Summit for Democracy 2023 and Youth Democracy Cohort
“The broad engagement and participation of young people at all levels of policymaking is the engine that drives strong and stable democracies forward. I am proud that we are joined by so many partners in launching together the Youth Participation Cohort” — stated Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships at the 2022 International Day of Democracy.
Possibly described as a multi-stakeholder platform, the Youth Democracy Cohort was launched on the occasion of the Year of Action of the Summit for Democracy. After more than a year, what is the state-of-the-art of this initiative? Definitely a milestone in the implementation of the actions within the Cohort, the Menu of Possible Commitments was presented in February 2023, collecting the 33 recommendations on how to foster youth engagement. As also reported in the document, “50% of the world’s population is under the age of 30”; however, political institutions and decision-making bodies lack their presence.
50% of the world’s population is under the age of 30. However, political institutions and decision-making bodies lack youth presence. Youth Democracy Cohort addresses this issue
ALDA is a key stakeholder and contributes to enhancing youth participation and democracy on a worldwide scale. When it comes to the promotion of Human Rights amongst youth, the Cohort advocates for “ensuring gender equality in youth political participation especially putting in place mechanisms that encourage and facilitate young women’s participation”. With this in mind, the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD) developed the “Women and Youth in Democracy Initiative” (WYDE) programme, in line with the mission of the Youth Democracy Cohort, and aiming to foster inclusion of youth in all levels of democratic participation — be it nationally, regionally and globally.
In order to respond to this urgent issue, several NGOs identified five main areas, within which an increase of youth participation may be essential: from enhancing youth voice in governance and government, to supporting youth freedom of expression. The latter aspect also includes the promotion of “youth access to voting by facilitating access to citizen ID and the inclusive registration of voters via digitized civil and voter registries, and systematizing the link between the two registries”, as recommended by the Menu.
Overall, as stated by Antonella Valmorbida — ALDA Secretary General and EPD President — on the occasion of the Global Democracy Coalition Forum: “youth are essential for ensuring respect for human rights and democracy in the future. We need to give the floor to young people in the defense of democracy and democratic values».