New and innovative forms of youth participation in decision-making processes

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This study of new and innovative forms of youth participation was commissioned by the Council of Europe’s Youth Department. The study focuses on young people’s participation in decision-making processes at national, regional and local levels. The findings and recommendations in the study are intended to inform the Council of Europe youth sector’s future work in this field and its strategic objectives to support young people’s (positive) attitude to influence decisions in democratic processes and increase their involvement in the development of inclusive and peaceful societies. The backdrop to this work is increasing concern at political level and evidence to indicate that young people have been turning away from established forms of democratic participation. This is represented, amongst other things, by a decline in voter turnout amongst young people, and their decreasing membership of political parties. It is argued by some commentators that, as young people disengage from these ‘traditional’ forms of participation, they are finding ‘alternative’ or ‘innovative’ forms of participation to replace them. Parallel to this social shift amongst young people is an increasing emphasis in the development of public policy across all sectors on ‘innovation’ and the political desire for public authorities to be ‘innovative’. This study set out to explore and identify ‘innovative’ forms of youth participation and to understand the role of innovation within the context of youth participation in decision making. The study comprised a documentary analysis of existing research; an e-survey of policymakers, practitioners and other stakeholders; and a review of examples of innovative practice from a range of different contexts.


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