“To improve youth participation, we must develop democratic institutions and build a more inclusive and cohesive society”, stated Thomas Andersson (Sweden, ILDG), Congress rapporteur on civil participation and thematic spokesperson on youth, at the meeting of the Advisory Council on Youth (CCJ) on 14 October 2019, in Strasbourg. “Youth empowerment is one of the Priorities of the Congress 2017-2020, because we acknowledge the contribution that young people can make to local and regional democracy and therefore the need to work in direct contact with them”, he added.
“To improve young people’s involvement in political life, the Congress itself started an initiative allowing youth delegates to take part in its sessions. In towns and regions, incentive measures can also be implemented, such as setting up youth councils, improving access to social rights and information, as well as using social media and new technologies to promote political participation”, he explained.
These topics will be on the agenda of the meeting of the Current Affairs Committee that will examine the terms of reference for a report on youth work and the role of local authorities on 29 October 2019. The aim is to strengthen democratic culture within the younger generations, a goal which is in line with those of the United Nations Agenda 2030.
Mr. Andersson also presented the revised “Code of Good Practice for Civil Participation in the Decision-making process”, the result of a joint effort by the Congress and the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe. The revised Code provides guidelines for local and regional authorities to facilitate civil participation in political decision-making processes, insisting that all groups with particular interests and needs, such as young people, take part in local government policy and projects, not only in a consultative capacity but as partners.