The voice of the youth
In order to counteract the risk of further alienation and a lack of communication between societies in Europe, we need to strengthen transnational exchange between societies and to actively involve civil society. This is why the German Chairmanship will maintain close contact with stakeholders from civil society on all areas of the OSCE agenda, with a focus on fostering youth exchange and young people's political participation.
The German Chairmanship will also build on initiatives by Switzerland and Serbia to involve young people. In order to strengthen young people's voice in the OSCE, three Special Representatives on Youth and Security from the Troika countries of Serbia, Germany and Austria have been appointed. In addition, Germany will support two European Youth Parliament forums and hold a two-part Young Leaders Conference for young decision-makers from politics, business and civil society in cooperation with private foundations. A closing event with young people from all over the OSCE area will be held towards the end of the German Chairmanship. Ideally, this will include members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
As recognized in 2015 Ministerial Declaration on Youth and Security - young people have a role to play in supporting participating States in implementing OSCE commitments in all three dimensions of the OSCE. The ‘potential of young people to contribute to economic, political and social development’, was as well reaffirmed in another Ministerial Declaration on Youth, adopted a year before.
The Future of the OSCE
The conference “The Future of the OSCE” was hosted by the German Chairmanship of the OSCE and was an opportunity for young decision-makers from more than 25 OSCE countries to meet in the Federal Foreign Office on 6 and 7 April. They gathered proposals on how to tackle the many different challenges in the OSCE area and how to increase the organisation’s ability to act. “The Future of the OSCE” was the focus of a two‑day conference hosted by the German 2016 OSCE Chairmanship in the Federal Foreign Office on 6 and 7 April in cooperation with the ZEIT‑Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius. The almost 60 participants from more than 25 OSCE participating States were welcomed in person by Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
In 2016, the German Chairmanship of the OSCE has supported the implementation of two large-scale youth events through the network of the Schwarzkopf Foundation and its biggest project, the European Youth Parliament (EYP). The two so-called International Forums of the EYP centered on topics according to the priorities set forward by the chairmanship, and brought together 150 youngsters aged 15 to 26 from OSCE countries.
The „Future of the OSCE“ was at the heart of the second part of the conference with young decision makers from 4-6 October organized by the German Delegation in cooporation with the Zeit-Stiftung.