes and legal instruments for the development of coherent and effective youth policies at local, national and European levels. It also provides funding and educational support for international youth activities aiming to promote youth citizenship, youth mobility and the values of human rights, democracy and cultural pluralism. It seeks to bring together and disseminate expertise and knowledge about the life situations, aspirations and ways of expression of young Europeans.
The strategic priorities of the CoE youth sector are set every two years by the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ), which is the main co-decision-making body on youth issues.
The priorities for 2020-2021 are the following:
- Promoting young people’s access to rights and supporting education on human rights and democracy
- Facilitating young people’s autonomy and participation through the promotion of youth policies and youth work, as well as the support of youth civil society
- Engaging young people in peace-building and social cohesion, to combat discrimination and exclusion
In January of 2020, the Committee of Ministers of the CoE adopted the new Youth Sector Strategy 2030, which has four thematic priorities:
- Revitalising pluralistic democracy
- Access to rights
- Living together in peaceful and inclusive societies
- Reinforcing youth work
The Youth Board of Cyprus participates in the European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ), which is responsible for the implementation of the Council of Europe youth sector programme. At the same time, the CDEJ advises the Committee of Ministers on all matters within its competence. Its main objective is to encourage cooperation between the governments of the CoE Member States in developing youth policies.
The CDEJ acts as the governmental partner in the joint management structures of the youth sector. The non-governmental partner is the Advisory Council on Youth (CCJ) which consists of Non-governmental Youth Organisations, some of which are appointed by the European Youth Forum (YFJ) and some by the Youth Department upon an open invitation. CDEJ and CCJ come together under the framework of the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ) in order to establish the CoE youth sector’s priorities.
Documents of political decisions in the youth sector
In the context of the operation of the CoE, the Committee of Ministers makes various recommendations to the Member States, through the adoption of policy documents.
Recommendation CM/Rec(2017)4 on youth work is one of the recent recommendations of the Committee of Ministers to the Member States. Its aim is to encourage Member States to develop a policy that is relevant to the subject and invites the Member States to take a series of measures to provide the necessary support for the youth at a local, regional, national and European level.
European Youth Foundation (EYF)
Το European Youth Foundation (EYF) is a fund established in 1972 by the Council of Europe to provide financial and educational support for youth activities. Only youth NGOs from the Council of Europe Member States as well as the European Cultural Convention Signatories: Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Holy See, can apply to the Foundation.
EU–CoE youth partnership
The CoE maintains close relations with the EU and they have jointly developed a special cooperation in the field of youth (EU-CoE youth partnership), which focuses on the participation of young people, social inclusion and the promotion of youth work.
The aim of this partnership is to foster synergies between the priorities and programmes pursued by the two partner institutions in the youth field. It also contributes to their respective work on youth matters: for the EU – on implementing the aims of the EU Youth Strategy ‘Connect, Engage, Empower’ and for the Council of Europe: on implementing the 2020-2021 priorities of the youth sector, as well as the Council of Europe Youth Strategy 2030.
The European Knowledge Centre for Youth Policy (EKCYP)
The European Knowledge Centre for Youth Policy (EKCYP), in which the YBC participates as National Correspondent, has been established in the framework of the EU-CoE youth partnership with the aim of a better understanding and knowledge of youth policy issues.
Within the operation of the EKCYP, a computer database has been set up as a single point of access to reliable information on youth policies and the situation of young people in all European countries that are members of the Network. Specifically, on this platform one can find:
- Country sheets with information on the structure and development of national youth policies in countries that are members of the ECKYP.
- Reports and research results on key youth policy issues, such as youth work, volunteering and social inclusion for each country.
As the national correspondent, the YBC undertakes the collection of information concerning Cyprus to be published on the platform.
The EKCYP is an excellent source of knowledge for technocrats, researchers, youth workers and policy makers and aims to enhance the transfer of knowledge between the areas of research, policy and practice.