Discussions during the 2019 Summer Academy “Youth is future, youth is Europe”, showed youth participation is still a very hot topic. The AER Subcommittee on Youth chaired by Hrvoje Kovač therefore aims to relaunch a discussion among regions, together with the AER Youth Regional Network YRN, in order to better define and improve youth participation in regions accross wider Europe.
A longstanding engagement for youth participation
AER has a history of advocating for youth participation in regional policymaking, in particular via the establishement of youth councils in regions. This was to engage young people in policy thinking and influence regional policymaking. Indeed participation requires space as is very well highlighted in this 2010 video from the AER Youth Regional Network. And by space it isn’t just physical space that is meant, such as meeting rooms, but also space in the institutions, in the decision making process.
The first network of regional youth councils in Europe
In order to help members of these regional youth councils all over Europe to learn from each other, engage at European level and further improve their action back home, AER created in 2008 the first Youth Regional Network in Europe.
The AER Youth Regional Network YRN discussed youth participation extensively, and published its Declaration on Youth Participation in 2012. The 2014 AER political report on youth participation also provides a list of good practices on youth participation.
However experience shows that official structures are not enough to ensure the quality and impact of youth participation. In this context experience sharing and mutual learning are essential to ensure better youth participation in regions accross wider Europe.
Workshop in Podčetrtek, Slovenia
The AER Subcommittee on Youth, chaired by Hrvoje Kovač, is organising a workshop on the occasion of the AER Autumn Committee Plenaries in Podčetrtek (SI). The topic of the workshop will be Youth participation in regional policy-making. It aims at identifying steps to implement meaningful and impactful youth participation in regions.
- There will be a focus on youth social capital, the need to harness it, and the question of how to harness it. How can processes and practices be developed to make better use of youth?
- The discussion during the workshop should lead to the development, at a later stage, of an AER Charter or AER position on youth participation, which will allow to create momentum, engagement and will be a practical tool to improve policies
- Hrvoje Kovač is also involved in a project with Estonia, which is developping a guide for civil servants to improve youth participation. AER members could contribute to this guide and members will have the possibility to use the guide in their regions.
Join the workshop and bring in your ideas to better define and really improve youth participation within AER!
Photo by Fox on Pexels.