Young people prepare decision-makers to involve them in crises
16 Jun 2022
During the covid-19 pandemic, Nordic authorities focused on establishing effective ways to stop the spread of the infection. Consequently, schools closed in whole or in part in the Nordic countries. Children’s and young people’s leisure activities were also affected to varying degrees. Most of this happened without children and young people having a say in the matter.
This autumn, the Nordic Welfare Centre organizes a two-day co-operation meeting, a Youth Summit, between young people and the authorities, together with The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs, Bufdir in Oslo. The Summit will focus on how young people can be involved during a societal crisis in their local communities. The summit marks the finale of a Nordic co-operation process between youth experts in the Nordics on the participation of children and young people during crises.
– This summit and the co-operation process leading up to the final meeting are important. We aim to ensure that we become better at safeguarding the interest of the child by finding better ways to see, listening to, and involve children and youth in their local communities. We must give them a voice and ensure involvement when it matters the most, says Merethe Løberg, project manager at the Nordic Welfare Centre.
Secure the voices of the young
Several reports released by, among others, The Ombudsperson for Children in Norway, show that many local, regional and national authorities did not involve children and young people in decisions concerning them during the covid-19 pandemic. Something that should happen according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is law in several Nordic countries.
During the spring, Nordic youth has been co-operation with government experts with proposals to ensure young people’s participation in the local community during a crisis. They have focused on the right to be heard and involved in three central arenas: youth councils in municipalities, student councils at school, and youth organizations or youth unions in political parties.
Advice is collected in a report
The summit in in Oslo will share promising practices from Norway and the Nordics on local participation and involvement processes. Knowledge and experience from the rest of the Nordic region will be collected, and new research will be presented. Lessons learned from the pandemic will also be discussed.
– We will gather advice and recommendations regarding the involvement of children and young people in various ways, such as in youth councils, student councils, children’s and youth organizations, and in the local community regarding crises and crisis management. The advice and recommendations will then be collected and published in a report, says Merethe Løberg.
Those who will participate in the conference are Nordic youth from children and youth organizations, student councils, youth workers, and experts from national authorities at the municipal level who work with democracy and participation, as well as children’s representatives and other actors.
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