Youth Active Participation and Policies
I had the pleasure in representing Associação Juvenil Synergia in a KA2 project ( Erasmus Plus ) about youth policies in Europe and the opportunity to share knowledge between Europe and ASEAN countries.
For those who don’t know ASEAN is a community of countries present in Asia ( about 10 at the moment ) that is creating a similar concept to the European Union.
The countries that are in the European Union have special benefits between each other, with some exceptions, such as a single market between countries allowing exchange of goods and services and free movement of civilians. More then that there are also some other programs that allow the population to benefit certain experiences such as the Erasmus+ or DiscoverEU for youth.
In the European Union most of the projects from this type are financed via public sector which is the opposite from the ASEAN community where most of the funds come from the private sector.
This project is involved in a series of projects where the main focus is to pass knowledge on the success of the Erasmus Plus Program into the Asian NGOs involved in the process to create an try and create and aggrement between this entities. The result of this will be white papers with recommendations in order to influence the policy makers to make the best out of youth policies for this matter.
So what big concepts I learned during this seven days of experience:
The Asian NGO are a powerhouse in involving people and companies but most importantly involving youth.
During several talks and discussions it was mind-blowing to hear stories about how youth and NGO would make arrangements with private sector in order to fight a certain problem.
One example was an excess of tourists in a small island in the Philippines called Boracay which was the main source of the economy there. This was causing a lot of environmental problems in the island. The population fought against this and the president decided to close the island for 6 months in order to reorganize the island and apply some new legislation.
One of the new rules was the ban of single use plastic in the island. None of this was possible without the youth and the NGOs involved in there being so active.
This perspective is different from the European perspective mainly because of the amount of opportunities that exist in Europe compared to Asian countries are fewer.
The European Union structure is far more complicated then I thought
The number of institutions involved in the process of making new laws or recommendations is not just based on the European Parliament and the European Commission. There are also several organizations that are involved in the process of debating and providing feedback which are present in Brussels. It was also impressive to understand how can some organizations have such impact on lobbying the process of creating new policies.
The way of voting and the process from creating or improving in something that every European should know because of its complexity and the influence from external parties into the daily basis.
Finally the amount of ‘activities’ happening in the European Parliament makes it look like a city in movement.
The cultural differences are very well noticable.
In the free time I had the opportunity to talk and experience the way Asian people react very differently to what we believe is normality. A quick example was going to karaoke and singing in from an audience which in Asian countries is not common or none existent. It was also a pleasure to see how open minded some people were during the time there.
So where this leads?
With the upcoming European elections coming it is important to establish a relationship of trust between Europeans and its institutions specially between youth population and involving them into this mechanisms just like the Asian do between communities and companies.