Ekvalis participated on the Conference to discuss the follow-up of the Democracy Here | Democracy Now youth campaign in Strasbourg, France (January 30- February 03, 2023). In this context, 80 young activists, representatives of the youth civil society and of national authorities come together in the Evaluation and follow-up conference to take stock of the results of the youth campaign “Democracy Here | Democracy Now” and to plan the follow-up in 2023 and beyond in all its aspects together.
Our program coordinator Angel Dimitrievski participated in several thematic working groups and workshops that aimed to make plans and strategize further on how the Democracy Here-Democracy Now follow-up will take place in the Council of Europe member states.
During the Conference we were able to learn more about how the Democracy Now: Call for Actions will be further used for put highlight on democracy development into each member state. Ekvalis also participated on co-creating this document last year at the Youth Action Week in Strasbourg. As part of the working group on Revistalising Democracy and Access to right, Ekvalis gave inputs into which 3 actions from the set of 15 thematic actions should be put more emphasis on and how could the Council of Europe implement those actions and support NGOs and institutions alongside. On the concrete actions of the follow-up for the campaign, our program coordinator Angel Dimitrievski took part in the working group on Training and Capacity Building in which the future steps for educational and capacity building activities in regards to democracy was discussed.
At the conference we were also able to present the work that Ekvalis does for advancing democracy. Specifically, we presented and networked with several organisations and even institutions by presenting our Democracy Here- Democracy now EYF funded project “Perspectives on Gender and LGBTIQ+ Youth Movements“ and the current project YOUth ACT for Democracy funded by the National Endowment for Democracy.
As part of the conference, we were able to network with many NGOs who carry out meaningful democracy work. We especially appreciated the learning and exchange of experiences on the workshop led by our colleagues at Belarusian Youth Council RADA who hosted a discussion on Campaigning for democracy in non-democratic environmentsand in which we learned more about the work under the Belarusian regime, political persecution of activists, exile of NGO activists and together we worked on discussing two advocacy strategies.
The participants also got to hear on the plans of the Council of Europe and other stakeholders when it comes to involving the conference participants in its follow-up. Some of the speakers included: , Matjaž Gruden, Director of Democratic Participation, Council of Europe, Spyros Papadatos, Chair of the Advisory Council on Youth, Véronique Bertholle, Deputy to the Mayor of Strasbourg, María Rodríguez Alcázar, President of the European Youth Forum, Ambassador Fakhraddin Ismayilov, Permanent representative of Azerbaijan and Chair of the Rapporteur Group (GR-C) of the Committee of Ministers on Education, Culture, Sport, Youth and Environment Dāvids Garšva, European Steering Committee for Youth and Antje Rothemund, Head of the Youth Department, Council of Europe.
Ekvalis will continue to implement activities related to democracy with a specific focus on revitalizing pluralistic democracy. At the moment we are implemented several initiatives under the YOUth ACT for Democracy project.