Twice a year the members of the AER Committee on Culture, Education and Youth gather in plenary meeting. This is the opportunity to set goals for cooperation through the elaboration of a joint work programme and to evaluate progress every six months.
On the occasion of the Spring 2018 Committees’ plenaries in Arad, AER members identified joint actions they wanted to implement with fellow regions. A year later it is time to evaluate progress, celebrate achievements and share experiences!
During the elaboration of the work programme in Arad, planned activities were organised in 3 categories:
Good practice sharing
The below progress report was compiled for the Spring 2019 plenary meeting in Örebro. It gives an overview of the situation, 1 year after the adoption of the work programme.
“Road to the Future”: ongoing
Road to the Future” is a project submitted under the Erasmus+ programme, within the Key Action 3 – Support for Policy Reform, and it is designed around the European Parliament Elections in 2019. First, it will encourage debate among young European on the European elections and increase young voters turnout. This will be realised through training of youth activists, leaders and the development of tools and resources. After the elections, the project will continue the training for trainers and mentors, based on the ideas collected during the first phase. This will ensure that young people gain the knowledge, skills and tools necessary to be engaged for the future of Europe at the local level.
The lead partner is JEF Europe – Young European Federalist. AER represents local and regional authorities. The consortium is composed by 21 organisations, mainly national JEF associations.
AER is responsible to connect young people and decision makers, especially via the involvement of the YRN.
“Road to the Future” will last 16 months, from September/October 2018 to December 2019/January 2020, depending on its actual start.
Together for Cohesion: let’s rEUnite! project: ongoing
The project will launch an integrated campaign “Together for Cohesion: let’s rEUnite!” with ongoing press functions and an activity mix which will allow us to achieve indirect and direct reach of the target audience.
The campaign centers on the stories of locals in regions in each of the five selected countries (Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Italy and Spain), as a highly-relatable focal points to convey the positive impact of Cohesion policy in people’s everyday lives.
The project is led by AER with the international communication agency MC Group (DE). The application was submitted to the DG Regio on the media calls for proposals.
The project is part of AER’s work on Cohesion Policy.
Bridging the gap project: cancelled
Dialogue between elected politicians and Youth representatives aims to promote the active participation of young people in democratic life and foster debate around the major issues affecting youth. After several exchanges, the project initiator, the Province of Vojvodina (RS), and the potential coordinator, Timis County Council (RO), agreed that there the conditions to finalise the submission were not met.
Silver Economy Awards (SEED): finished
The Silver Economy Awards aim to catalyse a sustainable European digital Silver Economy movement by promoting and rewarding innovative solutions to improve the quality of life for over 50s. The Awards are an opportunity to raise awareness around the lesser-known notion of the Silver Economy. They illustrate the breadth of the consumer markets and the public spending involved and the size of the opportunities available for entrepreneurs, investors, public authorities and civil society.
This year the Silver Economy Awards replaced the traditional AER Regional Innovation Award. The first Awards Ceremony took place on May 2018 in Brussels.
SEED is a two-year project: 10/2016 to 09/2018
Event: EU funding for Croatian & Albanian regions: finished
The event on EU funding for Croatian regions, hosted by Varaždin (HR) and Committee 3 President Radimir Čačić, and the event on EU funding for Albanian regions, hosted by Korcë (AL) and MEG member Ana Verushi brought together about 70 participants, both members and non members of AER to:
-hear about AER’s activities
-learn more on AER services for projects and services
-obtain information on the areas of cooperation with EU
-get a relevant update on the current and forthcoming EU funding opportunities
-become aware of the successful experiences of project applicants
Good Practice Sharing
Civil servants exchange programme: ongoing
This programme will be a follow-up programme of the former Centurio programme, which was implemented for several years in AER and was very successful. The programme supports innovation in the public sector & capacity building by allowing civil servants to be placed in another region for a few months, learn processes and practices there and share their experience when they come back. The action is led by Committee 3 President Radimir Čačić, Varaždin (HR)
Identify best practices on Youth entrepreneurship: ongoing
Committee 3 would like to exchange good practices on youth entrepreneurship and identify best practices in Europe.The idea is to develop curricula, which could be applied in different region.
EMAX, a Swedish organisation, which organises innovation camps presented their work on the occasion of the Autumn Committee 3 plenary meeting. They will also organise a Breakfast Debate on youth entrepreneurship on the occasion of the Spring 2019 plenary meetings in Örebro (SE).
Equal opportunities Committee 3: ongoing
Members expressed the intention to follow up on activities on culture and health as well as wellbeing, education and culture to fight obesity.
The AER Transversal Group on Equal Opportunities held
AER Training on youth mobility at European College of Cluny: ongoing
In the framework of the cooperation with the European College of Cluny, AER will offer
Regular meetings are taking place between AER
Raise awareness on added value for members of
Eurodyssey programme: ongoing
Promote youth mobility for all across wider Europe via the Eurodyssey programme & ensure all AER members are aware of the opportunities the programme offers. The Catalonia President will lead the action and the Eurodyssey Steering Committee and Eurodyssey members will participate as well.
International Migrants Day: Promoting Diversity in Regions: finished
The three AER committees and the AER Task Force on Migration worked closely together to develop messaging ahead of the International Migrants Day: Promoting Diversity in Regions event in Barcelona on Tuesday 18 December 2018.
Participants shared their experiences and good practices in diversity management at regional level, including examples of policies, programmes and projects promoting inclusion, participation in civic, economic and political life, positive intercultural interaction and the sense of belonging.
Autumn Plenary, Vojvodina: finished
The 2018 Autumn Committee Plenaries were hosted by the region of Vojvodina in Serbia from 25 – 27 September 2018. A detailed recap of all the meetings that took place is available here.
Plenary meeting: Committee for Culture, Education and Youth : finished
On the occasion of the 2018 Autumn the Committees Plenary meetings in Vojvodina, the Committee on Culture, Education and Youth a discussion took place on the launch of the Civil Servant Exchange Programme, an initiative proposed by Radimir Čačić, President of this Committee. This programme will be hosted at the European College of Cluny, in the region of Bourgogne, France and is expected to be operational by 2020.
Panel discussion at the Vojvodina plenaries on Open data for regional development: finished
On the occasion of the Autumn plenaries in Vojvodina, the panel discussion “Open data for regional development: governance, start-ups and innovation” took place.
The discussion focused on how public institutions collect and generate enormous quantities of data in areas as varied as unemployment, air pollution, hospital consultations etc and how this data can best be re-used to create or improve both public and private services. There is a need to change the political perception of Open Data and instead view it as opportunity for policy-making.
Mutual learning event on the Sharing Economy:
Each year Brussels Capital proposes a mutual learning event on a current and transversal topic. On December 4th 2018, Brussels Capital organised a mutual learning event on the sharing Economy together with Catalonia, in Brussels, Brussels Capital Region (BE). This event organised upon the invitation of Committee 1 President Jean Luc Vanraes, aimed to gather experiences from all three AER Committees and regions were welcome to share inputs and regional examples.
The event brought together policymakers, entrepreneurs, academics and representatives of the third sector for vivid exchanges. A follow up article with updates on what happened in Brussels was published.
Activities around youth mental health: finished
On the occasion of the 2018 Spring plenaries in Arad members decided to refocus the cooperation, which initially was oriented on project development (see here the 2017-2018 action on youth mental health) activity on good practice sharing and awareness raising through
-gathering of prevention resources
-potential topic for a future Summer Academy
These activities have yet to be organised, regions are welcome to take the lead.
Youth Mental Health: participation in “Young Carers in a Changing World” event: cancelled
Over the Summer the AER Secretariat has been in touch with the President of the Greek Carer Network (EPIONI), who is also a board member of EUFAMI – European Federation of Associations of Families of People with Mental Illness, and of the World Federation for Mental Health.
EPIONI is organising an event at the Office of European Parliament on Mental Health in Athene (GR) the 28 September 2018: “Young Carers in a Changing World” and invited AER members working on youth mental health to speak at this conference. Members involved in youth mental health were not available to contribute to this event.
AER Summer Academy 2018 – Cultural Heritage for Regional Attractiveness: finished
This aim was to create opportunities for inter-cultural exchanges & debates among people from European regions, supporting citizens understanding of the relevance of culture & cultural heritage as a means of promoting social inclusion, equality, combating discrimination as well as increasing the attractiveness of their regions.
LGBTIQ rights: cancelled
Members at the Committee 3 plenary meeting expressed interest in working on LGTBIQ rights and sexual identity in education systems. After the 2018 Spring
Sex and relationship education in schools: cancelled
Members at the Spring 2018 meeting expressed interest in exchanging experiences on sex and relationship education in schools. After the 2018 Spring plenaries no concrete initiatives were identified. In case this topic is still relevant to members steps for implementation need to be defined at the Spring 2019 plenary meeting.
Virtual reality: planned
Creation of an informal network of regions with a focus on immersion and visualisation of world heritage and cultural heritage. Best practices, exchange of methods and exchange of “products”, I.E. VR, AR & MR visualisations of different cultural heritages, museums and schools. Gävleborg (SE) will lead the action, other supporting regions are Västragötaland (SE) and Västernorrland (SE).
Cooperation around Cultural Routes: finished
Västra Götland is particularly interested in developing cooperations around walking and hiking paths along cultural routes through the path of St Olov. Västra Götland is a “missing link” in the path from Santiago de Compostela to Nidaros and is developing this path. The path should be completed by 2031 for the big celebration of St Olov.
Members have been made aware of initiatives around cultural routes. So far no additional activities were planned. In case this topic is still relevant to members steps for implementation need to be defined at the Spring 2019 plenary meeting.
Digitalisation in education: cancelled
Nordland (NO) expressed interest in working around the topic of digitalisation in education. The AER Secretariat disseminated information via the website and mail on opportunities in this field, in
Cohesion Policy Activities: ongoing
Members agreed in September 2018 that the Task Force on Cohesion will now
– Convene joint advocacy: Bureau Members adopted an updated position on the European
– Advocate towards the European Union and
– Work in alliance with other relevant stakeholders and European associations
Flevoland (NL) is coordinating the implementation of the action and the cohesion policy task force help implement the action.
AER Bureau Task Forces
The 2018 Spring Bureau established the creation of Task Forces on dedicated topics. These Task Forces will gather examples, identify and formulate policy messages which will be brought together in position papers which will then be used for advocacy. Members who would like to contribute to one of the below Task Forces should contact AER Coordinator for Advocacy & Institutionnal Relations Vania Freitas
-Task Force on Food
-Task Force on Cohesion Policy
-Task force on Digitalisation
-Task Force on Migration
-Task Force on Social Innovation
Joint initiatives for advocacy
Member regions can decide to initiate joint actions and find partners among AER members. Regions can get support from the Secretariat to connect with other regions, get an overview of existing legal framework and identify relevant actions, target institutions. The AER Secretariat will also organise Breakfast Briefings to help regions organise their advocacy activities.
The Committees’ work programmes and the AER action Plan
The developement of the Action Plan is a collective process to enable all participants to specify needs and decide to initiate activities which add value for their region. The principle is the following: as long as an action fits with the AER values, is in line with the AER priorities and has support from other regions, it can be included in the Committees work programmes. The work programmes are developped in Spring each year.
The AER action plan is the consolidation of the three Committees’ work programmes with all other activities led by the Bureau and the Executive Board. It is adopted at the General Assembly.
Members can propose new joint initiatives at any time during the year, these are then approved by the Executive Board and included in the Committees work programmes and the AER action plan.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash