The EUSALP Youth Council builds bridges between the youth and politics and brings young people from the different Alpine regions together. For a year now, its thematic groups have collaborated on various topics to make the voice of the youth heard in the Alpine region. They have for example organised events on Alpine job creation with Italian regions, led a mobility survey at EUSALP Annual Forum 2021 to raise awareness on sustainable travel, created a blog to promote the Alps’ natural and cultural heritage and created a network between youth initiatives in the Alps.
We asked two members of the Youth Council to tell us about themselves, what has motivated them to join the Youth Council and how the Youth Council can contribute to make life better in the Alpine region. Thomas Wimmer, 21 years old, is a Master’s degree student in Computer Science at the Technical University of Munich. He enjoys all kinds of Alpine sports and is passionate about travelling by train. Timothy Sung, 22 years old, has moved to Tamsweg and Vienna from the UK. He currently works on climate change and international development issues with the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens.
ASP: What was your motivation for becoming a member of the EUSALP Youth Council?
Thomas: “I have already participated in several youth participation projects in the Alpine region (such as YPAC) and always loved the opportunity to connect with like-minded people in the Alps and help shape the region we live in. The possibility of creating an official body of EUSALP from scratch and helping to shape this project from the beginning sounded particularly interesting, and I wanted to contribute my experience to this process.
Timothy: Living in Tamsweg immersed me right into the heart of the Alps and there I discovered the amazing and distinctive communities, both human and natural, which are present in our beautiful region. To help promote this natural and cultural heritage, as well as contributing to its future direction and resilience in a changing world, motivated me to join the Youth Council to help make a difference, however small or large it may be.
ASP: The Youth Council started its work almost one year ago. When thinking about the past year in the Youth Council, what was your “best moment” that you are particularly proud of or happy (e.g. in terms of achievements) and why?
Thomas: There are some of these moments, but I think representing the Youth Council in the General Assembly at the Annual Forum in Nice and presenting the results of our founding months was among them. And of course, organising one of the most successful (in terms of number of participants) workshops of the Annual Forum together with Timothy, where we discussed the connection of local youth initiatives in the Alpine space.
Timothy: After a great team effort in setting up the Youth Council and building partnerships, it was great to hear the praise and recognition for the Youth Council and their participation at the 2021 Annual Forum in Nice from regional politicians and the willingness they showed to work with the youth. Going into the European Year of the Youth gave me great hope that the youth’s voice would be heard and supported.
ASP: If you think about the Alpine region, where do you see the main challenges that can be addressed by cooperation and what role could the Youth Council play?
Thomas: The regions in the Alpine region face the same or similar problems that do not stop at borders. This applies to all areas, from spatial planning to mobility. Cooperation can make work more effective on all sides. The Youth Council can play a crucial role in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the proposed measures, which may have an impact on future generations, by contributing to the discussions and shaping the Alpine Space with its own projects.
Timothy: Depopulation in rural areas is a growing problem, affecting both the cultural landscape, nature, and economy. Cross-border cooperation initiatives like EUREGIO can help improve transport links between these areas and create economic hubs between villages near the borders. The Youth Council can help provide a youth perspective to these official frameworks and initiatives, which is crucial in attracting the next generation to stay in these areas.”
Find out more about the EUSALP Youth Council and how to contribute to it: https://eusalp-youth.eu/