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HomeAsiaEuropean Union places youth at the centre of its cooperation with Eswatini

European Union places youth at the centre of its cooperation with Eswatini

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EU Ambassador to Eswatini, Ms. Dessislava Choumelova, said:

For more than 50 years, the EU has worked to make emaSwati’s daily lives better. From access to clean and potable water, free primary education funded by the EU between 2010 and 2015, improving the school curricula, support to smallholder farmers, building hospitals, classrooms, roads and dams, strengthening of governance, democracy and human rights, supporting the civil society, the EU has been a reliable and trustworthy partner of Eswatini, with interventions to match the emaSwati aspirations for peace and prosperity. Today, we open a new chapter in our cooperation, by committing ourselves to long-term support for the youth in line with our shared values: human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law and human rights.

The focus of the EU  Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) has been defined following extensive consultation with the Eswatini government, the 27 EU Member States and diverse key stakeholders, in particular civil society organisations, including women and youth bodies, local authorities, representatives of the private sector, the UN and other partners. The MIP is based on a clear understanding of the EU and Eswatini’s mutual interests and responsibilities and the country’s National Development Plan, reflecting a longstanding and reliable partnership. It responds to the context of existing political and socio-economic challenges that have been aggravated by climate change, COVID-19 pandemic, the civil unrest and delays in conducting an inclusive and comprehensive national dialogue.

The future actions under the MIP will aim to bring the EU support as close as possible to emaSwati by working, where possible, with and through civil society organisations and the private sector, while encouraging a continued comprehensive and inclusive dialogue among all national stakeholders. Concretely, the MIP focuses on empowering the disadvantaged youth and women with skills, income generation and employment through a series of interventions to improve access to formal and non-formal education and the quality and relevance of the TVET (technical and vocational education and training) system. Projects will be designed to support durable peace, long-term stability across the country and progress towards the SDGs.

In the EU, 2022 is the European Year of Youth, which provides a platform for the young generation to make its voice heard on how to build a better future that is greener, more inclusive and digital.  In October 2022, the EU has adopted a Youth Action Plan in EU External Action, a first-ever EU strategic partnership initiative to strengthen engagement with young people worldwide. The EU newly adopted MIP for Eswatini, resonates fully with the objectives of the Youth Action Plan to put youth at the centre of the EU external action for sustainable development, equality and peace. The Action Plan envisages partnerships to engage, empower and connect, aimed at amplifying youth voices in policy and decision-making, fighting inequalities, providing young people with the skills and tools they need to thrive and fostering opportunities for youth to network and engage with peers worldwide.

2023 will be the European Year of Skills which fits perfectly with the new EU programme in Eswatini. The MIP will focus on empowering the emaSwati youth and vulnerable women, to achieve their personal goals by acquiring professional skills leading to quality jobs, or starting their own businesses, to fully participate and contribute in a gender-balanced and inclusive society, where democracy, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law are respected and upheld. An inclusive, timely and comprehensive national dialogue, called for by the youth, but also by the EU and other international partners, would be a massive step forward in this direction.

The investment in Human Development and Social Inclusion in Eswatini falls in the scope of the Global Gateway strategy of the EU and will be implemented in partnership with the European Union Member States in a Team Europe approach.

Background

About the EU

The European Union (EU) is a political, economic and defence union of 27 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden), based on shared values and four freedoms of movement. They govern the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital within the EU. They are the cornerstones of the Single Market and the common EU currency. Many EU citizens see them as the greatest achievement of the European unification project, alongside peace.

The EU has delivered more than half a century of peace, stability and prosperity, helped raise living standards and launched a single European currency: the euro. More than 340 million EU citizens in 19 countries now use it as their currency and enjoy its benefits.

Thanks to the abolition of border controls between EU countries, people can travel freely throughout most of the continent, and it has become much easier to live, study and work in another country in Europe. All EU citizens have the right and freedom to choose in which EU country they want to study, work or retire. Every EU country must treat EU citizens in exactly the same way as its own citizens when it comes to matters of employment, social security and tax.

EU in Eswatini

In the last 20 years, the EU has contributed more than SZL 5 billion to development initiatives in Eswatini.  Through the Support to Education and Training Programme (SET), the EU contributed SZL 158 million towards free primary education, thus helping the country to achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 2 – universal primary education. The programme assisted over 163 000 children and helped the country achieve a 97% enrolment rate at primary school.

The EU has not only supported free primary education, but has built new schools and additional classrooms around the country. Between 2014 and 2021, the EU invested some 1.2 billion SZL in Eswatini focusing on agriculture, social protection and support to civil society and human rights projects. Our High Value Crop and Horticulture Project (HVCHP) has since 2015 supported smallholder farmer cold chain management efforts through provision of two refrigerated trucks for produce movement around the country. Three fresh produce pack houses at Msahweni, Lavumisa and Nhlangano areas have been constructed to decentralise packaging and processing centres for more than 1 800 farmers in the pack hub zones. Three cold stores were built in Mahlanya, Manzini and Mbabane markets for women vendors to improve the efficiency in product sourcing.

On human rights and gender, the EU has funded a number of civil society organisations (CSOs) for the promotion and protection of human rights, gender equality and women empowerment in the country, as well as to fight gender based violence and discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation,  and to support the sexual and reproductive rights and health of emaSwati.

Under infrastructure development, the EU has built state-of-the-art roads and bridges around Eswatini. In recent years, the EU has helped to overcome a worsening food insecurity situation in the country through cash transfers to the most vulnerable emaSwati (2200 households). Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the EU has contributed extensively to help Eswatini mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

About Multiannual Indicative Programmes (MIPs)

The new EU single financial instrument for external action, “Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation – Global Europe”, since November 2020 addresses the overarching Commission priorities, promotes the post-Covid-19 green, digital, inclusive and sustainable recovery and fully respects the commitments contained in the new instrument, particularly on climate action, social inclusion and human development, migration and forced displacement, as well as gender equality.

The Multiannual Indicative Programmes (MIPs) help secure financing for projects of common interest on a multi-annual basis in the context of Global Europe.

The country and regional Multiannual Indicative Programmes are adopted by the European Commission (EU executive) after consultation with the partner country/regional organisations, EU Member States and all relevant stakeholders. These documents establish the main priority areas for cooperation, specific objectives, expected results as well as the indicative allocations for the EU cooperation with partner countries and regions covered by Global Europe, i.e. the Neighbourhood, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and the Americas and the Caribbean. These Multiannual Indicative Programmes therefore constitute the long-term plans for the implementation of Global Europe in these countries and regions.

Global Europe and its Multiannual Indicative Programmes are implemented through a Team Europe approach. Team Europe brings together the EU, Member States with their respective financial and development institutions, including the European Investment Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and seek to mobilise the private sector in order to leverage investments for a greater impact. By pooling experience, expertise and resources from partners, it provides an opportunity to combine the most appropriate mix of implementing modalities to achieve objectives and obtain maximum results in programming, including through Team Europe Initiatives that underpin the implementation of Global Gateway strategy.

About Global Europe

Worth €79.5 billion (1.4 trillion SZL), Global Europe is the new main financing instrument for the EU’s external action for 2021-27. Global Europe covers partnerships with all third countries, except for the pre-accession countries and the overseas countries and territories.

The instrument will be used for international partnerships on sustainable development, climate change, democracy, governance, human rights, peace and security in EU’s neighbouring countries and beyond.

The total allocation for Global Europe for 2021-2027 is divided as follows:

  • €60.38 billion for geographic programmes (at least €19.32 billion for the Neighbourhood, at least €29.18 billion for Sub-Saharan Africa, €8.48 billion for Asia and the Pacific, and €3.39 billion for the Americas and the Caribbean);
  • €6.36 billion for thematic programmes (Human Rights and Democracy; Civil Society Organisations; Peace, Stability and Conflict Prevention; and Global Challenges);
  • €3.18 billion for rapid response actions.

A “cushion” of unallocated funds of €9.53 billion will top-up any of the above-mentioned programmes and rapid response mechanism, to address unforeseen circumstances, new needs or emerging challenges and promote new priorities.

Global Europe has replaced several external financing instruments and for the first time it unifies grants, blending and guarantees to promote both public and private investment worldwide in support to sustainable development through the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+). Investments will be backed by an up to €53.45 billion External Action Guarantee, which will also cover the pre-accession countries.

About Global Gateway

Global Gateway stands for sustainable and trusted connections that work for people and the planet, while tackling most pressing global challenges. The strategy aims to boost smart, clean and secure links in digital, energy, and transport and strengthen health, education and research systems through partnerships across the world. It is about increasing investments promoting democratic values and high standards, good governance and transparency, equal partnerships, green and clean, secure infrastructures and that catalyse private sector investment. These priorities and principles are integral part of the EU’s programming of international cooperation.

Search : europa.eu https://www.eeas.europa.eu/delegations/eswatini/european-union-places-youth-centre-its-cooperation-eswatini_en

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