Have you heard about Structured Dialogue, but don't know what it is? The National Youth Council of Ireland breaks it down for us.
A space for young people and decision makers to discuss and feed into youth policy at national and European level together.
Structured Dialogue is an instrument to ensure that the opinion of young people is taken into account in defining youth-related policies of the European Union. To achieve this, the structured dialogue brings together young people, youth organisations, youth representatives and policy-makers across the EU to jointly discuss issues affecting young people and feed into youth policy at national and European level.
Young People are consulted on issues affecting them.
The aim of Structured Dialogue is to ensure that policy that affects young people meets the needs and expectations of young people across Europe. The Structured Dialogue process is also a space to examine the priorities and implementation of a co-ordinated youth policy across Europe
Structured Dialogue is divided into 18 month cycles, involving 3 Presidency Countries, holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for 6 months each. Each cycle of structured dialogue focuses on an overall thematic priority agreed by the Youth Council of Ministers. Each of the three phases of a structured dialogue cycle consists of consultations with young people on a specific focus area chosen by the Presidency country and corresponding to the overall theme of the cycle.
The guiding questions inform the national consultations carried out by the National Working Groups in each EU Member State. The Irish National Working Group on Structured Dialogue comprised the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA/Ministry) as chair, National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI), Léargas (National Agency) and the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (Youth Work Department). The results of the regional and national consultations feed into EU Youth Conferences that are organised on the same theme, thus serving as a common base for the discussions at EU level.
Each National Working Group submits a National Report with the results of the consultations to the European Steering Committee at a deadline agreed upon in the Committee. The compilation of National Reports constitutes the main background document for discussions at the EU Youth Conference.
The Trio Presidency – Ireland, Lithuania and Greece – together with the European Commission, the European Youth Forum and the National Youth Councils have agreed Social Inclusion as the overarching theme for the 18 months from January 2013 to end June 2014. This theme emphasises the concept of social inclusion involving all young people, in addition to those with fewer opportunities.
During the first phase of consultation, Ireland focused on what the social inclusion of young people means, the challenges it poses for young people, the groups of young people most at risk of social exclusion and the stages in young people’s lives where they are most vulnerable to social exclusion. Ireland’s specific priority explored the contribution of quality youth work to the development, well-being and social inclusion of young people.
Building on the compilation of results of the 1st phase consultation and Joint Conclusions of the EU Youth Conference in Dublin, Ireland, 11-13 March, 2013, Lithuania is therefore focusing on the possible solutions for the social inclusion of young people, with a special emphasis on those who are not in employment, education or training (NEETs).
The guiding questions aim to find solutions, good practices, preventative measures, and innovative ideas on better social inclusion of young people across EU.
The Irish consultation process on social inclusion and quality youth work was named: ‘Young Voices, Have Your Say’ in order to encourage as many young people as possible in the country to take part and have their voices heard. The name and logo was designed in consultation with young people from the advisory group set up for the consultation. Information on the events were sent to youth groups, issue based groups, State and non-state service providers and individuals all over the country via the distribution of posters and flyers, letters and emails, direct phone contact, websites, newsletters and social media.
There were 3 consultation day events in Sligo, Cork and Dublin and a focus group with young people was carried out to include young people who wouldn’t be able to attend the events. Over 230 young people were consulted.
The outcomes of the consultations Ireland were compiled in to a report, which joined reports from all EU member states to form the workshop themes and background documents for the EU Youth Conference in March in Dublin. At this conference young people, decision makers and key policy makers from all over Europe worked Young Voices in Ireland and came up with Joint Conclusions. Three young people from the Young Voices consultations in Ireland were nominated to attend this conference and feedback the results from Young Voices. Here is an article written by one of these young people.