The 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 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 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.
The Congress published a leaflet on the report Youth work: the role of local and regional authorities, adopted in February 2021. The leaflet contains a presentation of the main recommendations of the report. It was prepared in collaboration with youth delegates in the framework of the Congress' "Rejuvenate Politics" initiative, which aims to promote the participation of young people in public life and decision-making at local and regional level. Since 2014, this initiative has enabled young delegates from the 46 Council of Europe member states to contribute to debates at Congress sessions and committee meetings.
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Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life
Young people must be included in democratic structures and processes, have their voices heard and make decisions on issues that impact on them and their lives. Their active participation is essential if we are to build more democratic, caring and prosperous societies.
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe is convinced that it is at local and regional levels that a culture of youth participation can most efectively take root and thrive.
The revised Charter contains principles, best practices and guidelines to enhance youth participation at local and regional levels. It also sets out the basic requirements for this participation to be meaningful, i.e. young people must have the necessary rights, means, space, opportunity and support.
Booklets available in:
English - French - German - Italian - Azerbaijani - Belarusian
Bulgarian - Greek - Hungarian - Romanian - Serbian
Spanish - Turkish - Ukrainian
Albanian - Georgian - Polish - Estonian - Russian - Swedish
- The future of youth in rural areas - responsibilities of local and regional authorities
- Children and sustainable cities: guidelines and booklet for local and regional authorities
- Youth work at local and regional levels
- Social rights of young people: the role of local and regional authorities
- Forever young? The role of youth policies and youth work at local and regional levels in supporting young people’s transition to autonomy and working life
- Voting at 16 – Consequences on youth participation at local and regional level
- Bringing down barriers to youth participation: adopting a lingua franca for local and regional authorities and young people
- Empowering Roma youth through participation: effective policy design at local and regional levels
- Youth and democracy: the changing face of youth political engagement
- Integration of young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods
Since October 2014, the Congress has invited young people from different backgrounds to take part in its sessions, to have their say in the debates and to exchange with Congress members on the issues on the agenda.
- Youth delegates: Call for applications to participate in the 2023 edition of the "Rejuvenating Politics" initiative
- Rejuvenating politics: youth delegates' projects praised by Congress members
- Call for applications: Congress is looking for a trainer for youth delegates in 2023
- “Empowering next generation empowers all of us” says Congress Rapporteur on rural youth
- Reinventing democratic institutions with youth participation
Congress reference texts on youth participation
Reports, Recommendations, Resolutions...
List of National Delegations to the Congress (including Youth delegates)