African European Youth Conference - First edition in Turin

Torino Joint Communique’

Following the first edition of the “African European Youth Conference” that took place in Torino, Italy, on Saturday 22 October and Sunday, 23 October 2022

We, the young people from Europe, Africa and the Diaspora, united in the “Youth Core Group”, met in Torino (Italy) on the 22nd and 23rd October 2022 to convene the first edition of the African European Youth Conference.

Following the proceedings of the Conference, we hereby decided to issue the following Joint Communique’ by declaring what follows:
AU – EU relations

1. To create a road map of all the established tools of cooperation between Africa and the EU, consisting in a clear framework of follow up on the policies and strategies about development and its effects;

2. Create policies that are carried out by young people in a multicultural and multilevel way in order for the institutions to work side by side with young generations (according to the motto “think globally, act locally”);

3. Enhance cooperation and coordination among all interested actors (i.e. associations, NGOs and individuals) by creating a funded platform, aimed at connecting Europeans and Africans.

Peace and security

4. The European Union and African Union should have a common policy and a common approach regarding cooperation on security issues, by taking into account the multi-dimensionality of security from the economic, political and social point of view; in this regard, bilateral agreements between States must be avoided;

5. With reference to the above, we call for a better use of the already existing instruments, such as the African Peace and Security Architecture, rather than creating new tools that would bypass the multilateral dimension;

6. We urge for an immediate and systematic inclusion of youth in conflict prevention, peace mediation, peace building, diplomacy efforts, as foreseen by both the UN Resolution 2250 and the EU’s Youth Action Plan; in this regard, we call on creating a youth African - European consultation mechanism on peacebuilding and conflict prevention;

7. We recognise that the root causes of terrorism and violent extremism are linked to the absence of State and related basic services, such as education, employment and the general wellbeing, that create fertile grounds for recruitment of young people by
terrorist organisations. We urge, therefore, both the European and the African Union to prioritise these aspects;

8. Furthermore, we call for more investment on prevention and fighting of terrorism by providing more tools to regional institutions, including by training the African forces, providing equipment and exchanging information;

Migration and mobility

9. The European and African Union have to work together to achieve a Schengen-like area for students. Therefore, we urge to create an ad hoc committee to work on a swift and effective establishment of such an area; furthermore, the possibility to obtain the visa should not mostly depend on how the economic relations between continents work. Given the current lack of transparency of many European consular representations, we strongly stress the need for clear visa procedures, reactiveness and clear and timely answers on visa demands;

10. The mentioned ad hoc committee should be made up of Members of the European and of the Pan - African Parliament in equal proportion, as well as of civil society representatives;

11. We urge to reinforce the existing students’, professors’ and researchers’ exchange programmes by also creating a specific academic visa that should be easily accessible;

12. We have an educational aim to permit to understand that the African and European youth have a lot of common values; therefore, we call on strengthening the European- African social programmes, including promotion of projects as the “Youth Exchange”; in particular, we want to increase integration between the new African and European generations by reinforcing exchanges among youth networks, associations, organisations and platforms;

13. The ad hoc committee suggested above should strongly control the work of Frontex and similar agencies and entities. It should sanction any violations of human rights and monitor the private institutions dealing with migration management, without letting them bypass public authorities;

14. These are only a few examples of the unfair treatments that many youths are facing despite the so-called partnership. There is a need to engage in a partnership of mutual respect;

15. The Commission, furthermore, must work to achieve and overcome the issue of police brutality, without letting private institutions take the responsibility of checking on them;

16. Frontex and other institutions working on the coasts need to be controlled and sanctioned if any right or rule is broken. The European Union must have a common way to integrate migrants, on a multi-national level, assessing all African migrants and asylum seekers as well the possibility to peacefully integrate in case of their migration to Europe, assessing their human rights as happened in and done for Ukraine;

Industrial development and sustainable energy

17. The European Union should strengthen the partnership with the African Union by operationalizing the Global Gateway;

18. The EU should promote the African Continental Free Trade Area and African monetary union, with particular sensitivity towards economic initiatives that empower African women and youth and create decent job opportunities, thus bringing richness in terms of internal migration and wealth, diversification of regional value chain and global supply chain resilience, in addition to agriculture resilience;

19. The EU and AU should foster infrastructure investment in order to equilibrate the imbalances due to the urbanisation trend in Africa and promote decentralised development as an alternative growth model which considers the development needs of marginalised areas, including through public - private partnerships, to counter the current accumulation of wealth in few richened areas;

20. The trilateral cooperation between the African Union, the European Union and third parties can be a cost effective method to promote sustainable development considering the strengths of each actor and avoiding conflicts;

21. The EU and AU should support local agriculture to reach food sovereignty through low environmental impact production;

22. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights enshrined the accountability of companies and investors in African countries that need to be conscious of the growing focus on human rights both on land and at sea. The use of companies’ subsidiaries as a corporate veil should not avoid company’s accountability for human rights breaches, including the rights of the child, specifically child labour;

23. We call on the EU to promote an effective transfer of technology for the promotion of renewable energy excellency in Africa, with particular focus on solar energy and hydrogen;

24. We urge for an immediate, coordinated and unified reallocation of resources from the General Allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) through the creation of an ad hoc instrument that would allow for their rechanneling from the EU to AU;

25. The young people from difficult socio-economic backgrounds should receive fixed quotas of microcredits from the public and private institutions of EU and AU to promote their entrepreneurship projects;

Civil society and inclusion, human rights, youth participation and culture

26. We stress the importance of good governance and sound and accountable resource management, including efficient anti corruption policies;

27. We strongly stress the importance of inclusion as a holistic concept that foresees visa facilitations on both sides, participation of people with disabilities, justice for all and urge both AU and EU to setup appropriate frameworks for making inclusion a reality; in particular, we wish to raise the attention to the diaspora population, that is often facing discriminatory treatment on both sides;

28. We call for a reinforced youth participation in public life and governance. We especially highlight the importance of universal youth participation to elections. We urge, in this context, for an establishment of independent electoral commissions that pay attention to the effective inclusion of young people in the electoral processes; we also call to reinforce the EU initiative for an online youth consultations platform on the African-European partnership;

29. We stress the immediate need to promote and support education at all levels, including the need to enhance social media education to promote inclusion, fight disinformation and hate speech; in this framework, we attach particular importance to education systems that develop critical thinking and value curiosity;

30. We call on the AU and the EU to promote fora for political dialogue among youth; in this framework, we encourage the support to youth platforms as the one originated from the African European Youth Conference;

31. We recognise the importance of culture for self - awareness and urge for a swift restitution of cultural goods;

Climate change

32. In order to contribute meaningfully to the mitigation and adaptation of the effects of climate change and in order to ensure climate justice we believe that the EU and AU should allocate concrete funds to follow up on policy promises. Specifically we
- the allocation of 20 percent of all EU development cooperation funds to projects devoted to fighting climate change and its effects;
- the creation by the EU and AU of a joint fund to finance African and European private actors engaged on the African continent in the energy transition to green energies.

33. The EU and AU should strengthen partnerships for exchange and enrichment of the scientific and academic community in order to enable African universities and institutions to develop their own solutions and knowledge by drawing on European knowledge and practices, without being subjected to them.

34. We believe that as of now the EU and AU should work on a special procedure for "climate refugee" recognition and visa issuance in order to address the phenomenon of forced migration caused by climate change. We hereby declare to follow up on the content of this Communique’ and to transmit it to all the relevant stakeholders for any appropriate action on their side.

The Youth Core Group Torino, 23 October 2022

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