Recommendation Rec(2006)1
of the Committee of Ministers to member states
on the role of national youth councils in youth policy development

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 11 January 2006
at the 952nd meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers, in accordance with Article 15.b of the Statute of the Council of Europe,

Having regard to the European Cultural Convention of 1954 (ETS No.18);

Having regard to Resolution Res(2003)7 of the Committee of Ministers on the youth policy of the Council of Europe;

Having regard to Recommendation 1585 (2002) of the Parliamentary Assembly on youth policies in the Council of Europe;

Having regard to the revised European Charter on youth participation in municipal and regional life adopted by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe at its 10th session from 20 to 22 May 2003;

Bearing in mind Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child;

Taking into account the Final Declaration of the 6th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Youth, which underlines in particular the need to involve young people and their organisations in the formulation and implementation of youth policies at national and European levels;

Underlining the action of the Council of Europe, in partnership with youth organisations and governments;

Underlining the contribution of the Council of Europe’s youth sector during the past years, in the development of national youth structures in all States Parties to the European Cultural Convention;

Considering the recent developments in the youth field in the European Union, notably the White Paper on “A new impetus for European Youth”;

Bearing in mind the different realities concerning the structure and functioning of national youth councils in Europe, as described in the Council of Europe study “The situation of national youth councils and consultative youth bodies in Europe”; and recalling the long tradition of co-operation between the Council of Europe’s youth sector and national youth councils;

Underlining that youth policy should be founded, in particular, on co-operation between public authorities and pluralist youth organisations and networks, and that the establishment of national youth councils constitutes the most appropriate way to guarantee such pluralism;

Having the ambition to develop new forms of governance that bring policy closer to young citizens, as well as to reinforce democracy and consolidate the legitimacy of youth policy, thus making it more effective,

1. Recommends that the governments of the member states:

a. consider helping young people to become active citizens to be the central element of youth policy; and, in that respect,

b. recognise that national youth councils, which today exist in many European countries, can and do actively contribute to the development of public youth policy; and therefore,

c. support the development and work of national youth councils while respecting their specific nature, consider them as partners of public authorities in youth policy development, and legitimise their role in this context, taking into account the following basic principles:

- the freedom of expression for national youth councils;
- the possibility for national youth councils to formulate opinions and recommendations on any issue that concerns youth;
- the right for national youth councils to determine their own working organisation and methods;
- the possibility for national youth councils to have access to relevant information concerning youth issues;
- the importance of consideration by public authorities of the recommendations of national youth councils, and commitment on the part of the authorities, should they decide not to follow the said recommendations, to give reasons for their decision;

d. facilitate, in co-operation with young people and their organisations, the process of creating national youth councils in countries where they do not exist;

e. create the necessary conditions for broadening the participation of young people in society and developing associative life, in order to enable national youth councils, if appropriate, to be more representative of young people, including young people belonging to all kinds of minorities, and of different forms of youth organisations;

f. facilitate and support the development of the international action of national youth councils, and their European co-operation, particularly in order to reinforce their contribution to the objectives and priorities of the Council of Europe in the youth field;

g. consider involving national youth councils in the definition of procedures and mechanisms used by public authorities to consult young people in general;

2. asks the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to address this recommendation to the governments of those States Parties to the European Cultural Convention that are not members of the Council of Europe.



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