Title: The Global Youth ACTION Network Partnership Initiative Concept Paper

(prepared by the Global Youth ACTION)

 

Welcome to version 2.0 of the Global Youth ACTION Network Partnership Initiative Concept Paper, last updated on March 8, 2003. 

 

This document summarizes the role and need for youth participation in global decision-making and international problem solving.  It proposes a number of “global youth” programs, names key stakeholders and partner organizations to involve in developing the programs, and outlines the role of the Global Youth ACTION Network and TakingITGlobal in the process.  For some projects it suggests budgets, action plans, and timelines.

 

The Global Youth ACTION Network produced this document with a grant from the Artemisia Foundation.  The document has been examined by a number of different stakeholders in the global youth movement including representatives of the European Youth Forum, the World Assembly of Youth, the Oxfam International Youth Parliament, the Global Youth ACTION Network, TakingITGlobal, participants of the World Summit on Sustainable Development Youth Caucus, former consultants to the World Bank and the Organization of American States, and many others.  It has been adapted several times in response to their feedback and aims to promote discussion, collaborative planning among different groups, and joint fundraising. 

 

Readers must recognize that this document is just one synthesized perspective of the global youth movement and a suggested blueprint for moving forward in the years to come. 

 

In March and April of 2003 feedback will be sought from organizers of the World Social Forum, the World Economic Forum, the Youth Employment Summit, the International Labor Organization, the Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Youth Alliance, the Interfaith Youth Core, the Ceptual Institute, the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, the Many One Foundation, the Social Venture Network, the Co-Intelligence Institute, the International Young Professionals Summit, the W K Kellogg Foundation, the United Nations Focal Point on Youth, the United Nations Foundation, and others.

 

This document will be used to seek funding to support collaboration of groups.  The primary institutional supporters of this project to date include the Global Youth ACTION Network, TakingITGlobal, and the Artemisia Foundation. 

 

1. Introduction

            1.1 Contemporary Revolutions

2. Why Youth?

            2.1 Legal Rationale

            2.2 Political Rationale

3. Purpose

            3.1 Supporting the Movement

            3.2 Developing the Debate on Youth Participation in Global Decision-Making

            3.3 Values and Principles

4. Background

            4.1 Representation of Youth at the Global Level

            4.2 De-fragmentation of Youth Movements

4.3 Global Youth Conferences

            4.4 Collaborative Initiatives

            4.5 Global Youth ACTION Network History

            4.6 TakingITGlobal History

            4.7 Current Global Youth ACTION Network and TakingITGlobal Programs

5. Structures for Communication and Decision-Making

6. New Programs

            6.1 Partnership Initiative Key Stakeholders (PIKS)

                        6.1.1 Eligibility and Personal Criteria

                        6.1.2 The Stakeholders

            6.2 Partnership Initiative Target Organizations (GYANTO)

            6.3 Democratically Edited World Youth Newsletter (DEWYN)

            6.4 Local Networks and Programs

            6.5 Youth-Watch.org

6.6 Global Guide and Comprehensive Package of Youth Solutions (CPYS)

6.7 The Youth in Global Decision-Making Debate

            6.7.1 Making the Case on Youth

            6.7.2 The World Economic Forum and the World Social Forum – A Common Platform for the Global Youth Movement?

            6.7.3 Modeling a Permanent Structure

6.8 Second Year Programs and Other Future Projects

            6.8.1 Global Youth Partnership Program

            6.8.2 Intergenerational Partnership Inc.

            6.8.3 World Council on Youth Participation

            6.8.4 Global Youth Platform and National Youth Agendas

6.9 The Global Youth Convention 2012

6.10 Additional Supporting Programs

7. Projected Timeline and Budgets

 

Note: This document was written by the Global Youth ACTION Network, which will be referred to from here on as GYAN.

           

1. Introduction

 

The world is at a crossroads.  Everything today is accelerating and changing.  Local issues become global overnight.  We live in a global village that is constantly presented with new challenges as markets merge and cultures meet.  It has become clear that these new challenges require new solutions. 

 

Young people continually enter the world with new perspective.  They adapt quickly to change and are early adopters of social, cultural, and technological innovations.  While young people present challenges to some they possess new wisdom and hold new solutions to our increasingly complex global problems.

 

Our task is to strengthen youth movements and to develop new partnerships between youth and our systems of global decision-making in an effort to appreciate new ideas and build new systems for international problem solving.

 

            1.1 Contemporary Revolutions

 

Multiple revolutions are laying foundations for new approaches to organizing society.  Scientific and technological innovations are transforming communication and interaction of people on a global level.  Revolutions in religion and spirituality are offering new interpretations of reality.  The world population recently doubled in less forty years and at the same time less than half the world has yet the make its first phone call.  These revolutions provoke great changes in society and often it is young people who adapt most quickly to them.  

 

For a deeper exploration of this point see:

http://www.youthmovement.org/pi/1.1Contemporary-Revolutions.htm

 

2. Why Youth?

 

Many have asked, “Why is it important to involve young people in decision-making?”

 

National governments fail when their citizens no longer respond to them.  Engaging people, as citizens, is a challenge all over the world.  Young people are especially significant because they constantly enter society with fresh energy and fresh perspectives.  To focus on youth is to focus on participation.  To focus on participation is to transform the systems by which citizens are formed and the ways in which they respond to their national governments and to the rest of the world. 

 

Youth have recently showed their power in Serbia and the Philippines where they struggled to overthrow and replace corrupt national governments.  Much research suggests that young people are the leading agents of change these days because they play by different rules, they have few ties to the “way things are,” and they have the energy to create a world of their own.  Engaging young people in decision-making is the healthiest way to negotiate change.

 

2.1 Legal Rationale

 

Young people have fundamental rights which are denied all around the world, including the right to participate in decision-making.  Moreover, formal legal frameworks are already in place that recognize and protect the fundamental rights of young people.  National governments uphold citizen’s rights to protect democracy.  Young people’s rights must be upheld as well because the same factors that violate youth rights inhibit the development of democracy.  

 

See a deeper exploration of this rationale: http://www.youthmovement.org/pi/2.1Legal-Rationale.htm

 

2.2 Political Rationale

 

Around the world there is growing unrest and awareness of the need for innovations in economic, social, and political organization.  The causes of this unrest range from the end of the cold war to the increasing global integration of diverse cultures.  At the same time there is political reform underway all over the world as well as growing concern on the issue of global governance.  There will be change.  The question is, where in the process are we, and how peaceful or violent is the change going to be.  Young people are a significant and powerful component of civil society and correspondingly a real political and social force.  They will need to participate in the change process to ensure stability and peace. 

 

See a deeper exploration of this rationale:

http://www.youthmovement.org/pi/2.2Political-Rationale.htm

 

 

3. Purpose

 

The purpose of the Partnership Initiative is:

 

1) To develop new networks and resources for supporting the global youth movement

2) To develop the global debate on youth participation in global decision-making

 

3.1 Supporting the Movement

 

The Global Youth ACTION Network (GYAN) recognizes that today the global youth movement is too fragmented and unrecognized to have an effective influence on global governance.  GYAN also recognizes that due to these limitations the creation of a global body to represent all youth of the world is not yet warranted at this time.  Greater integration and empowerment of youth movements is needed before real youth representation and participation without tokenism can take place at the global level.

 

To address this problem and to support the global youth movement, the Partnership Initiative will work toward the following objectives:

 

  1. To map youth movements and organizations
  2. To create new communication channels and increase global youth networking and exchange
  3. To build relationships between diverse youth movements and organizations
  4. To facilitate linking of local and global issues
  5. To facilitate collaborative action
  6. To defend the right of young people to participate in decision-making

 

3.2 Developing the Debate on Youth Participation in Global Decision-Making

 

GYAN recognizes that the world is changing and that local and global issues are increasingly interconnected; decisions that are made at a global level have local impact.  The Network also recognizes that the current system of global governance and international problem solving is limited and suffers from a democratic deficit.  Many international civil society organizations and national governments have little access to global decision-making forums, while international youth organizations and other youth groups, in general, have almost none.     

 

The Network believes that young people should participate in decision-making at local, national, and international levels.  It also believes that engaging young people at the decision-making table will create more responsible citizens and inspire healthier, more stable communities, locally and internationally. 

 

To address these problems and to develop the debate on youth participation in global decision-making the Partnership Initiative will work toward the following objectives:

 

1.      To promote more democracy and intergenerational partnership in local, national, and global governance

2.      To support a debate on new systems of decision-making that adapt to social and technological innovations and enjoy greater participation, transparency, and diversity

3.      To promote dialogue among diverse youth movements

4.      To facilitate research and debate on scenarios and structures for permanent, effective youth participation in global decision-making

5.      To strengthen relationships among existing structures and organizations dedicated to youth participation in decision-making at continental and global levels

 

3.3 Values and Principles

 

Mohandas H. Gandhi often said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  With this wisdom in mind the Partnership Initiative upholds the values of:

 

 

In addition to these values, the Partnership Initiative is based on the following principles:

 

 

4. Background

 

            4.1 Representation of Youth at the Global Level

 

There have been many global youth events.  The United Nations organized a World Youth Assembly in 1972 that had representatives from many countries around the world.  The project was cancelled soon after the event ended.  A number of international youth forums, mostly organized by civil society, have taken place with the purpose of representing youth of the world; however none of them has yet become an effective device for ongoing youth influence on global decision-making. 

 

The UN organized World Youth Forums in 1991, 1996, 1998, and the most recent one in 2001 in Dakar, Senegal with the purpose of empowering youth to more effectively participate in society.  The 2001 conference was not as successful as hoped and in response the UN is re-programming the series of gatherings. 

 

Starting in the 1990s the UN began to organize thematic world conferences and substantially increased the role of civil society in global decision-making.  Two examples of these events include the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and the Beijing Women’s Conference in 1995.  Most of the UN world conferences have been accompanied by youth caucuses however they have been unconnected and as a result there has been little continuity from one event to the next.

 

Around the United Nations Secretariat there are regional youth platforms for each continent except North America.  These platforms convene National Youth Councils and international youth organizations to make policy recommendations to the UN and other multinational agencies.  National Youth Councils exist in near 100 countries of the world.  They gather youth organizations at the national level to represent youth and make policy recommendations to their national governments.

 

The European Youth Forum (EYF) is the best established regional youth platform.  It was created in 1996 and is composed of representatives from more than 40 national youth councils and more than 40 international youth organizations.  It is a powerful lobbying body and meeting point of social movements and organizations.  Europe made significant investments in youth following World War II in order to promote greater inter-cultural understanding and international cooperation.  The EYF is one significant result.

 

The World Assembly of Youth (WAY) is a globally representative youth organization that works with the United Nations.  It was created nearly 50 years ago and convenes National Youth Councils from almost 100 countries. 

 

The WAY, the EYF, and the other regional youth platforms need greater investment and stronger networks of support.  The young people they represent are often unaware of their existence and often do not have a tangible connection to them.  The Partnership Initiative seeks to strengthen these platforms and their constituencies by developing direct links with individual young people and organizing grassroots networks of support.

 

            4.2 De-fragmentation of Youth Movements

 

The global youth movement is fragmented.  The following publication, produced by the Partnership Initiative, is the only comprehensive listing of global youth organizations on the Internet.  Before this publication it is likely that none of the global youth networks has been aware of all the others.   

http://www.youthmovement.org/guide/globalguide.htm

 

Operating in isolation is one of the chief causes of fragmentation.  Groups are often unaware of each other or don’t recognize the need to get to know new organizations.  At the same time many groups are reluctant to collaborate.  They often fear losing their young “clients” to other movements and as a result don’t interact with other networks.  Some groups centralize information and opportunities to retain power.  Historically many grant-makers have focused too much on the reputation and size of organizations, inadvertently encouraging groups to “build their brands,” work in isolation, and avoid sharing credit in order to ensure their own institutional survival.  Fortunately, today people are recognizing the interdependency of movements, priorities are changing, and collaboration is becoming the focus of everyone’s agenda.

 

The networks of many global youth movements are structured around global events, communication channels, and institutional as well as personal relationships.  De-fragmenting these movements will require nurturing trust, building transparency, and consolidating effort.  Organizers will have two priorities:

 

1)      To map and link existing communication channels, youth events, and youth organizations through research and relationship building.

2)      To facilitate collaboration and build democratic communication and decision-making systems.

 

The process will reveal some competing truths and produce some conflict. For example, democracy is supported by some groups but not all, just as free trade is supported by some groups but not all. The United Nations and the World Bank support some youth networks while other youth groups protest these institutions and refuse to recognize their legitimacy.  Negotiating relationships between diverse youth groups will require careful facilitation and planning and is a major focus of the Partnership Initiative.

 

In addition to de-fragmentation and facilitating collaboration there is a question of approach.  Organizers of youth movements often have one of two opposing perspectives:

 

 

A combination of approaches will be necessary.  Bottom-up approaches will be more stable, will invite more ownership of local stakeholders, but may take a long time. Top-down approaches will be faster, but may be victim to politics or bureaucracy.  Top-down approaches may also be less stable at the local level with less ownership from the grassroots community. Top down approaches will also be necessary for some local groups that are directed by a central authority.

 

Advancing both bottom-up and top-down approaches simultaneously will ensure meeting somewhere in the middle. Bottom up approaches will be cheaper. Top down approaches will be more expensive and will require significant travel and facilitation.  In addition, involving top down global organizations from the start will make it easier to gain their full participation as the collaboration process matures.

 

            4.3 Global Youth Gatherings

 

Many global youth gatherings create relationships between young people that can last a lifetime.  Unfortunately many global gatherings of youth are disconnected from each other.  Organizers of these events have a responsibility to educate youth about other global networks as well as to encourage collaboration, partnership and information sharing.

 

A brief history and listing of some key global youth gatherings is provided here:

http://www.youthmovement.org/pi/4.3Global-Gatherings.htm

 

            4.4 Global Youth Collaborations

 

Several networks and initiatives share the goal of encouraging cooperation and alliances to advance the youth movement.  Unfortunately, frequently these collaboration initiatives do not collaborate with each other.

 

Read more about some of these global collaborative youth efforts here:

http://www.youthmovement.org/pi/4.4Collaborations.htm

 

            4.5 Global Youth ACTION Network History

 

The Global Youth ACTION Network (GYAN) was founded in 1999 by Benjamin Quinto after three years of researching the needs of the global youth movement.  It set up its office in New York City in January of 2000 becoming the only international youth organization with an office near the UN Secretariat.  GYAN acts as an incubator of global partnerships among organizations as well as an information distributor and conference organizer.  It has 300 member organizations and partnerships with national youth networks in nearly 180 countries, making it one of the largest networks of youth networks in the world.  The Network is best known for organizing two international projects: The International Youth in Action Award (IYiAA) and Global Youth Service Day (GYSD).  GYSD is the world’s largest celebration of youth volunteerism and is developed in partnership with Youth Service America (a USA based national youth organization), six UN agencies, and twenty other international youth organizations.  The IYiAA annually recognizes ten of the best youth-led community projects in the world.

 

Other GYAN programs include building National Youth Agendas, facilitating youth delegates at the United Nations, developing a Global Youth Action Guide in partnership with the UN, and managing emailing lists and databases of a number of different global youth networks – especially those around the major UN world conferences.

 

For an in depth look at GYAN’s history and programs check out the Network’s Stage 2 development plan:

http://www.youthmovement.org/pi/gyanstage2.doc

 

            4.6 TakingITGlobal History

 

TakingITGlobal (TIG) was founded in 1999 by Mike Furdyk and Jennifer Corriero, then 17 and 19-years-old, in an effort to improve education and opportunities for other young people around the world.  Headquartered in Toronto, the group manages the highest traffic website on the Internet dedicated to youth organizing www.TakingITGlobal.org

In 2001 Nation1.net, an initiative started by the Junior Summit at the MIT Media Labs, merged its website into TIG.  A few months later the Global Youth ACTION Network also merged its website, YouthLink.org, into TIG.

 

Today near 15,000 people from more than 200 countries have registered on the site gaining access to a wide variety of resources including the most comprehensive calendar of youth conferences on the net, databases of youth organizations and projects, profiles and online diaries of young leaders from all over the world, a workshop toolkit, a global gallery of art submitted online and much more.   

 

Beyond managing its portal, TIG also designs websites and databases for a number of global youth organizations and as a result serves as the chief coordinating center for information sharing in the global youth movement.  A few of TIG’s partners/clients include the Youth Employment Summit, the United World Colleges, the World Economic Forum and the African Youth Parliament.

 

Other TIG programs include managing the youth caucus of the World Summit on Information Society, developing the youth portal of the World Summit on Sustainable Development – EarthYouth.net, and developing the framework of the Youth Creating Digital Opportunities project in partnership with the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

 

For more history about TakingITGlobal and its programs check out its website at http://www.takingitglobal.org

 

            4.7 Current Global Youth ACTION Network and TakingITGlobal Programs

 

TakingITGlobal and GYAN have a number of ongoing programs that support the global youth movement. 

 

Annual GYAN programs include Global Youth Service Day, the Global Youth in Action Awards, and the Global Youth Action Guide.  Ongoing GYAN programs include promoting National Youth Agendas, Facilitating United Nations Youth Delegates, and organizing Gatherings on Collaboration.

 

The central program of GYAN and TIG partnership is the Shared Resource Database of the global youth movement.

 

TakingITGlobal ongoing programs include the TakingITGlobal Website and Framework, Technology Support, Country Sites, Topical Networks, the Youth Creating Digital Opportunities framework, and the Global Gallery.  New TakingITGlobal programs include the Opportunity and Resource Center and TakingITGlobal in Education.  Past TIG programs include the EarthYouth.Net portal, YoungPress.org, and IdeaFund.org

 

For more details about this programs see: http://www.youthmovement.org/pi/4.7GYAN-and-TIG-Programs.htm

 

 

5. Structures for Communication and Decision-Making

 

The structures of communication and decision-making in the global youth movement are diverse.  Internet email discussion lists are the most common communication channels.  There are very few if any “global youth” paper publications that reach grassroots youth organizations.  Those groups without Internet access are often unlinked to the “global” component of the global youth movement.

 

A number of global youth networks have global decision-making structures.  They range from systems based on consensus and rapid action networks to CEO structured enterprises and global democratic bodies with elections every two years.

 

Federating the existing decision-making systems and linking communication networks will be essential to orchestrate youth collaboration from local to global levels.  The Partnership Initiative has identified a number of email lists (communication networks) and global youth organizations (decision-making systems) and proposes a strategy for collaboration and consolidation.

 

To facilitate integration of movements GYAN uses a 5-part conceptual model of youth organizing to help identify different realities and appropriately engage organizations.  All components of the model work together with each level building on the work of the previous levels.

 

            GYAN 5-level model of youth organizing:

 

            1) Raising awareness of social and environmental problems

            2) Action to solve problems

            3) Network of information and resources

            4) Collaboration of groups

            5) Participation in formal, permanent structures of decision-making

 

Building from this model the Partnership Initiative will help groups work together to advance through the levels.  It will provide methodology, offer training to groups, and will develop support structures to monitor, strengthen, and promote activities at levels 3, 4 and 5 in order to consolidate communication networks and develop integrated youth decision-making structures.

 

            5.1 At the Local Level

 

Local level networks make up the base of global networks.  The South American Regional Office of GYAN has begun to develop methodology for local level programs.  In 6.4 Local Networks below they are described in greater detail.  The chief programs for communication and decision-making include:

 

1.      Local Gatherings – Informal networking activities aimed at strengthening local networks, celebrating the diversity of local communities, and involving more young people in the global youth movement

2.      Local Calendars of Youth Resources – Email and fax bulletins that announce events and opportunities for young people to every school and youth organization in a city

3.      Local Youth Summits and Platforms – Projects that survey youth and organize them to develop solutions to community problems while developing political influence in local government

 

            5.2 At the Global Level

 

There already exist many systems for communication and decision-making for youth at the global level.  The Partnership Initiative will recognize the existing systems and work to strengthen them in an effort to create new consolidated systems for communication and decision-making.  The local level programs described above will feed the global level.  Each of the programs introduced here is described in greater detail below in 6. Key Programs.  The chief existing networks and the chief programs proposed here for global youth communication and decision-making include:

 

Communication

 

  1. Electronic discussion forums and announcement lists – Email forums and websites used for communication and collaboration (already exists) http://www.youthmovement.org/guide/globalguide.htm#19.
  2. Democratically Edited World Youth Newsletter – A joint newsletter to be collaboratively published by many global youth organizations (proposed here)
  3. Youth-Watch.org – A proposed website to report successes and failures of youth participation at the international level (proposed here)

 

      Collaboration and Decision-Making

 

  1. The Partnership Initiative Key Stakeholders Network – An intimate network of young leaders, change agents, and allies dedicated to advancing global youth networking and participation in global decision-making (proposed here). List of people: http://www.youthmovement.org/pi/612Candidates.htm
  2. The Partnership Initiative Target Organizations – A membership network of organizations that will share information and explore collaborative action (proposed here). List of organizations: http://www.youthmovement.org/guide/globalguide.htm
  3. National & Global Youth Platforms and Agendas – Collaborative initiatives that survey youth to identify priorities and solutions to local and global problems and develop youth political influence at the international level (in development and expanded here)
  4. The Debate on Youth Participation in Global Decision-Making  - A campaign to promote dialogue on the concept of a permanent structure for youth participation in global decision-making (proposed here)

 

6. Key Programs

 

After examining various scenarios of developing the Partnership Initiative, seven programs were determined as priorities and are being developed to set the Initiative in motion.  In the first year, each of the seven programs will have its own team and decision-making structure.  Some individuals and organizations among the Partnership Initiative Key Stakeholders Network and Target Organizations and will explore decision-making structures to create a framework for these programs, to launch new ones, and to facilitate their development.

 

An additional set of programs will be developed in the second year of operation in order to strengthen the Partnership Initiative and make it sustainable and effective.  Their development is currently limited by available time, resources, and an initial set of conditions and relationships that is necessary to make them feasible.  The first year of operation will build the proper relationships and create the necessary conditions.

 

            First Year Programs

 

6.1 The Partnership Initiative Key Stakeholders Network (PIKSN)

 

The PI Key Stakeholders Network will be an intimate and open network of young leaders and allies who are key stakeholders in developing the Partnership Initiative and exploring youth participation in global decision-making.  A Startup Team will facilitate networking and communication among the members.  The Startup Team will be composed of representatives from global and regional youth organizations.  The goal will be to build trust within the network and set the stage for information sharing, peer-to-peer communication, local gatherings, and collaboration. 

 

6.1.1 Eligibility and Personal Criteria

 

The PIKSN professional eligibility requirements are restrictive in order to protect the privacy of certain individuals involved.  All people who meet the eligibility requirements and personal criteria will be allowed to participate in the PIKS Network.

 

Professional Eligibility – http:///www.youthmovement.org/pi/611Eligibility.htm

 

Personal Criteria – http://www.youthmovement.org/pi/611Personal-Criteria.htm

 

6.1.2 The PIKSN Members

 

Candidate members will be invited to the PIKS Network with the following invitation letter.

http://www.youthmovement.org/pi/612Invitation-Letter.htm

 

The following people have been identified for the PIKS Network.

http://www.youthmovement.org/pi/612Candidates.htm

 

Needs:

1) Target Funding Sources

2) Timeline

3) Continuation/Perpetuation Plan

4) Evaluation Strategy

5) Budget

6) People and Organizations Involved

 

6.2 The Partnership Initiative Target Organizations (PITO)

 

To help launch the Partnership Initiative programs, a Startup Team of people from the PIKS Network will enter into contact with the PITO list of organizations to educate them about the Initiative and to invite their participation in key programs.  Participating organizations should fit one of the following criteria:

 

1) Work with youth on at least three continents with focus on more than one country

2) Be continental/regional youth platforms or student unions

 

Volunteers and staff of organizations will be trained to document the activities, needs and resources of their organizations in the TakingITGlobal.org website.  Organizations will also be invited to publish contact lists of their local and national chapters in the TakingITGlobal website database.  By gathering data and knowledge of the global youth movement in one place the Partnership Initiative will help facilitate information sharing and network building.

 

List of organizations:

http://www.youthmovement.org/guide/globalguide.htm

 

Interested organizations will be asked to become members of the Global Youth ACTION Network and to fill out the following form:

http://www.takingitglobal.org/aboutus/gyan/gyanorgform.doc 

 

Needs:

1) Target Funding Sources

2) Timeline

3) Continuation/Perpetuation Plan

4) Evaluation Strategy

5) Budget

6) People and Organizations Involved

 

6.3 The Democratically Edited World Youth Newsletter

 

There are many newsletters, bulletins, and discussion lists that are written for and by youth.   Many are produced by the international youth organizations listed above and make up the primary channels for communication in the global youth movement.  A team of the PIKSN will work to create an additional newsletter and to synthesize the content of the existing communication channels.  The project will have two chief objectives: 1) to facilitate communication between diverse organizations and stakeholders in the youth movements that will contribute content to the newsletter and 2) to create a new democratically managed communication channel for collaborative action of the global youth movement.  The project will unfold in six stages:

 

1) Presenting the concept to international youth organizations

2) Creating a sample newsletter with content from many diverse sources

3) Designing a system for democratically editing content and distributing the collaborative newsletter

4) Merging the databases of participating organizations in order to widen the reach of the newsletter

5) Distribute the first newsletter

6) Create a collaborative structure for operating the ongoing composition and distribution of the newsletter

 

Remaining Questions:

Which newsletters and organization to start with?

Should it be in print?

 

Needs:

1) Target Funding Sources

2) Timeline

3) Continuation/Perpetuation Plan

4) Evaluation Strategy

5) Budget

6) People and Organizations Involved

 

6.4 Youth-Watch.org

 

Young people are frequently tokenized.  Many well known corporations, foundations, political groups, NGOs and inter-governmental agencies use young people.  These institutions enhance their own public images without adequately recognizing youth achievements, properly compensating youth for their work, or giving young people the appropriate support and room at the decision-making table.  In addition some of these institutions have made promises to groups of young leaders, benefited from their creativity and action, and then broken the promises.  This mistreatment has led to a great deal of mistrust between youth movements and key institutions. 

 

In an effort to heal this process and to defend the rights and integrity of young people around the world, the Partnership Initiative will set up a mailing list and website called Youth-Watch.org

 

It will document incidents where young people have been unjustly used and will share the information with the other key stakeholders of the global youth movement, including those institutions in the PITO.  It will also develop partnerships with media networks around the world.

 

The development of Youth-Watch.org will be an essential component of the Partnership Initiative development strategy.  It will be necessary to prevent misuse of the Initiative and to develop trust of youth movements around the world.

 

Needs:

1) Target Funding Sources

2) Timeline

3) Continuation/Perpetuation Plan

4) Evaluation Strategy

5) Budget

6) People and Organizations Involved

 

6.5 Local Networks

 

Local networks will be the basic building blocks of the Partnership Initiative.  Already many cities around the world have local youth networks – though they are often associated with one particular political party or religion.

 

The Local Networks project will identify existing local youth networks, will work to build relationships with them, will help them expand their diversity, and as needed will help them develop a presence on the Internet using the TakingITGlobal framework.   The project will also link local networks to each other as well as to the international youth movements involved in the Partnership Initiative. 

 

In areas where local youth networks do not yet exist, the project will facilitate their creation through partnerships with local branches of the PITO.

 

Beyond simply identifying and seeding local networks, this project will work to motivate several of the following local level programs in an attempt to de-fragment the global youth movement and strengthen local-to-global linkage:

 

  1. Create websites and databases listing local area youth groups and organizations
  2. Set up local emailing lists
  3. Produce a weekly calendar of youth events for distribution via email
  4. Organize monthly gatherings for networking and community building
  5. Develop partnerships with local government, business, and civil society entities
  6. Organize local youth forums on various topics
  7. Develop local youth political platforms and youth councils to strengthen youth participation in decision-making

 

See the methodology for these local programs detailed at:

http://www.youthmovement.org/gyan

 

These local networks will be developed most effectively by regional office and regional partners of GYAN.

 

Key Questions:

Who should be the regional offices? 

What budget should they have?

What technology tools need to be created and integrated into the TIG framework to support local sites?

 

Needs:

1) Target Funding Sources

2) Timeline

3) Continuation/Perpetuation Plan

4) Evaluation Strategy

5) Budget

6) People and Organizations Involved

 

            6.6 Global Guide and a Comprehensive Package of Youth Solutions

 

The architects of Partnership Initiative concept paper have knowledge developing youth organizations and youth movements all around the world.  They have learned what types of programs work and which don’t.  Few attempts have been made to synthesize the lessons learned, systematize successful programs, and recreate successful models all around the world.

 

The purpose of this project is to gather research and experiences, to structure them into a guide for local to global youth organizing, and to propose models for youth empowerment in a Comprehensive Package of Youth Solutions (CPYS).

 

The project will unfold in two stages:

 

  1. Analysis and integration of best (and worst) practices will be used to develop a package (CPYS) that touches all aspects of youth organizing: communication, media, community building, project management etc.
  2. A campaign will be launched to encourage youth networks all around the world to assess their programs and fill in the programming gaps with inspiration from the CPYS or Comprehensive Package of Youth Solutions.

 

An initial draft of a global guide:

http://www.youthmovement.org/guide

 

An initial draft of a Comprehensive Package of Youth Solutions

http:///www.youthmovement.org/pi/66CPYS.htm

 

Needs:

1) Target Funding Sources

2) Timeline

3) Continuation/Perpetuation Plan

4) Evaluation Strategy

5) Budget

6) People and Organizations Involved

 

            6.7 The Youth in Global Decision-Making Debate

 

Several failed attempts have been made to create permanent structures for youth representation at the global level.  The European Youth Forum is the most powerful youth lobby in the world but could only be legitimately established after millions of dollars of investment over a period of dozens of years. 

 

To warrant the creation of a permanent structure to represent and facilitate youth participation in global decision-making a lot of work needs to be done.  The demand must be increased.  Youth must be empowered and rallied around a common platform.  Existing systems must be reformed and new systems must be created to be more participatory, more transparent, and more legitimate. 

 

Creating the Demand

 

No decision-making entity will have power and legitimacy unless there is a demand for it.  Most people don’t recognize the need for youth participation in global decision-making.  The recent unrest surrounding globalization and the new movement for youth participation around the world has sparked new interest and opportunity. 

 

Campaigns are needed to help people recognize the need.  Educational institutions and community organizations can organize public debates on the subject to help raise awareness.  Asking a group of young people to examine the “country of origin” of the items in their pockets (pens, cell phones, wallets etc.) quickly helps them recognize how globalized their world is.  At the same time asking young people what they believe needs to change about the current state of the world will show why young people need to participate in decision-making.

 

Influence on global decision-making is meaningless without influence on local and national decision-making.   Local initiatives to build youth influence in decision-making of local government will increase the culture of youth participation and have ripple effects on national and eventually international levels.

 

Empowering the Constituency and Building Legitimacy

 

The global youth movement around the world is strong but fragmented.  Greater integration and collaboration is needed to help youth groups do things together that they cannot do alone. 

 

Europe has the highest concentration of youth participation in the world where nearly 50% of all young people participate in youth organizations.  No other continent comes near as close even though research shows that “organized” youth are more aware and more likely to act to solve social and environmental problems in their communities.  Greater investment is needed all around the world to engage greater numbers of young people and create more engaged citizens.

 

45 of the 46 European countries (that participate in the Council of Europe) have National Youth Councils.  Unfortunately most young people in those countries have no relationship with their National Youth Councils and as a result the Councils have limited legitimacy.  Integrating movements and engaging more young people will empower youth as a constituency and give more legitimacy to decision-making institutions.

 

Creating Participatory Structures

 

New social and technological innovations make new decision-making systems possible.  While most governments around the world suffer from bureaucracy and slow decision-making systems, businesses and entrepreneurial organizations are experimenting with new technologies and new systems of deliberation and action.  

 

Youth participation in government and high-level forums is a new challenge and requires new solutions.  Authorities will need to explore new technologies and facilitation methodologies in order to adequately facilitate youth participation.

 

The Road Map for Construction

 

Creating a permanent structure for youth participation in global decision-making deserves a lot of debate.  It needs to be considered and reconsidered by a large and diverse group of stakeholders so that as many groups as possible feel ownership of the process and will recognize the resulting structure.  How do we develop this debate?

 

The Partnership Initiative proposes three major phases to developing the debate:

 

1) Making the case for youth

2) Rallying the youth movements and organizations of the world around a common platform and debate – the World Economic Forum and the World Social Forum

3) Working out the details for building a permanent structure.

 

Needs:

1) Target Funding Sources

2) Timeline

3) Continuation/Perpetuation Plan

4) Evaluation Strategy

5) Budget

6) People and Organizations Involved

 

            6.7.1 Making the Case for Youth

           

Many young people think they should have a right to truly participate with an active voice in decision-making, not as “token youth”, but FOR REAL. For real means: as decision-makers, voters, constituents, clients, members of civil society, minorities, indigenous youth, youth with AIDs, youth suffering from exploitation, prostitution, rape, murder, war, destitution, and as youth legitimately concerned about the world they will inherit.

 

Many adults, including world leaders like Koffi Annan of the United Nations, Enrique Iglesias of the Inter-American Development Bank, numerous Presidents of nations around the world, heads of major international foundations and nonprofits, and CEOs of leading global corporations agree that young people should have a voice and participate in civil society and government - at least to some degree.

 

Many people continue to make the case for youth. The subject is gaining popularity and importance.  It is a sexy topic in international circles nowadays.  The UN and other agencies host several initiatives specifically focused on increasing the visibility and participation of young people in local, national, and global venues.

 

But how is it really going? Is it working out? Is youth participation real and here to stay? Clearly much is being done and a growing foundation is in place, but the facts and evidence unfortunately do not support those who would argue that young people have true voice and power to participate in decision-making on issues that fundamentally affect them.

 

So what needs to be done?

 

1.         The case for Youth Participation needs to be made, clearly, and better than it has been made to date. The Partnership Initiative will be major effort, initiated, led, and spearheaded by young people themselves, to make the case more clearly, honestly, and vividly than it has ever been made.

 

2.         The case needs to be taken to the streets, every street of the world

 

3.         The case needs to be made and carried out honestly, proactively, responsibly, and peacefully, from a place of love, hope, trust, optimism, and enthusiasm, not one of despair, fear, anger, hatred or hopelessness.

 

4.         The case matters because it is one factor, a truly fundamental factor, in determining the quality of life, even the very survival, of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions of human beings and other living beings in coming decades.

 

5.         The case needs to be made in a complete, clear way, separating weak, solicitous justifications from the essential, power-full, indisputable statistics, facts, and concepts which prove why the world will be a better place if the active participation of young people is fully and responsibly built into social life.

 

To expand the movement of young people who are “Making the Case,” the Partnership Initiative will develop educational materials and facilitate debate on the issue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Needs:

1) Target Funding Sources

2) Timeline

3) Continuation/Perpetuation Plan

4) Evaluation Strategy

5) Budget

6) People and Organizations Involved

 

6.7.2 The World Social Forum and the World Economic Forum – A Common Platform for the Global Youth Movement?

 

Globalization has now been a chief issue on the global agenda for several years.  Debate on the issue advances in January each year in two separate forums: the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the World Social Forum (WSF).  The WEF represents the economic agenda for resolving social and environmental issues around the world while the WSF represents the social agenda.  The WEF is an invitation-only event that gathers near 2500 people.  The WSF is an open event that was attended by near 100,000 people in January, 2003. 

 

Both the WEF and WSF are increasingly more open to youth participation.  The WEF has a “youth” program called the Global Leaders of Tomorrow that gathers 100 influential young leaders under 36-years-old each year.  The WSF has an Intercontinental Youth Camp which most recently enjoyed the participation of 30,000 people.

 

In 2001 the two Forums organized a video link to facilitate dialogue between adult participants at the two events.  The dialogue was unsuccessful due to shouting and an absence of amicable dialogue.  Since that date no official video link has been successfully organized between the two forums.

 

In December of 2002 the Global Youth ACTION Network proposed a video dialogue between youth at the two forums and it was positively received for January 2004. 

 

Hosting a dialogue on globalization between young participants at the WEF and the WSF might offer a way around the existing obstacles.  Young people from both forums have very different perspectives on how to solve the challenges presented by globalization.  Many prioritize economic solutions while others prioritize social solutions.  The solution to globalization will ultimately be a complex mixture of approaches.  Only dialogue and education about the problems and their solutions can create a plan of action and policy that will serve all people involved. 

 

By strategically positioning youth on the world stage as a harbinger of solutions to the globalization debate, young people will enjoy a boost of support.  The opportunity is high-level enough that media groups and grant-makers will likely lend their support.  At the same time the diversity represented by the WEF and the WSF together is wide enough that almost all spectrums of the global youth movement are likely to support the debate as well.

 

The Partnership Initiative will use the months leading up to this debate to rally youth movements of the world around a common pair of platforms and in the process push to make the case for youth and advance the debate on youth participation in global decision-making.

 

For more details on the debate see:

http://www.youthmovement.org/pi/672WEF-WSF-Youth-Dialogue.htm

 

Needs:

1) Target Funding Sources

2) Timeline

3) Continuation/Perpetuation Plan

4) Evaluation Strategy

5) Budget

6) People and Organizations Involved

 

6.7.3 Modeling a Permanent Structure

 

There are many different kinds of decision-making structures.  Conferences gather people for discussion.  Summits gather leaders for discussion and decision-making.  Forums host dialogue and debate.  Parliaments are permanent, democratically composed bodies dedicated to deliberation and decision-making.

 

One task of the debate on youth participation in global decision-making will be to design a permanent structure and give it a name.  (In 1954, shortly before he passed away Einstein called for the creation of a “World Youth Parliament.”)  The structure will not have legitimacy until the global youth movement is adequately informed and networked to support the system and make it feasible.   Therefore, today, all attempts to create such an entity should focus first on building infrastructure. 

 

To influence global decision-making in a fair and democratic fashion the current landscape of global governance will need to change.  The most powerful global institutions, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, suffer from a democratic deficit and will need to change if they are to adequately enable democratic participation from youth or any social group.  For these reasons development of a permanent global decision-making structure of youth must focus in part on democratizing global governance and global decision-making institutions.

 

As demonstrated by low youth-voter-turn-out in many countries around the world, such as the USA, representative democracy is an inadequate method of engaging young people politically.  For this reason youth decision-making structures should strive to use new technologies, new deliberation methodologies, and participatory democracy.  At the same time many young people are turned off by the partisan nature of politics.  For this reason youth decision-making structures should seek a new form of politics that employs new decision-making methodologies (such as Appreciative Inquiry) and invites participation in more diverse ways (such as art and ritual).

 

Building infrastructure for a global youth movement, democratizing international decision-making, and striving for global democracy will take many years of work that will unfold with three distinct strategies: 1) building infrastructure, 2) developing partnerships with existing global institutions, and 3) building new democratic global institutions.

 

For a deeper discussion on this point check out:

http://www.youthmovement.org/pi/673Modeling-a-Permanent-Structure.htm

 

Needs:

1) Target Funding Sources

2) Timeline

3) Continuation/Perpetuation Plan

4) Evaluation Strategy

5) Budget

6) People and Organizations Involved

 

            6.8 Second Year Programs and Other Future Projects

 

These programs will be developed during the second year of the Partnership Initiative after the proper relationships and resources have been created to make them feasible.

 

                        6.8.1 PI Partnership Program

 

A system to develop formal partnership between the Partnership Initiative and the UN, the OAS, the OECD, the WEF, the WSF, and all other international institutions.

 

                        6.8.2 Intergenerational Partnership Inc.

 

A non-profit or for-profit institution that provides consulting services to corporations and multilateral institutions on how to develop healthy intergenerational partnership.  This project could either be a consulting service provided by the Partnership Initiative or it could be a spin-off entity that has a life of its own.

 

                        6.8.3 World Council on Youth Participation

 

A global council of trusted leaders (young and old) and an international reporting system and that will defend the rights and the integrity of youth by:

 

  1. Highlighting the best institutional examples of youth participation
  2. Reporting the worst institutional examples of youth participation
  3. Examining or analyzing international events and programs to denying or award youth-friendly “seals of approval.”

 

                        6.8.4 Global Youth Platform

 

A global youth agenda that will influence global decision-makers through a poll of young people in every country of the world.  It will be developed through a survey that asks individual young people to name the three top global problems and recommend solutions to them.  The responses will be consolidated to create a platform and global action plan which will then grow in scope and support for presentation to leaders of the world at a Global Youth Convention 2012 (perhaps in year 2012).   To build the platform a global campaign will be launched to establish local, national, and regional youth platforms/agendas and councils in every part of the world.  The Global Youth Platform will be organized in partnership with the UN and other global institutions.  It will also build from the programs of the Partnership Initiative and work the media to educate the world about global youth priorities and solutions.

 

Key Questions:

How does this project link up with the existing GYAN initiative to promote National Youth Agendas?  How will the links between local youth agendas and national youth agendas be integrated into the global agenda?  Why is this a second year project when other parts of this project are being promoted at the local and national level?  Shouldn’t this project build off of the debate between the World Economic Forum and the World Social Forum?

 

6.9 The Global Youth Convention 2012

 

The Global Youth Convention 2012 mentioned above will be a major global event that synthesizes and presents the work of the global youth movement to the world.  It will rest upon the Global Youth Platform and serve as an opportunity to put youth voice on the world stage.  The date, format, and agenda of the Convention will not be determined until the Partnership Initiative is fully operating and the Global Youth Platform is in construction.

 

The Global Youth Convention 2012 may serve as a venue for a constitutional convention of a permanent structure dedicated to youth participation in global decision-making.

 

6.10 Additional Supporting Programs

 

The following programs have been suggested to strengthen the Partnership Initiative however no plan has yet been developed for their implementation and integration.

 

  1. An ongoing global polling system that measures youth opinion on current events
  2. A global letter writing, boycott, and protest network that defends youth rights and encourages social and environmental responsibility.
  3. A local to global democratically developed youth media system that empowers young people to deliver media to other young people via the Internet, radio, TV, etc.
  4. A global awards ceremony to honor young people who have started a project that significantly improved their communities
  5. A global endowment for the global youth movement that will be invested in socially responsible companies and monitored by a global youth network.
  6. A global participatory budget of the Partnership Initiative that invites grassroots youth networks to communicate with each other through the Internet and collaborate on the annual allocation of discrete funds.
  7. A global host and travel network that gives all citizens of the GYAN the invitation to stay with other GYAN members around the world.

 

7. Projected Timeline

 

Key milestones for the Partnership Initiative are outlined here.

 

June 1, 2003 – Networking letters are extended to the PI Key Stakeholders Network and PI Target Organizations

 

August 1, 2003 – At least 50 individuals and 50 organizations agree to PI participation.

 

November 1, 2003 – First edition of the DEWYN (Democratically Edited World Youth Newsletter) is published.

 

November 1, 2003 – First web-conference of the PIKSN to evaluate the progress of the PI

 

February 1, 2004 – At least 50 local youth networks on six continents have been identified and/or created

 

March 1, 2004 – Global Guide and Comprehensive Package of Youth Solutions will be published on the Internet and produced as a CD-Rom for distribution to Local Networks, PIKSN members, and the PI Target Organizations

 

May 1, 2004 – Website Youth-Watch.org will be publicly launched.

 

July 1, 2004 – First web-conference of the PIKSN to debate the concept of a permanent structure for youth participation in global decision-making