The Council of Europe Youth Action Week concluded on 1 July 2022 with a presentation by the participants of a call for action directed to national governments to step up the actions and policies to revitalise democracy with the participation of young people.
The 450 young people emphasised the need for public authorities to live up to their commitments and to effectively engage young people in “democratising democracy”. The role of education for democratic citizenship and human rights is central to seriously involving younger generations and entrusting them with improving democratic processes. The participants also recalled that a democratic culture should guarantee diversity of opinions and possibility of dissent and peaceful protest, and that conflicts in a democratic society ought to be resolved by non-violent means.
The 50-point call for action, echoing the 50 years of the Council of Europe youth sector, is centred around the four main themes of the Youth Action week and includes but is not limited to the following recommendations.
Revitalising democracy and access to rights:
- Create youth councils with real power/influence in every municipality
- Initiate human rights weeks of action and advocacy
- Organise open meetings between political trendsetters and young people
- Run awarenessraising campaigns on the links between the environmental crisis, mental health and democracy
Meaningful youth participation:
- Apply comanagement principles (young people take decisions together with governments) at national and local level
- Support the autonomy of youth organisations, including their financial sustainability and political independence
- Protect the rights to freedom of association, assembly and participation of young people
- Support dialogue and exchange through and in education.
- Promote youth participation in the governance of artificial intelligence (AI) and in internet governance
- Setting up digital platforms for exchanges between young people and decisionmakers
- Ensure free and easy access to the Internet and technology for all young people
- Improve educational systems through digital citizenship education and AI literacy, both in formal and nonformal education.
- Involve youth workers and youth leaders in peace processes
- Create spaces for young people to engage in dialogue through nonviolent methods
- Pay equal attention to all conflicts in Europe (and beyond).
The final text of the 50-point call for action including these and other recommendations formulated by young people will be available on the Youth Sector’s website by the end of this week.