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Grassroots projects to give a voice to young people in Europe

Youth Delegates Strasbourg, France 29 October 2019
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Grassroots projects to give a voice to young people in Europe

A large number of local projects implemented by youth delegates from 39 Council of Europe member states were presented to Congress members on 29 October 2019 during the 37th session of the Congress. “In all our activities, we drew on the principles of the revised Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life,” they said while outlining the various projects.

Summer camps, civics labs and exchanges had been held by youth delegates from Albania, Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Moldova and San Marino. Those from Bulgaria, Italy, Portugal and Ukraine had chosen to link their projects with human rights projects under way at the EU and the UN. Others in Malta, Serbia and Switzerland had interacted with university researchers and local decision-makers through platforms.

The youth delegates from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Denmark and Norway had opted to involve universities to bring an academic point of view to their projects. The projects carried out by the youth delegates from Azerbaijan, Belgium, Finland, Iceland, Italy and Latvia had also been aimed at schools and had tied in with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which marked its 30th anniversary in 2019. Some of the projects had targeted vulnerable children with workshops for IDP or migrant minors.

The various activities had enabled them to establish partnerships at local, regional and international level, while drawing on the network of associations and NGOs, with which the majority of them co-operated regularly. The youth delegates also underlined the importance of social media, videos and blogs as tools that enabled them to share their experiences as youth delegates with a wide audience and raise their peers’ awareness of local democracy.

The youth delegates proposed the drawing up of a formal guide on youth participation in politics, the setting up of public forums such as youth councils, the promotion of awareness-raising campaigns covering the work of the Congress and the Council of Europe and increased use of social networks by mayors and municipal councillors for communicating with young people about issues concerning their local areas.

“The Congress ‘Youth delegates’ programme encourages participation by young people and provides a unique opportunity for speaking in an international political body,” they said. To move the process forward, they proposed that youth delegates be granted a non-binding right to vote. “By granting us that right, you would also be conveying the broader message that young people’s votes matter.”

 

 

** 37th Session of the Congress **

File 37th Session - Agenda - Videos and photos – Mediabox interviews