Deadline: 17 January 2017
Open to: participants between the ages of 16 and 30 years old, from Council of Europe member States
Venue: 26-30 March ; 16-20 October 2017 in Strasbourg, France
The Congress is a pan-European political assembly, its 648 members hold elective office (they may be regional or municipal councillors, mayors or presidents of regional authorities) and represent over 200,000 authorities in 47 European States. Its role is to promote local and regional democracy, improve local and regional governance and strengthen authorities’ self-government. It meets in session twice a year.
Like other political assemblies, such as national parliaments or local/regional councils, the sessions are formal gatherings where the Congress members examine reports, hold thematic debates and adopt recommendations.
The youth delegates, one from each member State, will sit in the hemicycle, alongside the Congress members for the whole of the session. A one-day preparatory session, run according to non-formal education principles and a welcome evening will be organised prior to each session. Youth delegates must commit to taking part in the whole of the two 2017 sessions: from 26 March and 16 October (19.00) to the debriefing sessions on 30 March and 20 October (17.00). An optional farewell evening will be organised on 30 March and 20 October.
Involvement between the sessions – developing and implementing projects
Youth delegates will not simply participate in the two sessions; between March and October youth delegates will remain involved in the work of the Congress. They will be required to develop a local youth project related to the Congress’ theme for 2017: integration of migrants or the issue of intercultural dialogue (see the Congress’ toolkit [link]). For this, they will have the support of the trainers in the form of mentoring sessions to develop and assess their ideas.
Aims and objectives
By inviting a number of young people to take an active part in its 32nd and 33rd sessions the Congress aims to create a space for dialogue between the selected youth delegates and local and regional elected representatives and to enable young people to express their views on the issues being debated.
The specific objectives are to:
– allow a number of young people, from different walks of life, to take an active part in the 32nd and 33rd sessions and in the meetings of the Congress’ three committees;
– raise the youth delegates’ awareness of the Council of Europe’s and Congress’ aims and work, in particular their policies on youth and participation, notably the co-management system;
– examine with the youth delegates the state of young people’s participation at local and regional levels in European society and identify opportunities and obstacles to its effective implementation;
– give the youth delegates space to prepare a contribution to a number of Congress debates on thematic issues to ensure an exchange of views between them and Congress members;
– motivate the youth delegates to multiply the information and experience acquired during the sessions on their return home in particular through the development and implementation of their own projects at local and regional level;
– through formal and informal exchanges, promote dialogue and co-operation between the elected representatives and the youth delegates in a spirit of mutual understanding and respect and encourage the exchange of good practices as well as the promotion of existing models of youth-led structures;
– illustrate to the Congress the importance of officially including young elected representatives in member States’ national delegations, both as full and substitute members.
The youth delegates, one per national delegation, should meet the following criteria:
– be open, committed and motivated to develop and strengthen dialogue between young people and elected representatives at local/regional level;
– be between 16 and 30 years old;
– have been resident in one of the Council of Europe member States for a minimum of five years and live in the country which they will represent for the duration of their participation(1);
– be a member of a local/regional youth council or parliament, or local/regional council or assembly or executive, or a representative of a youth NGO, or a youth-led structure, or involved in youth work, or a local or regional elected representative;
– be available and motivated to engage in the whole of the activity including the preparation of grass-roots projects;
– have an interest in actively participating in policy making at local and/or regional levels;
– be able to multiply the information obtained during the session on their return home;
– speak English fluently (NB: during the sittings they may also speak in one of the official or working languages for which interpretation is provided (English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Turkish)).
The youth delegates’ travel and subsistence expenses will be covered by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities according to the Council of Europe’s rules.
Accommodation will be provided and paid for by the organisers, in single-occupancy or shared rooms according to availability. The organisers cannot cover the cost of accommodation elsewhere.
Those wishing to apply to take part in the 32nd and 33rd Congress sessions must do so by means of the online application form. Participation in only one session is not possible.
Applicants must also upload a short video, for example via YouTube, of no more than 30 seconds, to support their application.
The deadline for submitting applications is 17 January 2017.
The youth delegates will be selected by a selection panel which includes the Congress’ Spokesperson on Youth, the youth trainers and two members of the Council of Europe’s Advisory Council on Youth. The panel will ensure the selected applicants represent a balanced group with regard to gender, cultural background and experience.
Applicants will be informed of the results of the selection procedure by 31 January 2017.
NB: by accepting an invitation to the sessions and confirming the travel tickets offered by the Congress Secretariat, the youth delegates commit themselves to being present according to the modalities described herein. Any youth delegate cancelling their participation must reimburse the Council of Europe the costs incurred unless a valid reason is provided, for example illness certified by a doctor’s note.
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