Statement on the Council of Europe’s Youth Department proposed Budget Cuts
Earlier this month the Council of Europe’s Secretary General announced the possibility of dismantling the Council of Europe’s Youth Sector and replacing it with a voluntary partial agreement between the Member States following the announcement of the Russian Federation and Turkey to reduce their contribution to the Council’s budget.
As a youth network active in most of the Council’s Member States, YSAFE is extremely concerned by this situation. The Council of Europe has always been a pioneer not only in its work on Democracy and Human Rights but also in the meaningful engagement and empowerment of young people. Its reach and focus, targeting especially marginalized groups, including young people, has been admirable.
The support provided by the Council of Europe’s Youth Sector in furthering human rights-based education has been instrumental in creation of the positive change in the life of thousands of young people across the region, including work on YSAFE’s priority areas, such as sexuality education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and gender equality.
At a time of increasing tensions worldwide and of continuous threats to peaceful and democratic societies, the role of organisations such as the Council of Europe and the role young people play within them must not be underestimated. The rise of discrimination, disinformation, opposition to universal principles of human rights and gender equality and so many other distressing evolutions indicate the need for urgent action.
We call on the members of the Council of Europe to put their words into action, to support the core values on which our societies are built on and to remember their commitments enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals. We demand that the Council of Europe’s Youth Sector will not be disproportionately targeted and the burden of the funding cut was distributed between all sectors equally. There is no future on this planet without the inclusion of youth.
The YSAFE Steering Committee