Author: project_manager

How young people can become agents of change?

The World Youth Report on “Youth and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, prepared by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), examines the mutually supportive roles of the new agenda and current youth development efforts. The report provides insight into the role of young people in sustainable development in the context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and related frameworks, in particular, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and the World Programme of Action for Youth.

The Report considers the role the 2030 Agenda can play in enhancing youth development efforts and examines how evidence-based youth policies can help accelerate youth-related objectives. It explores the critical role young people have in the implementation of sustainable development efforts at all levels.

Advancing Youth Development

Far from being mere beneficiaries of the 2030 Agenda, young people have been active architects in its development and continue to be engaged in the frameworks and processes that support its implementation, follow-up and review. The adoption of the 2030 Agenda represented the culmination of an extensive three-year process involving Member States and civil society, including youth organizations, in the development of specific goals and targets—and marked the beginning of a 15-year journey to achieve sustainable development by 2030.

Today, there are 1.2 billion young people aged 15 to 24 years, accounting for 16 per cent of the global population. The active engagement of youth in sustainable development efforts is central to achieving sustainable, inclusive and stable societies by the target date, and to averting the worst threats and challenges to sustainable development, including the impacts of climate change, unemployment, poverty, gender inequality, conflict, and migration. While all the Sustainable Development Goals are critical to youth development, this Report focuses
primarily on the areas of education and employment, underlining the realization of targets under these Goals as fundamental to overall youth development. Issues related to other Goals—including gender equality, good health, reducing inequality, combating poverty and hunger, and action on environmental issues and climate change—are also addressed briefly within the scope of the Report.

 

What triggered their engagement for climate change?

Why is this generation so committed to climate change? From a young age, they have heard about climate change, they are also seeing its impact in their daily lives. Nathan, a youth, got involved in Youth and Environment Europe, a platform which brings together many European youth organisations active in environmental protection; the revelation moment came directly from his homeland when he saw the Alps melting.

All of them want to make something meaningful in their life, connecting their studies and their interest in nature and environmental issues. This is the case of Alex, who has a masters’ degree in Conservation and got active in an NGO to build bridges between young people and policy-makers at European Level. “At the EU level there wasn’t a lot of youth participation in environmental decision-making and we really wanted to bring people together“. This is how he got engaged with Generation Climate Europe (GCE), an environmental coalition of the main youth-led organisations and networks active at the European level.

How to get involved

Youth are the torchbearers of the 2030 Agenda – young people all over the world are contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  Here are a few easy ways you can get involved:

  1. Get involved in a local NGO

Participating in a local NGO is a worthwhile way of supporting sustainable development efforts. For inspiration, read about the NGOs featured as case studies in the Report – from Restless Development, which helps youth participate in national decision-making processes related to the SDGs, to The Butterfly Project, which gives young women in India the confidence to demand change in their local communities, there is an incredible range of NGOs all doing amazing work globally to advance the SDGs.

  1. Get engaged in local politics

The engagement of young people in local politics is crucial to raising awareness of youth-related issues and demanding change.  Read about the Not Too Young to Run campaign, an initiative anyone can join to support young people’s right to run for office:  http://www.nottooyoungtorun.org/

  1. Join Youth4Peace to help promote and maintain international peace and security

Youth4Peace is an UN-led initiative that supports young people’s participation in peacebuilding.  It recognizes that young people play active roles as agents of positive and constructive change and helps them achieve this.  Get involved here: https://www.youth4peace.info/

 

References

Youth and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development | United Nations For Youth. (n.d.). Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://www.un.org/development/desa/youth/world-youth-report/wyr2018.html

WAYS TO CONTRIBUTE WITH THE 17 SDGS

What is sustainable development?

 

Sustainable development is a concept that appeared for the first time in the year 1987 with the publication of the Brundtland Report, a document established within the framework of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) which warned about the negative environmental consequences of globalisation and economic development and sought possible solutions to the problems arising from industrialisation and population growth. However, it wasn’t until the year 1997 during the ‘Earth Summit’(La Cumbre de la Tierra) in Rio de Janeiro that the concept of sustainable development was made official.

 

What are the SDGs?

 

In the light of guaranteeing the balance between economic growth, environmental preservation and social welfare, in the year 2015 United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The agenda sets out the Sustainable Development Goals, a series of common objectives to protect the planet and ensure the balance between the latter outcomes becomes effective.

 

What measures can you take to support these goals?

 

  • Find a charity which addresses any of the goals’ objectives and try to make a donation. No matter how small or big, everything counts!
  • Donate books/clothes/toys/furniture you have already used and don’t need any longer to allow other people access resources.
  • Offer yourself to be someone’s mentor/tutor and help them with those subjects they struggle with
  • Support equal salaries between men and women
  • Try to recognize and avoid gender stereotypes and make other people conscious about them
  • Ensure you share domestic responsibilities with your partner/male figures at home
  • Raise awareness about hygiene issues in your community through social media or other type of campaigns
  • Participate in water-cleaning-up projects
  • Turn off the lights whenever you aren’t using them
  • Use renewable energies
  • Buy consciously. Take into account that the consumption of very cheap items might be damageful for those producing them
  • Buy from local producers rather than big multinationals
  • Help people access the internet by promoting free hot-spot points
  • Raise your voice against any type of discrimination
  • Represent minorities and under privileged groups in the government
  • Support migrants and refugees

What is sustainable development and sustainable lifestyle? How can young people contribute to it?

The term “sustainable development” was defined in the report Our Common Future (or the Brundtland Report), published by United Nations in 1987. According to the report, sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. With this report, the environmental issues were, for the first time, raised to a level of political agenda. Since then, development and environment have been observed concerning each other. Fast forward to 2015, United Nations Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which contains 17 Sustainable Development Goals. All the Development Goals are interconnected and call for global partnership and action to improve the quality of human life while preserving the environment and dealing with climate change. Each goal contains targets and indicators, so each is measurable and achievable.

 

Even though the 17 Sustainable Development Goals aim to make positive global changes, the world is comprised of individuals. Each individual leaves a mark, or a positive of negative footprint on the planet, by unintentional or intentional action. Both positive and negative environmental footprints can be calculated through online calculators. Most of the time, it is a matter of conscious choice to act and preserve the environment. The choices that we make every day can leave a positive or negative mark, often regardless of the public policies. Therefore, if one actively contributes to preserving the environment and natural resources, it adds to sustainable development in the long term and for future generations.

 

What can a young individual do to contribute to a sustainable environment? Well, for starters, he or she can make sustainable lifestyle choices:

 

  • Sustainable water usage – remember that in the future, running water might become luxury
  • Growing or supporting local organic foods – buying at the local food market
  • Minimizing the food waste – not purchasing large quantities of food that might expire unused
  • Using sustainable materials – locally sourced materials or recycled materials are usually used by local companies
  • Minimizing the usage of plastic in everyday life – omitting the plastic bottles and bags
  • Recycling – adequate sorting of waste in each household, especially electronic waste
  • Using sustainable transport – preferably electric public transport or cars, carpooling
  • Aim to produce as less as possible waste by choosing higher quality over higher quantity
  • Creating own healthy environment – enjoying activities in nature and learning to appreciate the nature
  • Cherishing local culture and supporting crafts that mostly produce less waste and are based on local materials and products

 

The next step is taking active participation in society in the form of active citizenship as an individual. Realizing that each individual has value voice and can make a choice to participate in their local community actively is an important step for young people to contribute to a more inclusive society and sustainable development.

 

Nonetheless, no society is isolated in the age of globalization. Therefore, we all are global citizens and can positively contribute to sustainable development. According to Sustainable Goal 4: Insuring Inclusive and Quality Education for All and Promote Life Long Learning, global citizenship is one of the targets to be reached. Educating young people through formal and non-formal education contributes to understanding global citizenship and sustainable development and, in the long-term creating a sense of individual responsibility within local and global society.

How our past habits need to change for saving our planet

Nowadays, everywhere that you look you can realize that various phenomena are caused by human activity. Extensive fires, heat waves, draught, ice melting in the earth’s poles are phenomena that highlight the need to take action and to be more radical in mitigating them. Terms such as “sustainability’ and “environmental awareness” have arisen gaining ground and showing that there is a need to do something immediately. It Is universally accepted that all these phenomena derive from the same basis. And that is human behaviour and habits.

But how these “habits” can have this deep and absolute effect on our planet? Well, people make choices always in their lives and based on these choices they act accordingly. But how many choices are conscious? To understand how habits function, we need a definition. According to Verplanken, habits can be defined as “memory-based propensities to respond automatically to specific cues, which are acquired by the repetition of cue-specific behaviour in stable contexts” (2018, p. 4). To put it simply, when you have a specific automatic response/ behaviour in certain circumstances then this a habit. It constitutes a mechanism that functions subconsciously which is based on repetition and learning. When we react in stimuli in the same way, each and every time this reaction is being repeated, is strengthened, thus leading to become a habit.

Having habits does not necessarily mean something bad. In fact, there are good habits (hardworking, honesty, taking exercise) and bad ones (alcoholism, drug addiction, selfishness, dishonesty etc).  One may think that habits have no connection to sustainability and climate change, but is this so? Habits specifically emphasize on how our behaviour is heavily reliant on automatic processes. For instance, if you have learnt from your home that when washing the dishes you don’t turn off the tap leaving tons of water running, well yes! This is a habit that places a significant burden on the environment by wasting water resources.

And the question here is whether we can break old, bad habits or create new habits that promote environmental awareness and contribute to the sustainability of our planet. The good news is that people, if they want to, they can control their behaviour through various ways. In their research, Linder et al (2022) indicate three ways for changing habits:

  1. Implementation- Intention: In other words, people choose intentionally to react in a certain way in certain cases, to achieve specific, desirable goals. By exploiting the mechanism already exists for establishing behaviours through systematic repetition, a new desirable habit is developed.
  2. Self-monitoring and cue identification: To put it simply, if you want to break free from unwanted habits you have to monitor when they take place and change your reaction.
  3. Habit discontinuity hypothesis: Changes in the context may lead to the discontinuity of all habits. This kind of discontinuities may occur in life transitions e.g., from finishing College and starting working, or changing environments by moving to a new place, or country and so on. These transitions constitute a good chance to change our perceptions of our past behaviour and break free from bad habits.

What is made clear from the abovementioned issues, is that habits have the power to change the way we behave towards our planet and its resources. Apart from this, they define who we are, shaping our identity which is based on our actions. Therefore, monitoring our past behaviour and decoding the reasons that led us to specific actions may be the key for creating more environmentally and sustainable aware citizens.

The ACTIVEYOUTH4Life project recognizes this need to learn more about habits and how they shape our self-perception, our values, beliefs, and self-identity and that is why a whole training module is dedicated to them!

 

References

Kaaronen, R.O. 2017. Affording sustainability: Adopting a theory of affordances as a guiding heuristic for environmental policy. Frontiers in Psychology 8: 1–13. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01974.

Linder, N., Giusti, M., Samuelsson, K. et al. Pro-environmental habits: An underexplored research agenda in sustainability science. Ambio 51, 546–556 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-021-01619-6

Verplanken, B. 2018. Introduction. In The psychology of habit: Theory, Mechanisms, Change, And Contexts, ed. B. Verplanken, 1–10. Cham: Springer.

GreenComp: The European sustainability competence framework

Regenerating nature, respecting biodiversity, ensuring a dignified life for all people is an urgent duty that can no longer be avoided. Giving value to the environment on which depends our future as a species and the future of the planet we live on requires the abandonment of unsustainable practices and an urgent systemic change.

However, this change cannot be achieved only through political agreements, financial incentives, or technological innovations, however essential they may be. Lasting and true change also requires learning, which is crucial to building the present and future of the planet and new generations. Having a common understanding means acting through a shared strategy: understanding, acting and addressing this crisis together.

It is from these considerations that GreenComp was born, the new European framework of competencies on sustainability proposed at the beginning of the year by the European Commission. GreenComp is in fact the actual research of a common vocabulary, a shared horizon, a reference model for dialogue, learning, exchange of good sustainable practices to encourage a ‘participatory action towards a possible future, alternative to build.

The concept of Sustainability given its complex nature is ambiguous and constantly evolving and unilaterally irreducible only to specific fields of knowledge and actions. If by sustainability we mean, as GreenComp indicates “prioritising the needs of all life forms and of the planet by ensuring that human activity does not exceed planetary boundaries”, it is clear that the direction in which the Commission pushes us can only be a systemic and interrelated vision in which environment, society and economy intersect together. To further clarify this ambiguity there is the definition of sustainable competencies ” Empowers learners to embody sustainability values, and embrace complex systems, in order to take or request action that restores and maintains ecosystem health and enhances justice, generating visions for sustainable futures“.  It seems clear the necessary synergistic movement that Europe intends to emphasize: it is necessary to educate civil society and political governance to actions aimed at justice (be it social, environmental, economic) for the health of the planet itself and all beings who inhabit it by maintaining that vital balance improperly and fiercely disrupted by ‘over-exploitation of its resources. It is in this sense that the economy should only be functional to a society and the latter should live in an equal and dignified way within an environment that gives as much as it receives.

But, in order to achieve what today seems to be a sustainable utopia, it is necessary, as always, to start from education and training and, even before that, from a common language and the achievement of those skills – knowledge, attitudes – that allow us to orient ourselves in the complexity in question. For this reason, all twelve competencies illustrated by GreenComp become fundamental in a sort of movement that moves from the inside, from the assumption of sustainable values and their complexity, towards the outside, towards the imagination of collective, participatory, democratic sustainable futures possible only through individual, collective and political actions.

But since the refrain of the holistic vision never abandons us, the end becomes the beginning, the outside, the action starts from GreenComp itself, from the formation with the purpose of the new year to reach everyone regardless of age, education and geography so that the world and the future can be truly participated without leaving anyone behind. So the cover image that is given to us is evocative and symbolic of an eco-systemic balance that is reflected in the horizon of its understanding: a beehive that embodies the values of sustainability (embodying sustainability values), the bees, collective and individual individuals who inhabit and care for it (acting for sustainability) and rest on the flowers (envisioning sustainable futures) that will generate new fruits and new pollen (embracing complexity in sustainability), food for the bees and the foundation of life itself.

 

Reference:

https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC128040

 

Youth’s Civic Participation: Practices for enhancing active citizenship and raising youth’s environmental awareness to combat climate change

Abstract: Active citizenship is an umbrella concept regarding the rights and responsibilities of citizens. It urges people to be more engaged with the world and communities around them, thus, practicing active citizenship can be as simple as volunteering or as complex as organizing actions with others to tackle a serious global problem, such as climate change. Youth are the core of the development process of each nation with holding the key of changing or continuing policies but their contributions will not achieve full impact unless they are engaged in their nation as a whole – encouraging and equipping young people with necessary resources to become active citizens, agents of solidarity and positive change inspired by EU values. We need citizens who feel their voices are heard and matter in the shaping of public policy; and who experience cultural inclusivity as a natural and dynamic part of who they are and of the good society.

 

Keywords: Active Citizenship, Environmental and Sustainable awareness, Good practices

 

What is active citizenship?

Citizens have a role to play in building a better, a more democratic society, and cultivating active citizenship skills and attitudes is critical. Active citizens are not only aware of their rights and responsibilities, but also demonstrate solidarity with others and are willing to contribute to society. The new priorities for European cooperation in education and training, which emphasize the role of education in promoting equity and non-discrimination and in instilling fundamental values, intercultural competences, and active citizenship, include developing active citizenship and civic competences.

What are youth’s efforts?

Youth efforts range from local initiatives to international campaigns, some influential enough to reach policymakers and national leaders. As more youth connect they are also using virtual platforms to educate, raise awareness, expand outreach and share knowledge. Additionally, youth are taking advantage of the availability and accessibility of information and technology to engage in all levels of environmental governance, especially towards implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to the World Programme of Action on Youth (WPAY), youth participation is crucial, but supporting youth participation and engagement in environmental preservation requires a holistic and inclusive approach. Youth are willing to take the lead to meaningfully engage in platforms related to the protection of the environment, at the local, national or global level. However, to harness their talents and innovations, there is need to ensure that youth are equal partners and torchbearers in creating and implementing the goals toward environmental sustainability.

Think about your environmental footprint and reduce your personal impact as far as possible

Youth have the power to make a change and these are some steps that you can adapt in your lifestyle:

  • Start acting
  • Volunteer
  • Encourage others to make a change

What does the E.U. do?

The European Union is strongly in favour of addressing climate change at an international level. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for a European Green Deal in December 2019. The Deal has an ultimate goal: make Europe become the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

Climate change and environmental degradation are an existential threat to Europe and the world. To overcome these challenges, the European Green Deal will transform the EU into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy, ensuring:

  • no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050
  • economic growth decoupled from resource use
  • no person and no place left behind

How can every one of us make a change?

There are different ways to get active. “Every little bit helps. I know it can feel like being one person with a sign doesn’t make any political difference or being just one person flying less does not make a difference, but if we all do that, then it does make a difference. So believe in that and mobilise“, says Monika, from the European Students’ Union.

Go to strikes, get informed, get involved in youth-led NGOs and local initiatives, and in politics suggest Nathan, Corentin and Alex. Education to sustainable development should be a priority to raise awareness amongst young people, stressed Monika.

An environmentally oriented lifestyle is embodied in a person’s presence of environmentally friendly values, corresponding attitudes oriented towards the natural environment. Environmental models of behaviour are focused on preserving and improving the natural environment. Therefore, the practical activity of people is aimed at preserving nature and complies with the following principles:

  • The reduce principle—reducing consumption, that is, avoiding unnecessary actions and purchases.
  • The principle of reuse—reuse, donate, or alter unnecessary things that can have a “second life”.
  • The principle of recycling—recycling of waste, as 80% of what is in the bin can be returned for recycling.
  • The principle of refuse—refusal of the unnecessary, as refusing unnecessary purchases reduces the amount of garbage.

Conclusion

No matter where we live, we can all play our part for climate action, good health and well-being, whether it is through the personal choices we make in our households, the community initiatives we undertake, or by getting involved in policy and advocacy action. We might focus on different issues, such as waste management or land preservation.

The collective agency of adolescents and youths is recognized as one of the most significant resources for achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, including combating climate change and its impacts. Although many of us are already taking leadership roles, we will also be the next generation of decision-makers and global leaders. Far from being passive victims, young people from all over the world are unanimously demanding that governments and other stakeholders, including industry, citizens and civil society, take action to address the climate emergency.

 

References

A European Green Deal. (2019, October 12). European Commission – European Commission. Retrieved on 11 April 2022, from https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal_en

Beyond 2030: Youth Taking Charge of the Environment | Youth Flash Newsletter. (sd). UNITED NATIONS Division for Social Policy and Development Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved April 11, 2022, from https://www.un.org/development/desa/youth-flash/feature/2018/06/beyond-2030-youth-taking-charge-of-the-environment/

Murray, J., Tshabangu, B., & Erlank, N. (2010). Enhancing Participatory Governance and Fostering Active Citizenship: An Overview of Local and International Best Practices. Politikon, 37(1), 45–66. https://doi.org/10.1080/02589346.2010.492149

School EducationGateway. 2016. Education for active citizenship: raising the citizens of tomorrow. [online] Available at: <https://www.schooleducationgateway.eu/en/pub/latest/practices/education-for-active-citizensh.htm> [Accessed 5 April 2022].

Seyedali Ahrari, Jamilah Othman, Salleh Hassan, Bahaman Abu Samah and Jeffrey Lawrence D`Silva, 2014. Active Citizenship by Active Learning. Journal of Applied Sciences, 14: 2450-2459.

Shutaleva, A., Martyushev, N., Nikonova, Z., Savchenko, I., Abramova, S., Lubimova, V., & Novgorodtseva, A. (2021). Environmental Behavior of Youth and Sustainable Development. Sustainability14 (1), 250. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010250

Youth’s Civic Participation: What is it and what are the main challenges that hinder its achievement?

Abstract: The present article discusses the origins of citizenship and the evolution of the concept as well as the main challenges currently faced in the field of youth’s active participation in an attempt of situating readers on the topic and raise awareness of the challenges that need to be overcome.

 

Keywords: LifeComp, Civic Participation, Citizenship.

 

What is civic participation?

Traditionally, the concept of citizenship has always been linked to the State. Classical authors defined this concept as the way in which the individual is legally related to the State. Based on this definition, most people in the world are citizens of one State or another and belonging to a particular state entails certain rights and obligations determined by the legislation of each country.

Notwithstanding, the concept has evolved with society’s evolution and currently, citizenship is linked to political and social forms of participation as it is related to the feeling of belonging of individuals to a community usually defined by shared elements such as language, customs, religion, or history.

Author T. H. Marshall establishes three fundamental elements of citizenship:

Civil Element: This focuses on the rights necessary for the individual to be free (personal freedom, freedom of speech, right to property). Citizenship is linked to law, and a relationship characterized by the existence of obligations and rights between the State and the individual is established.

Political element: This refers to the citizen’s right to participate in political life. We can speak of the beginning of political citizenship in classical Greece, where authors such as Aristotle speak of man as a “political animal”, through this political development is how the citizen achieves individual happiness. However, nowadays we can say that this political citizenship was born with the full universal suffrage, given in the first decades of the 20th century.

Social Element: This element is based on belonging to society, to a community, this social character of citizenship is born with the belonging of the individual to local communities, functional and labor associations, such as guilds.

The combination of the aforementioned three elements makes citizens members of a community where they belong to. Their sense of belonging to such community and intentions to contribute to improve it will determine the extent to which they will be considered active citizens.

Real citizenship participation takes place when the members belonging to a particular group, through their actions, achieve to influence the nature of decisions, implement them and evaluate them with the main purpose of promoting a change that improves society. We consider young people are active participants in their community when they become integrated into political decision-making processes on issues that directly affect them or affect the community in which they live. Participation implies a task of clarification and a joint awareness of the problems that affect them and leads to a broad discussion for decision-making and for the construction of solutions for a better society.

Currently, one of the main challenges faced at European level includes climate change, a topic on which youth’s civic participation could have a great repercussion and thus, it is essential to find how to empower them to participate in ecologic-wise decisions and adopt behaviors that support green policies.

What are LifeComp competences and why are they important for the development of active citizenship?

LifeComp competencies belong to a European reference framework for personal, social, and learning development to achieve shared understanding. They serve to develop curricula and other learning activities and can be used as reference competences for the establishment of the ideal values to enhance youth’s active citizen participation. LifeComp competences include:

  1. Self-regulation
  2. Flexibility
  3. Well-being
  4. Empathy
  5. Communication
  6. Collaboration
  7. Mental growth
  8. Critical thinking
  9. Learning management

Challenges faced

The importance of active citizenship education lies in the understanding of the democratic principles and values of contemporary societies, as well as the understanding of the need and duty of individuals to participate in the cohesion and maintenance of communities at both micro and macro levels, ranging from participation in a small association or local community, to the European community or even a global community.

However, civic education encounters several barriers that impede or hinder its achievement. There are external factors or conditioning factors that influence people’s ability to adopt a participatory and social role in the community. These barriers include formal and informal environments, the workplace, the education received and community environments, between others. In addition, factors such as social exclusion, disengagement or disaffection and disenchantment on the part of young people poses a real challenge for education and awareness-raising on active citizenship and social and political participation.

Youth’s disaffection or disenchantment with regards to active participation, may be due to their perception that representative institutions are not within their reach, or that traditional forms of participation have become obsolete. Another possible reason is that with the rise of the individualistic mentality the citizen does not have time to devote to the community. The aforementioned reasons create the necessity of relying on Hart’s participation ladder, a metaphorical “ladder,” with each ascending rung representing increasing levels of child agency, control, or power which has been very useful for helping different professional groups and institutions to rethink how they work with young people in an attempt of achieving that youngest generations get engaged with society and contribute to improve it. The ladder’s levels ascend from nonparticipation (no agency at the bottom) to degrees of participation (increasing levels of agency at the top):

  • Child-Initiated, Shared Decisions with Adults
  • Child-Initiated and Directed
  • Adult-Initiated, Shared Decisions with Children
  • Consulted and Informed
  • Assigned but Informed
  • Tokenism
  • Decoration
  • Manipulation

European initiatives to empower youth’s active citizenship

Some European projects aimed at empowering youth’s active citizenship include:

YOUrope for Youth, which runs from 2013-2017 and focuses on the expansion of debates aimed at young people. The project reached more than 60,000 young people across Europe, and since the establishment of these debates young people contributed twelve concrete ideas for the future of the European Union.

In addition to this, the EU has several strategies and tools at its disposal to promote the participation of young people in society. Among these tools are the Erasmus+ programme and the European Solidarity Corps.

Other initiatives include LESVOS’ PEACEBUILDERS, in partnership with the LATRA innovation lab. This programme focuses on building peace and reducing xenophobia in local communities. This initiative is carried out with the participation of refugee children, unaccompanied minors, and young people from local communities, thus involving youth and encouraging participation for a social construction based on inclusion, non-discrimination, and peace.

Another of the projects that we found in relation to the civic participation of young people can be the “Take the money and do something for young people“. This initiative aims to include young people in the design of participatory budgets and to support them in the realization of their community projects. They also seek to establish lines of dialogue between young people in local communities and local community decision-makers to ensure understanding and communication of the situation of young people and their demands.

In short, we find certain past and present experiences in the European context in relation to the promotion of youth participation in public affairs, as a fundamental aspect for the achievement of democratic, inclusive, and equal societies, but this does not mean that it is enough, given that initiatives must continue to be developed to guarantee the fulfillment of this objective.

 

References:

Sociology Group (2017). What is Citizenship and T.H. Marshall’s Theory – Analysis. https://www.sociologygroup.com/what-is-citizenship-marshall-theory/

EGÜZ &amp; KAFADAR (2020). Active citizenship from the perspective of pre-service social studies teachers (page 569) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339831278_Active_Citizenship_from_the_Perspective_of_Pre-Service_Social_Studies_Teachers

Michel, A. (2015). Learning for an Active Citizenship and Working Life: Main Challenges and Ongoing Innovations. European Journal of Education, 50(4), 379–382. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12154

EUROPE OFFICE WAGGGS. (1998). Position paper on active Citizenship of young people. https://duz92c7qaoni3.cloudfront.net/documents/18.PositionPaper_Active_citizenship-E.pdf

Roger Hart (1992): Children’s participation: from tokenism to citizenship. Essay for UNICEF (Innocenti Essay N° 4)

Kersh, N., Toiviainen, H., Pitkänen, P., & Zarifis, G. K. (2021). Young Adults and Active Citizenship: Towards Social Inclusion through Adult Education (Lifelong Learning Book Series, 26) (1st ed. 2021 ed.). Springer.

European Union (2020) YOUrope for Youth. https://europa.eu/youth/nnfe_en

Civic Europe (2022) Moving Youth Forward through Civic Participation https://civic-europe.eu/storys/moving-youth-forward-through-civic-participation/

 

The European Commission’s support for the production of this website does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Project Number: 2021-1-ES02-KA220-YOU-000028702