Signposts for the Future - final Declaration of the 3rd EYWC
Titled ‘Signposts for the Future’, the 3rd European Youth Work Convention (EYWC) presented a final Declaration that sets out guidelines and suggestions for the implementation of a strong European Youth Work Agenda (EYWA) in the Bonn Process.
It calls for joint activities for the Bonn Process, be it at local, regional, national or European level, and formulates recommendations for objectives, areas of work and concrete actions on 18 pages. The Declaration is directly addressed to all stakeholders of the entire community of practice of youth work throughout Europe to become active together in the Bonn Process and to take responsibility.
Building on the conclusions of the 3rd EYWC, the following priority areas for the Bonn Process under the heading of growing youth work throughout Europe were proposed:
- Develop and expand the youth work offer
To strengthen the provision of youth work in Europe, European policies and local policy-making play an important role in supporting the further development of a quality local youth work offer. Increased investment in its funding is needed;
- Quality development
Quality development in youth work calls for better outreach and information about existing support structures and mechanisms. Clearer structures for co-operation and co-creation within and between all levels as well as strengthening and connecting existing networks at all levels is needed;
- A common direction
For youth work to move in the same direction, providing spaces to explore, exchange and build on examples of good practice across different styles of practice is required. A co-ordinated approach to learning, sharing, supporting and building on youth work development and good practice at local, regional, national and European level is needed;
- Beyond the youth work community of practice
It is important to communicate the value of youth work and engage effectively with different sectors. Strategic and operational approaches to cross-sectoral and horizontal co-operation on youth (and youth work) at all levels is needed;
More investment is needed in strategic and co-ordinated efforts and resources to make youth work better understood, visible and credible as a self-standing work arena. Developing a common language, a set of common terms supporting a widespread generic definition, which at the same time leaves enough space to adjust and connect to local contexts and realities, helps create a common narrative;
- Innovation and emerging challenges
To be a safety net for all young people in times of uncertainty, more resilient youth work structures, grounded in evidence-informed innovation principles, encompassing long-term thinking, reflexivity and strategy-based youth work, are required;
- Policy frameworks
Youth work should be an integral part of youth policy, systematically incorporating the needs and measures regarding youth work into youth policies, both vertically and horizontally;
- A strategic framework for youth work development
Growing youth work throughout Europe would be best served by an even greater alignment of the European institutions’ vision for youth work within their respective youth strategies. This calls for a joint letter of commitment or memorandum of understanding, connecting the Bonn Process to wider pan-European education and learning initiatives, and partnerships in the context of networks and co-operation.