"Youth" activities of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities

The Council of Europe Congress has long been committed to promoting the active participation of young people in civic life as a means of securing social cohesion and anchoring democratic principles in a society based on respect for human rights.  This approach was borne out by the adoption of its European Charter on the participation of young people in municipal and regional life in 1992.

But as highlighted in the Congress’ 2012 report on “Youth and democracy: the changing face of youth political engagement”, in the 21st century, young people are engaging differently.  There is a wide gap between political institutions’ and young people’s understanding of participation.  During the Congress’ 2014 conference on promoting youth participation, it became clear that institutions have difficulty in grasping not only what these new forms of youth participation are but also the issues that mobilise young people.  For their part, young people are facing unemployment, job insecurity, difficult transitions to work and adult life.  They are increasingly disenchanted and cynical and feel marginalised from the political process.

The active participation of citizens in democratic structures and representative institutions is decisive in guaranteeing the legitimacy, credibility and operation of democratic systems.  The Congress is cooperating with young people and local and regional authorities to find a way forward towards achieving the meaningful participation of young people.


Liisa Ansala: “The project on citizen participation in Armenia broke the ground for future work on participatory democracy” [05/12/2016]
“The project on consolidating local democracy in Armenia and strengthening local councillors’ leadership, implemented under the Council of Europe Action Plan for Armenia, has made a critical impact in this country’s local communities,” stressed Congress Vice-President Liisa Ansala at the project’s final conference in Yerevan on 5 December. She welcomed the workshops and seminars that reached almost 400 councillors and young local leaders over the past three years, as well as step-by-step action to engage local residents in decision making and community building in the municipalities of Akhtala, Artik, Urtsadzor and Vardenik. “The space of ‘learning by doing’ created by this project, the good practices of community meetings and peer-to-peer exchanges will live on, spread and repeated in other communities, thus advancing further participatory democracy,” she said. 
Eunice Campbell-Clark: “We must bring down barriers to youth participation” [01/12/2016]
“The Congress promotes youth participation and empowerment” stated Eunice Campbell-Clark, Vice-President of the Congress, in a video message delivered on the occasion of the European Youth Festival 2016 on the theme “Digital creativity improving society”, in Graz (Austria) on 30 November 2016. Recalling that this fifth jubilee year of the European Youth Award takes place under the patronage of the Congress, she outlined Congress actions in this field. “We must bring down barriers to youth participation. This is why the Congress adopted a resolution in 2015 in which we asked local authorities to create the opportunities for young citizens and elected representatives to enter into dialogue in order to strengthen the links between them and to explore participation modalities such as co-management” Eunice Campbell-Cark explained. “The Congress also promotes youth participation and empowerment within its own body by inviting youth delegates from Council of Europe Member States to attend Congress sessions and by cooperating with them so that they can develop projects together with their local authorities at home” she added. Finally she welcomed the addition, among the 13 outstanding solutions reflecting the Council of Europe’s goals selected by the jury, of a special category on the refugee movement, integration, and migration. 
Post-monitoring dialogue, cooperation programmes, fight against radicalisation and promotion of intercultural dialogue among the main Congress activities in 2016 [01/12/2016]
Twice a year the Secretary General of the Congress presents the most significant activities and achievements of the Congress to the Committee of Ministers. On 30 November 2016, Andreas Kiefer underlined in particular the signature of two more roadmaps as a follow-up to Congress monitoring reports (Armenia in June and Republic of Moldova in July), the successful implementation of the local democracy dimension of the Council of Europe Action Plans in Ukraine, Armenia, Albania and in the regional programme for the six countries of the UE neighbourhood policy, the launching of an Alliance of cities and regions to fight radicalisation during a first Summit of Mayors in Aarhus and its consolidation during the second Summit in Rotterdam, the elaboration of a toolkit for intercultural and interreligious activities by municipalities as well as the enhanced participation of young delegates in the work of the Congress. As written support to his communication, the Secretary General has made available a written report of activities between mid April and mid November 2016. 
[01/12/2016]  Young leaders in Ukraine promote local democracy
[10/11/2016]  World Forum for Democracy: parliaments urged to throw their doors open to young people
[04/11/2016]  Artik, Urtsadzor, Vardenik and Akhtala: peer-to-peer exchanges to strengthen citizen participation at local level in Armenia
[16/11/2016]  Ukrainian young local leaders inspired by German Mayors to build enhanced local governance
[07/11/2016]  Congress President meets with young Ukrainian local leaders
[27/10/2016]  Call for Tenders: Provision of facilitating, coaching and training services on local democracy in Ukraine
[20/10/2016]  Young people to the Congress: “Let us create partnerships”
[18/10/2016]  31st Session: Congress showcases youth projects as part of its initiative “rejuvenating politics”
[17/10/2016]  International Day for the Eradication of Poverty: “Europe’s local and regional authorities are the key providers of social welfare,” Congress President says
[08/07/2016]  Young local leaders in Ukraine propose new local initiatives
[15/06/2016]  Current Affairs Committee meeting
[27/05/2016]  Young local leaders in Armenia determined to make positive changes in their communities
[17/05/2016]  Celebration of Europe day in Vinnytsia: “Council of Europe values are our common heritage and belong to all of us”
[17/05/2016]  Gudrun Mosler-Törnström urges students in Ukraine to build on education for a better future
[14/04/2016]  The Secretary General reports on the activities of the Congress to the Committee of Ministers
[11/04/2016]  Young local leaders committed to enhance local democracy in Armenia
[20/05/2016]  Ukraine: “Regional seminar for young local leaders on local and regional democracy” in Vinnytsya


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