Final declaration of the 3rd European Youth Work Convention: Signposts for the Future
Under the title ‘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. The Convention is the largest online event ever held in the field of youth work in Europe.
In the context of Germany's overlapping EU Presidency and the German Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, around 1,000 participants of the youth work community of practice from 46 European countries gathered on a digital platform for the 3rd EYWC from 7 to 10 December 2020. Youth work stakeholders from local, regional, national and European levels were represented.
Recently, the Council of EU Youth Ministers adopted a resolution on the shaping of a European Youth Work Agenda, describing a framework for setting the Agenda and promoting the strengthening and development of youth work across Europe.
The 3rd Convention and its final declaration play a crucial role in establishing the implementation process of the European Youth Work Agenda, the so-called Bonn Process. In its final declaration, the 3rd Convention calls for joint measures for this Bonn Process, which is now beginning, be it at local, regional, national or European level, and formulates recommendations for goals, areas of work and concrete actions on 17 pages. The declaration is directly addressed to all stakeholders in the entire community of practice of youth work throughout Europe to become active together in the Bonn Process and to take responsibility. The Convention calls on the European Commission and the Council of Europe, as integral parts of the community, to strengthen their co-operation and take an active role in realising the European Youth Work Agenda in the Bonn Process within the framework of the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027 and the Council of Europe Youth Sector Strategy 2030.
The European Youth Work Agenda and the Bonn Process provide a framework to strengthen youth work as a distinctive arena of policy and practice in Europe. The 3rd EYWC calls for a co-ordinated approach of the whole community of practice within the Bonn Process to implement the Agenda. Building on the conclusions of the 3rd EYWC, the following priority elements for the implementation of the Bonn Process were proposed:
- Strengthening youth work policy - by embedding youth work as an essential component of youth policy at all levels, from local to European.
- Capacity building in youth work - through a coherent youth work education and training strategy and by bringing together non-formal and formal education pathways for youth workers.
- Developing evidence-based policy practice for and through youth work - through better knowledge gathering and more research.
- Strengthen partnerships - through transversal and cross-sectoral policy and practice at all levels of governance and implementation.
- Providing and securing youth work provision - through better anchoring, more resources and wider support, including from the European institutions.
- Broaden and deepen awareness and recognition of youth work within and beyond the community of practice through transparent information, communication and active advocacy.
- Strengthening engagement and career opportunities in the community of practice - by addressing working and employment conditions.