With the Reykjavik Declaration, adopted at 4th Summit of Heads of State and Government (16-17 May 2023), the Council of Europe is moving ahead in developing standards internationally for working with and for young people. The oldest European political organization has been advocating for youth participation for many decades.

 Now, the Organisation is spearheading a novel approach by adding the integration of a Youth Perspective in the Organisation’s intergovernmental and other deliberations, as well as strengthening further youth participation in decision-making in democratic life. Youth participation and taking a youth perspective will increase effectiveness of public policies and strengthen democratic institutions through open dialogue and a strengthening of the role of young people’s civil society networks.  The Council of Europe will be also further promoting  and supporting actively the integration of a youth perspective in its member states where good practices and existing challenges will be analysed before offering possible tools and guidance.

 To do this, as a first step, the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ) adopted the document on Elements for a Council of Europe reference framework for a youth perspective, at its 50th plenary meeting (24-25 October 2023).

These conceptualise the Youth Perspective as:

  • an Attitude – Think with Youth;
  • an Experience – Learn from and with Youth;
  • a Skill – Participate with Youth;
  • an Action – Act with and for Youth.

The Youth Perspective builds upon the existing principle of co-management, the programme of the European Youth Centres and of the European Youth Foundation which are developing practices, benchmarks and standards for youth policies and youth work.

 The CMJ established a Working Group on the implementation of the integration of a youth perspective in the Council of Europe. The Group shall consist of representatives from the European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ), Advisory Council on Youth (CCJ), the European Youth Forum, the Youth Department, and will benefit from a scientific input from the Council of Europe/European Union Youth Partnership as regards the mapping of international and national experiences in this field. It shall be entrusted with the task of ensuring a strategic vision for the implementation of the youth perspective in the work of the Council of Europe and in its member States.

 Its task will be to prepare a Council of Europe reference framework on the youth perspective, which could include a policy document, methodological guidelines and an action plan for the integration of a youth perspective into the work of the Council of Europe and in member States.  The Group will also provide all the necessary support for the implementation of a youth perspective within the Council of Europe.