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“Let’s mobilise the new EU youth programmes.” National Agencies get active in the Bonn Process

The year 2021 is a very exciting one for youth work in Europe. The start of two novelties offers many new opportunities for youth work: on the one hand, the new generation of both EU youth programmes, Erasmus+ Youth and European Solidarity Corps, is launched this spring. On the other hand, the Bonn Process, which was kicked off at the 3rd European Youth Work Convention last December, has now started into its first year. The Bonn Process is the joint effort to put the European Youth Work Agenda, the newly created strategic framework for youth work development, into action. Like many other stakeholders, the network of National Agencies (NAs) of the EU youth programmes and SALTO Resource Centres (SALTO RCs) engages in the Bonn Process. Several NAs and SALTO RCs have partnered up and started a ‘Strategic National Agency Co-operation Project’ (SNAC), titled ‘Strengthening youth work in Europe by supporting the implementation of the European Youth Work Agenda!’

The network of NAs and SALTO RCs plays a crucial role in making the Bonn Process happen. NAs and SALTO RCs are intermediate bodies between the different stakeholders of the youth work community of practice, the European and Member States level, and between youth work policy and practice. Elke Führer, advisor on the European Youth Work Agenda and co-ordinator of the SNAC at the German NA JUGEND für Europa, says, “As an NA network we have unique opportunities to mobilise our means and resources, especially the EU youth programmes.” With the new SNAC, 15 partners from 12 countries follow a plan for the next three years, with which they want to support the Bonn Process. “There are already so many existing initiatives, projects, and organisations, which are working hard on developing youth work further in different contexts. And there are so many good ideas to continue and expand the work. We want to help make the funding needed for this valuable work available. Let’s mobilise the new EU youth programmes.”

The aim of the project is on the one hand to open up opportunities and on the other hand to engage for a better recognition of what is going on in the NA network and the EU youth programmes concerning youth work. The partners want to foster connections between different activities related to the development of youth work in the NA network and increase visibility of the work done.

The co-operation pursues six objectives:

1. Aim: Supporting the active involvement of the entire NA network in the Bonn Process
A precondition for a strong role of the EU youth programmes in the Bonn Process is to involve the entire network of NAs and SALTO RCs to unfold its potential as an intermediate body between the European and Member States level and between youth work policy, research, and practice. The whole network should be informed, committed and engaged.

2. Aim: Promoting and mobilising the EU youth programmes as instruments for strengthening and developing youth work in the Bonn Process
National Agencies plan to offer support measures to the community of practice for using the programmes in the Bonn Process. Among other activities, they want to develop national funding strategies to link the implementation of the programmes with the priority areas of the Bonn Process and produce information for applicants, such as texts, interviews, videos or podcasts on how to use the programmes for the Bonn Process.

3. Aim: Supporting NAs to contribute to the implementation of the Bonn Process in their national context
Partner NAs involved in the SNAC should be active contributors to the national process in their countries. They can build a bridge between their national working group or the national process and the process at European level. They can relay inspiration and developments from the European level to their national companions and vice versa. The partners are willing to support these efforts in the Bonn Process with materials, papers, and the organisation of meetings for exchanging experiences, good practices and success factors in their countries.

4. Aim: Strengthening connections and synergies among youth work related activities of the NA network through establishing a co-ordinated approach among the SNACs dealing with youth work development
The partners want to better interlink the activities related to youth work, which have grown in the last decade (such as the European Academy on Youth Work (www.eayw.net), which aims to support innovation in youth work and youth work policy and to promote its quality, or Europe Goes Local (https://www.europegoeslocal.eu/), which aims to support youth work at municipal level), by joint information and communications measures. This should ensure synergies and avoid duplication of work. The SNAC intends to serve as a platform for joint planning, networking and communications, and support a common visibility of youth work development within the NA network and the EU youth programmes.

5. Aim: Implementing joint activities on specific topics of the Bonn Process
The Bonn Process has eight different priority areas, within which there are topics that are of particular relevance to NAs and SALTO RCs. In these areas, the NAs and SALTO RCs decide to take on special activities in order to give impulses and achieve impact, such as agreeing on thematic priorities for the implementation of the Bonn Process with means of the EU youth programmes as well as developing and carrying out peer-learning activities, training courses, or conferences.

6. Aim: Supporting the implementation of the EYWA in the neighbouring partner countries with the means and resources of the EU youth programmes
The Europe-wide Bonn Process does not only refer to the remit of the EU, but also to the geographical scope of the Council of Europe. Therefore, the SNAC will promote and mobilise the Bonn Process in the neighbouring partner countries of the EU, Eastern Europe and Caucasus and South-East Europe.

The partners of this new SNAC are looking forward to putting these six aims into practice and hope to generate a lot of power for the Bonn Process with the help of the EU youth programmes. One can be curious about the opportunities and activities following this exciting spring.