There is a disparity between the policy ideals of young people and the priorities of democratic decision-making. Young people feel particularly strongly about the long-term challenges and strategic orientations for their societies such as environmental sustainability, social justice, corruption and equal opportunities. However, they have relatively little influence on these strategic choices. The challenge is to distil a clear agenda from a multitude of specific concerns; an action plan to communicate to political leaders in order to influence public policy. Without this, youth protests may remain just this – protests, and not a constructive action for change.
THEME 3 - Influencing policies
Political change often begins on the local level. What are the possibilities for young people to take the initiative and influence the policies and the developments of their cities? Will they reinvent traditional models of democracy or become part of them?
Young people need to learn how to influence public policy by examining problems and finding potential solutions. However, they usually lack the power to implement their ideas. What are the challenges to develop and implement an action plan, what are the dos and don’ts? Will governments open up for youth and consider their suggestions?
Does dialogue between young people and elected officials lead to political change or does it produce empty words without any effect? What are the challenges and possibilities to move from discussion to action?
What is the prospect and added value of e-democracy? Can the participation of young people be increased if they are given the chance to express their opinions about bills and policies online?
Globalisation has increased the pressure for young people to connect globally in order to make their voices heard. What is the role of young people in international politics? How can transnational structures be set up to involve youth in international negotiations?