“We have been able to diagnose the flaws, issues and limitations of the National Youth Strategy in order to make an appeal to public services,” says Yasmine Boutayeb, a young member of the Prometheus Institute, who took part in the workshop organised by UNESCO in Rabat, Morocco, on 27 and 28 February 2015. The workshop is part of an initiative by the NET-MED Youth Project.
For two days, youth organisations developed methods of analysis and proposals for actions for the next two years. “We tackled the Strategy from three angles: financing and accountability governance and coordination, as well as territorialization”, explains Madiha Taouss from the association Jeunes pour Jeunes (Youth for youth).
The NET-MED Youth Project has been started by UNESCO in collaboration with the European Union. It targets 10 Southern Mediterranean countries and aims at strengthening the participation of youth organisations in the creation and revision of public policies. “Politics is about institutions, codes and laws. If youth want to participate, they have to strengthen their skills, otherwise they will be left out of the game. And this is where the importance of building capacities in reading and analysing public policies comes in”, emphasised Fethi Touzri, former Tunisian Secretary of State for Youth.
According to Rachid Bentaibi from the Moroccan Ministry for Youth and Sports, “NET-MED Youth has intervened at an important moment in the history of Morocco, characterised by major social changes; and it will expedite the participation of youth in national dialogue and consulation, and help rethink the cross-sectoral steering mechanisms of this strategy as well as public policy convergence”.
Financing, Transparency and Accountability
The youth organisations have set their sight on strengthening the principle of accountability for national bodies and understanding the financing mechanisms of the National Youth Strategy over the next two years. Professor Mohamed Sbihi from the University of Rabat-Agdal advised for a better participation in the work of the Parliament, the collection and analysis of information and of financial and budgetary data within the institutions concerned as well as reflecting on the diversification of financing. During the workshop he called for “a network between public budgets and interdisciplinary financing”.
For a Territorialisation of Youth Policy
The acceleration of the advanced regionalization in Morocco represents a major challenge for youth organisations, which have offered to work on the mechanisms of the inclusion of youth at a territorial level. Many amongst them have made use of their experience to set up spaces for local consultations and have provided solutions such as the revision of regulations, the legal foundation and the financing of local youth councils. The sharing of foreign experiences in this field represented an important crossover moment.
“To be able to take care of youths, we must be at a local level to report on the political mandate and also to implement actions that are better adapted to the youths of the targeted area. Regional or local bodies can help technically and financially, and can create counter-. The difficulty is in coordinating between the national level and the local level,” stated Julien Blanc, Advisor to the President of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region in France, who introduced a case study on the Youth Priority Plan and its break down in the PACA region.
Governance, Partnership and Representation
According to the young participants, monitoring and observation of the management measures for the strategy will allow them to “be in the field”. Zoubida Mseffer, the National Project Officer for the Project, declared that three stages are identified:
- Raising awareness among the youth and informing them about the content and provisions of the strategy through field work and by involving media and social networks;
- participating in specific bodies; and
- working on the legal framework for consultation measures between civil society and national bodies.
The young participants also emphasised the necessity of their concrete and extensive representation in local bodies, following the example of the Federal Youth Council of Germany, represented at the workshop by Iris Nadolny.
Actions over the next two years will focus, in particular, on the next draft law for youth and the launching of the Consultative Council of Youths and Associative Action. This will lead to the creation of a network of civil society organisations through a strategy of partnerships and communication with the media, based on the example of the communication measures employed by the Génération Précaire Collective from France represented at the workshop by Julien Bayou.
“Sharing experiences and case studies from Lebanon, Germany, France, Canada and Tunisia as well as creating a network of skills developed by youth organisations in the countries of the Arab region since 2011 undeniably represents one of the best results of NET-MED Youth,” emphasised Phinith Chanthalangsy from UNESCO. “We are faced with important work in which youth wants to be involved and wants to make suggestions to meet the challenges identified. Motivating political engagement and coordinating the multitude of stakeholders is at the heart of the joint action between UNESCO and the European Union”.