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Tianjin Declaration on the role ofY outh

in revitalising and substantiating the Asia-Europe partnership

We, Young Leaders from Asia and Europe, having participated at the Inaugural Conference

for Young Political Leaders in Asia and Europe, convened following the initiative adopted
during the 5th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) held in Hanoi, Vietnam in October 2004 by
the 38 Heads of State and Government and the President of the European Commission,
declare:

y oung people represent the best asset for our common future and the driving force of our

societies today and therefore we should be seen as an equal partner in creating,


implementing and evaluating policies that affect Youth. There can be no youth policies
without the active participation of youth representatives in the decision-making process. To
achieve such an objective, it is necessary to implement concrete measures to empower youth
at local, national and international levels. Young people of the ASEM countries have a
strategic role to play in further strengthening the partners hip between Asia and Europe.

Active participation of Youth requires: engagement, empowerment in order to enhance our


capacity to shape our present and future livelihoods.

Our cooperation should be based on efforts to deepen our common understanding


regarding the implementation of the fundamental values of the respect for human rights, of
the promotion of democracy and the rule oflaw, according to the UN Charter.

The World Programme of Action for Youth is proposed as the document expressing our
general consensus for the development of a cooperation strategy for Youth between our two
regt.ons.

y outh policies must become a priority of the ASEM agenda. Young people and youth
organisations should actively participate in the ASEM dialogues. The empowerment of
youth organisations should be seen as a fundamental element in ASEM cooperation.

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ASEM countries should support the promotion of open and constructive dialogues on the
sources of political and social violence and exchanges among Youth to overcome cultural,
religious and ethnic preconceptions and stereotypes. Cultural diversity should not be
considered as a source of conflict but rather as an asset to our common cultural heritage and
as a fundamental basis for modernity. Therefore it should be preserved and cherished among
and within our countries.

For this purpose, education programmes and youth activities should be inspired by the need
to promote development and protect political, social, economic and cultural pluralism in our
societies.

In this respect, social inc1usion does not only require intercultural understanding but also
active policies to gtiarantee equal rights and opportunities for all citizens regardless of their
cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds.

We encourage ASEM Leaders to actively promote and support:

1. A favourable environment for the establishment and development of democratic,


self-govemed and independent Youth associations and organisations, with access to
funding and institutional channels to ensure regular dialogue with Govemments and
be consulted on all matters ofYouth concem.

2. Gender equality and women's empowerment in our respective societies.


3. Actions to fully achieve the Millennium Development Goals, with a particular
attention to social inc1usion for all citizens regardless of their culture, religion, age,
ethnicity, gender and sexuality.
4. Human development through interculturallearning and dialogue across faiths.
5. Access to information and communication technologies (lCT) in order to empower
young people and c10se the digital divide.
6. The removal of the barriers that prevent the free mobility, both internally and across
borders, of young people participating in youth activities.
7. Mobility and exchanges of youth workers and youth activists within the fulfilment of
their tasks as agents favouring social and sustainable development, mutual

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understanding and help eradicate xenophobia. Particular attention should be given to
the full implementation of internationallaw regarding the situation of young refugees
and young displaced people.
8. Volunteerism, among others, as a central tool to assist marginalised and vulnerable
y outh. The establishment of an Asia-Europe network of volunteer se!Vlce

organisations to contribute to the exchange of ideas and best practises and to


increase the impact of these organisations in the field.
9. Participation ofYouth as active citizens in alllevels of decision making based on the
principles of democracy.
10. Training and capacity building initiatives for Youth organisations to promote
sustainable development, respect for Human Rights and education for mutual
understanding, while encouraging public authorities to facilitate the spreading of
these activities and ideas within society.
11. Concrete measures both in the formal educational systems and through non-formal

educational projects to promote the awareness and appreciation for cultural diversity
and effectively overcome intercultural barriers.
12. Promote the reduction of unfair barriers to trade, in order to eradicate hunger and

poverty, as well as bring about prosperity for all.


13. The recognition and support to youth organisations as non-formal education
providers in order to complement formal education in the strengthening of young
peoples' personal development.

Furthermore, we advocate the need to revitalise the Asia-Europe Youth Forum as an

important tool for networking and to raise awareness about the need to reinforce the
dialogue among Youth from Asia and Europe. The Asia-Europe Youth Forum must address
the needs for the development of political agenda for Youth, sectoral policies (according to
the priorities of the W orld Prograrnme of Action for Y outh) as well as Training and Capacity
Building initiatives. This platform of cooperation should be working in partnership with
national and lo cal administrations as well as with regional and international organisations,
business and private sectors. The European Youth Forum, the Asian Students Association
and the Asian Youth Council, current organisers of the Asia-Europe Youth Forum, are

inviting the All-China y outh Federation to play a constructive role in this partnership. The
Asia-Europe Foundation and the organisers endeavour to seek for the full involvement of all
youth organisations in the Asian region. The Asia-Europe Foundation should assure the
general coordination of the Asia-Europe Youth Forum.

Based on the prevailing conditions, the Asia-Europe Foundation will ensure that the
participation in the Asia-Europe Youth Forum activities will rely on the coordination of the
European Youth Forum for the European involvement. For the Asian side, we seek the

participation of regional youth platforms, youth organisations active in international


networks as well as govemmental agencies in charge ofYouth, on an equal basis.

At the same time we acknowledge the Asia-Europe Foundation for the crucial role that it
has played, since its foundation in 1997, to foster better understanding and cooperation
among y outh in Asia and Europe, promoting values of intercultural appreciation.
The Asia-Europe Foundation should continue to play the role of catalyst and facilitator of
cooperation among Y outh in Asia and Europe as well as interface in the necessary dialogue
between Govemments and Civil Society y outh organisations.
We encourage the ASEM Leaders to provide the Asia-Europe Foundation with the means to
further develop doser links with national administrations and regional bodies from Asia and
Europe taking advantage of its privileged position to coordinate initiatives concerning Youth
policies.

In particular, we strongly recommend the development of an Asia-Europe Youth portal as


the virtual meeting point and resource centre at the service of Youth.

We suggest ASEM Leaders to mandate the celebration of the 1st ASEM y outh Ministerial
meeting to discuss the practical steps to implement the actions recommended in this
document.
We entrust the Asia-Europe Foundation and the Asia-Europe Youth Forum with the
follow-up of the principles and recommendations stated in this document and in particular,
we encourage their representatives to approach the ASEM Governments to ensure the
submission of this Declaration, together with its report, to the VI ASEM Summit.

Acknowledgments:

We thank the Asia-Europe Foundation and the All-China Youth Federation for making the

organisation of this Inaugural Conference for Young Political Leaders in Asia and Europe
possible. We also thank the People's Republic of China as host of this meeting that has given
us the opportunity to share our experiences and knowledge in order to foster cooperation
and networking among Youth in Asia and Europe.
We also thank the European Youth Forum for its active role as a partner.
We appreciate the substantial financial support provided by the European Commission for
this Conference.

Finally we warmly welcome the announcement that the Kingdom of Denmark will host the
next Conference for Y oung Political Leaders in Asia and Europe in 2007.

Tianjin, People's Republic of China - 24thNovember 2005

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