5.5 National strategy to increase youth participation
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Existence of a national strategy to increase young people's political and civil society participation
There exists no specific strategy focusing solely on youth participation, but participation is one of the pillars of theFlemish Youth and Children’s RightsPolicy Plan. The Flemish Youth and Children’s Rights Policy Plan is a policy instrument of the Government of Flanders which bundles together the youth and children’s rights policies in Flanders. The Flemish Youth and Children’s Rights Policy Plan outlines in one single plan all the concerns regarding children and young people and their rights which the Flemish Ministers will pay heed to in their policies in the current legislative term. As laid down by decree, this must be done one year after the start of the Government’s term of office. In 2020 the Government of Flanders presented for the fifth time a youth policy plan to the parliament (Vlaams Jeugd- en Kinderrechtenbeleidsplan 2020-2024;summary of the Youth and Children’s Rights Policy Plan 2015-2019 in English).
The child and youth perspective and resulting from this specific objectives and / or actions related to children and young people are also given a place within the most relevant horizontal policy plans, including the Flemish Action Plan on Combating Poverty, the Flemish Climate Plan, the Horizontal Integration and Equal Opportunity Policy Plan, the Coordinated Flemish Volunteer Policy Action Plan, the Action Plan to Combat Sexual Violence, the Homeless People Action Plan and the Action Plan to Prevent Violent Radicalization, Extremism , Terrorism and Polarization.
The Youth and Children’s Rights Policy Plan serves as an example of participatory policy with a strong involvement of children, young people, their organizations and experts. All objectives and actions start from the perspective of children, young people and their rights. Preparations started in the spring of 2020. A debate on the big priorities resulted in 13 priority topics (e.g. reducing poverty, well-being, sustainable and safe neighborhoods, giving children and young people a voice, media literacy, combating discrimination). Based on the priority list, the Flemish Government selected five objectives for actions (see also 5.4).
The Youth and Children’s Rights Policy Plan 2020-2024 pursues four large societal objectives for all children and young people up to and including the age of thirty: equal opportunities, broad development, space and greater involvement in society for all children and young people. This whole set of objectives, indicators, projects and processes constitutes the Flemish Youth and Children’s Rights Policy Plan 2020 — 2024.
The Government of Flanders is responsible for implementing the Youth and Children’s Rights Policy Plan plan and will issue interim reports after two years. A first interim report will be sent to the Flemish Parliament before the summer of 2017.This will allow for midterm adjustments to be made. At the end of the Government’s term of office a final report will be drawn up.
Two sets of indicators that will measure the policy impact are stipulated in the Youth and Children’s Rights Policy Plan:
- The percentage of children and young people in Flanders that participate in a pupil council, a youth council and (children's) municipal council.
- The percentage of children and young people in Flanders that are organizing members of an association
These indicators will be measured by means of the Children Rights Monitor and the Youth Monitor.
The Youth and Children’s Rights Policy Plan 2020-2024 follows up the plan of 2014-2019 which was the first fully integrated youth and children’s rights policy plan. For the first time this plan included both the youth policy and the children’s rights policy.