9.3 Exchanges between young people and policy-makers on global issues
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A representative of young people, namely the UN Youth Climate Delegate 2020 Ms Sara Nyman representing the Finnish National Youth Council Allianssi participated in the national Climate Policy Round Table. The Roundtable is led by Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Ms Nyman is one of its vice chairs. The process is to last the entire government period (2020–) and it will hold 5–7 meetings annually. The aim is to support the preparation and implementation of climate policy at the national level. In 2021, the Roundtable commissioned a citizen jury with the Ministry of the Environment. As reported in the news item (26.8.2021) from the Ministry of the Environment Citizens’ Jury tested in Finland to support climate policy preparation, random sampling was used to convene a Jury composed of 33 members. Factors taken into account in the Jury’s composition included regional aspects, gender, language and age. Also, young people participated. Amidst other issues, the Jury offered its opinion on how the emission reduction measures should be communicated with different demographic groups.
As reported in the Prime Minister’s Offices kestäväkehitys.fi (Sustainable development.fi) page, the Youth Group Agenda 2030 was set up in spring 2017, under the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development led by the Prime Minister. The Commission saw the need to increase youth participation in the national planning and implementation of the Agenda 2030, which gave the idea of providing a platform for young people interested in sustainable development. The Agenda Youth Group has two aims: to serve as an advocate for the goals and to participate in the national planning and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Youth Group is invited to various stakeholder meetings in the ministries, and it attends workshops, discussions and events on sustainable development. The members serve as advocates and multipliers for ideas in their own region, organisation, school or workplace and participate in the dialogue and debate about the goals in national contexts.” The Finnish Agenda 2030 Youth Group (see more in Finnish) for the years 2020-2021 is composed of 12 people and two chairs aged 15 to 28 years from all around Finland, and with a variety of backgrounds. The Finnish National Youth Council Allianssi assists in finding the group’s members via an open application process.
Since 1997, National Youth Council Allianssi has appointed Youth Delegates that participate in the United Nations (UN) meetings, to raise the voice of young people in the meetings, as well as take part in meeting preparation as part of the national delegation appointed by the ministries. UN Youth Delegates represent young people in the UN General Assemblies, and participate in communication, advocacy, and representation activities at home and abroad, see UN Youth Delegate Programme. Since 2010, Allianssi has appointed also Youth Climate Delegates in order to strengthen the participation of young people in climate political decision-making processes, to raise the voice of the youth at international and national arenas, and to raise awareness on climate questions among young people.
Additionally, Allianssi appoints youth delegates for the EU Youth Conference, for the European Conference on the Future of Europe and in the Nordic Council of Ministers’ organisation responsible for youth and child policies, NORDBUK.
Allianssi also appoints youth delegates with short-term mandates to national delegations participating in the UN organisations’ annual meetings such as Unesco General Assembly and Unesco Youth Forum, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum, the Commission for Social Development (CSocD), and the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. The newest process to which a youth representative has been appointed is the UN Biodiversity Convention.
Youth Delegates are representatives that raise the voice of young people in decision-making processes, in international meetings often as part of their national delegation. A Youth Delegate’s core task is to participate in the meetings, but they are also expected to prepare speeches, and participate in discussions with other young people. The delegates get also lots of speaker requests, and offers to participate in campaigns, and opportunities to develop their own initiatives and events.
As mentioned, in Finland the work of Youth Delegates is coordinated by the National Youth Council Allianssi. Allianssi is a service and advocacy organisation for the youth sector overall, and in particular for its 140 plus member organisations. Allianssi is funded among others by the Ministry of Education and Culture. During the years 2021-2024 Allianssi is leading an Erasmus+ funded project entitled 'Future Agents NOW – robust, representative and responsive Youth Delegate Programmes that help young leaders push for change' to develop the support for youth delegates in their work. The idea is to collect tools and guidelines for well-functioning, inclusive, responsive and financially solid Youth Delegate Programmes. (See more about the youth delegates in Finnish).