From 25 to 28 October a group of about 20 representatives of a number of national youth councils as well as some international youth organizations have gathered in Helsinki to discuss on the topic of youth mainstreaming during a seminar organized by the Youth Forum. INES was represented by chairman Erik Breves.
Some well qualified experts presented their views on the issue. They included representatives of the Swedish and the Antwerp Government where youth mainstreaming is already practiced to some extent, as well as speakers from the Youth Councils of Flanders, Bavaria and Finland.
While many might be familiar with the idea of gender mainstreaming, the concept of youth mainstreaming is still a rather new one. We defined youth mainstreaming as a process for a meaningful engagement and broad integration of young people, giving a special attention to less advantaged youth, into structures, activities and decision making processes of social development on a constant basis, as well assessing the implications for youth of any planned action, including new laws and policies in all areas. It requires consistent, structured and committed partnership at every level, where young people are recognized as equal and valuable partners. A youth mainstreaming approach aims to support and encourage all young people to become actively involved in the society.
This goal is also a goal which we share and persue at INES by the means of our different activities. Although INES is an organization, where basically all decisions are taken with youth interests in mind anyhow, thus where the applicability of the concept might be questionable, it was interesting to hear about this approach which generally seems to be in our interest as well.