With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals at the end of 2015, countries agreed a vision and a plan for ensuring a sustainable future for our planet and its young people. The Paris Agreement on climate change was also agreed. The objective of a peaceful, fair and sustainable society seemed ever closer. However, around a year later, not nearly enough countries have ratified the Paris agreement and Europe seems to consider sustainable development as a strategy for others to implement.
Meanwhile, when it comes to young people in Europe their situation remains largely unchanged.
Youth unemployment is still stubbornly high at almost 20%, with some countries suffering much higher rates.
This is despite the various positive words spoken by our leaders. Angela Merkel, for example, has said that youth unemployment is a top priority. President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker in his State of the Union address to the European Parliament this year was clear in his desire to improve things, ai???we need to invest in our young people. I cannot and will not accept that Europe is and remains the continent of youth unemploymentai???, he said. And yet, that very same day, came the announcement that the Youth Guarantee, a scheme to ensure that every young person is not out of education, training or a job for more than four months, would see its yearly funding effectively cut by three-quarters (from ai??i??6 billion over 2014-16 to ai??i??2 billion for the next four years). Some priority!
Other perhaps unseen and unexpected issues have arisen over the course of the year, seeming to bring Europe to crisis point. Firstly, the increasing numbers of migrants coming to our shores seeking refuge from hardship and war at home. Europeai??i??s so far lacklustre response at the political level and in-fighting between EU member states, has done little to welcome and integrate these people who are desperately in need. It is, however, often young volunteers and youth organisations that have been at the core of the humanitarian response and the welcome given to refugees.
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More terrorist attacks in Europe and around the world, lead to suspicion and young people being further stigmatised and alienated.
A decision from UK voters to leave the EU has led to further soul-searching across the Union. And thereai??i??s a big risk that young peopleai??i??s voice and rights are not heard in the negotiations about the UKai??i??s leaving the EU. With young peopleai??i??s future at stake ai??i?? both British and those Europeans living there ai??i?? they should be at the heart of decision-making!
But in this seemingly bleak picture, there have been some glimmers of hope for young people. We have seen significant steps, especially at the lofty level of the United Nations. In the summer, the Human Rights Council of the UN adopted a resolution on youth and human rights, which was followed by an unprecedented panel debate featuring civil society and youth organisations, including the European
Youth Forum. Youth was in the spotlight in another area of the United Nations too this year, with the Security Council agreeing a resolution on Youth, Peace and Security. When it comes to youth rights they were also on the agenda at the Council of Europe, which adopted a Recommendation on Young Peopleai??i??s Access to Rights.
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What we sorely lack is concrete action, following these nice speeches and resolutions!
The Youth Forum continued to raise these issues throughout 2016, a milestone year for us, making 20 years since the founding of the European Youth Forum in 1996. We took the opportunity of the European Youth Event, to which we brought our YO!Fest, to raise young peopleai??i??s voice to decision makers. And 2017 for the Youth Forum will be no different! EU leaders promise a hopeful future and we will shout even more loudly to enable young people to be part of the decision making about their future and let them be a part of the solution. generic tadalafil, generic dapoxetine.