5.10 Current debates and reforms
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The follow-up report for the National Democracy Programme 2025 by the Ministry of Justice, published in May 2023 (in Finnish), examines how well the objectives set in the Democracy Programme have been achieved during the Government Programme 2019-2023 -period, what measures have been taken to achieve the objectives, and what kinds of impacts the measures are expected to have on the development of Finnish democracy. The Programme includes measures related for example to the following themes, in brackets some measures realised with young people are named: representative democracy (pilot campaign for communicating and activating voting relating, especially relating to the new regional level elections); direct and participatory democracy (strengthening the recognition of children and young people in preparation of the Climate Act, development of the Digital Council -platform for young people, see ‘Ongoing debates’ below); consultation and civil society (developing the processes of recognition of the accumulated competences gained in voluntary work, see more in Youth Wiki/Finland 2.9 Skills recognition) and development of democracy and human rights education (pilot project funding for the schools, a review of the current situation).
Based on ‘Current issues’ (available in Finnish) published by the Ministry of Justice on February 1st 2023, there has been a lot of interest in using the Digital Council – a platform targeted at children and young people – about 20 council-discussions has been organized since the platform started in April 2022. Such themes that have been discussed: mental health, youth positive administration, youth work and -policy but also themes related to the strategy process and safety of the well-being services counties. The organizers of the discussions have been the ministries, the well-being services counties, municipalities, and non-government organisations working with children and young people. Final conclusions formulated by the councils have been taken over to the decision-makers and used in various preparation processes. Based on the comments of the participants, the platform and the way the discussions are led still need to be modified, as expressed by the ministry. The Digital Council-platform is developed and maintained in co-operation with the Ministry of Justice, the National Child Strategy, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the youth work centre of expertise related to youth participation, the Finnish Red Cross and the ALL-YOUTH research project by the University of Tampere. Also, the Finnish SOS Children's Villages and the Itla Children’s Foundation are collaborating to make the Digital Council interface more child- and youth friendly.