Alpine Youth Meeting #5 Report

In the framework of youth.shaping.EUSALP, online meetings are organized once a month, where an EUSALP Action Group presents its work and where a topic related to EUSALP youth activities is discussed. The aim of these meetings is to allow young people interested in the youth.shaping.EUSALP activities to get informed, give their point of view on what is being proposed and further develop the tools and activities provided by youth.shaping.EUSALP.

The 5th Alpine Youth Meeting took place on 25th March 2021 and brought together about 20 young people from the 7 Alpine countries. This time the focus was on the EUSALP Youth Council, the next big project to be realised in the framework of youth.shaping.EUSALP. At this meeting representatives of youth.shaping.EUSALP presented the history of the project and answered questions about the creation of the EUSALP Youth Council.

Program

The aims of this meeting was therefore to present the youth.shaping.EUSALP activities and to present the EUSALP Youth Council to the candidates. A second part of the meeting permits to the group to get to know each other, thanks to a little game.

Ice breaker

In order to break the ice and jump into this meeting full of energy, participants were questioned about very important matters. It seems like many of us are missing the summer activities in the Alps! The question we all ask ourselves: Winter is coming (back) or gone for good?

youth.shaping.EUSALP

Afterwards, the youth.shaping.EUSALP team gave a short overview of the youth.shaping.EUSALP project. The project youth.shaping.EUSALP allows the participation of young people in the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP). Detailed information is available on the project page of this website. Special attention was given to the connection between the different project activities as well as the direct and inclusive involvement of young people.

The slides shown at the meeting to introduce youth.shaping.EUSALP can be seen below:

EUSALP Youth Council

The creation of a Youth Council has generated a lot of enthusiasm among the young people living in the Alps and the EUSALP authorities. You can find more detailed information on the Youth Council website.

Below you can see the slides that were shown at the meeting to introduce the Youth Council:

Questions about the EUSALP Youth Council

After the presentation, participants were invited to ask questions. We used mentimeter to facilitate the participation of the young people present in the meeting. Here are the questions that were asked and the answers we can provide at this time:

The Youth Council basically decides for itself how it organises and how often it meets. At the beginning of the functional period, the Youth Council gives itself rules of procedure. We currently envisage about three face-to-face meetings of the Youth Council per year. Depending on the interests of the young people and the agenda of the EUSALP Presidency, other meetings or events may be added. A possible calendar could include a first team-building meeting in summer/early autumn, a second meeting at the EUSALP Annual Forum in late November/early December, and another meeting a few months later to implement/advance the projects. The EUSALP states and regions will pay the travel expenses for the Youth Council members. In addition, virtual meetings or virtual exchanges to work on specific projects are possible, as are meetings of project groups on an ad hoc basis.

The time of receipt of applications or the best qualification will not be used for the selection. We carry out a random selection in order to represent the diversity of youth in the Alpine region. The selection criteria are indicated on the page “Application process” under Art. 4:

  1. Selection process

The applicants will first have to pass the eligibility criteria check as mentioned under point 2. This will be checked by the youth.shaping.EUSALP team.

When all eligibility criteria are fulfilled, the members of the Youth Council are selected at random.

In order to ensure diversity of members, attention is paid to a balance of young people from the seven EUSALP states, of different genders, with different educational or professional backgrounds and with or without experience in youth organizations or projects. The EUSALP Youth Council will include four members from each of the seven EUSALP member states.

If you have followed the application process and meet the participation criteria, then there is nothing more to do to increase your chances of being selected. We encourage you to participate in the various activities offered through youth.shaping.eusalp to stay active and bring your commitment to the project. Finally, you can apply again next year if you meet the age and location requirements.

Again, this will be the first time that EUSALP will have a Youth Council. We do not have any examples of initiatives carried out by this Council that are now integrated into the functioning of EUSALP. Nevertheless, the project youth.shaping.EUSALP is the proof that EUSALP is willing and able to implement the proposals made by young people. Indeed, the creation of the website, the summer activities and the Youth Council itself are the result of a participatory process with young people from all over the Alpine region.

The Youth Council will be directly involved in the institutions of the EUSALP. Two representatives of the Youth Council, elected or appointed by the Youth Council itself, are allowed to participate directly in the meetings of the Executive Board and the political General Assembly – and thus in the decision-making bodies of the EUSALP. They sit at the table and can contribute their ideas directly. In addition to this direct representation in the EUSALP bodies, the Youth Council is consulted on various strategic points for the Alpine region and can participate in the elaboration of the Presidency Programme and in the numerous related events. The Youth Council will be able to formulate views, ideas and recommendations to politicians and the EUSALP Action Groups.

There is no mandatory time you put into the Youth Council – it’s up to you how you use it! We would very much appreciate it if you would attend the approx. 3 face-to-face meetings as well as regular online meetings. Representatives of the Youth Council will also attend the meetings of the Executive Board (meets 3-4 times a year) and the General Assembly (meets once a year). Otherwise, the time commitment is an individual decision, probably depending on the interest in the mission of the EUSALP Youth Council as well as the young people’s available time for work, study and personal activities.

It is important to remember that this is currently the first EUSALP Youth Council to be created. Therefore, at the moment we cannot draw any conclusions on how the proposals of this body will be integrated into the bodies of EUSALP. What we can say now is that we will support you as much as possible in bringing your points of view, solutions and projects. We see a real interest on the part of the Executive Board members to create all the conditions so that the contributions of the Youth Council are really taken into account. The Youth Council sits at the table at all meetings and must be consulted on important decisions. With this and the support of a mentoring group that will accompany you every step of the way – consisting of Tyrol, the Presidency, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the European Commission – it is guaranteed that you will be heard and taken seriously. Of course, we cannot guarantee that your proposals will be implemented – like all members of the EUSALP bodies, you will have to convince the other members. But this will be an important democratic experience for you, where you can learn important skills for your future.

The objectives, projects and needs of the Youth Council will be defined at a first meeting. For the moment, a budget is foreseen for travelling and organising these meetings and events, but the Youth Council will not have a dedicated budget for implementing projects. This is in principle how the EUSALP is meant to work, with the implementation of projects within the Action Groups. For this reason, we will find ways for the Youth Council to actively contribute to the Action Groups. The EUSALP brings partners together and thus enables and facilitates the implementation of cross-border projects, also for the Youth Council.

This is the first EUSALP Youth Council and therefore a unique opportunity to shape a brand new forum for young people. The question is: What are you waiting for to apply for the first EUSALP Youth Council?

Next steps

The next Alpine Youth Meeting will take place on April 22nd between 6pm and 7:30pm. We will take advantage of the fact that this date corresponds to the World Earth Day to talk about natural resources and their preservation in the Alps. More details about this event will be posted on the website and our social networks. We count on your presence and do not hesitate to invite your friends.

The application period for the Youth Council runs until May 16th. We are available to answer your questions, don’t hesitate!

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to change the original format of the summer camp for a second year. All information about the evolution of this activity will be published on our website and on our social networks.

Thanks again to all the young and “less young” participants who are involved in the youth.shaping.EUSALP project. The positive atmosphere and the quality of these moments are only possible thanks to you.