The promotion of civic and political participation of young people has been a priority dimension in the context of national youth policy and it has been promoted through initiatives within the scope of formal, non-formal and informal education, in an inter-sectoral and cooperation perspective in the fields of education, citizenship and equality, youth and sports. The role that young people can have in their community, the responsibilities that they can assume, the decisions that they can be involved in and the competencies that they can develop this way are seen as fundamental ingredients that contribute to the strengthening of democracy.
For this reason, Law no. 81/2017 of 18 August, which makes the seventh amendment to Law no. 108/91 of 17 August, included a representative of the National Youth Council and a representative of the National Federation of Youth Associations in the composition of the Economic and Social Council. The Government and the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth (IPDJ, I.P.) have marked their action with measures that promote the participation of young people, such as: support programmes for youth organisations (e.g., PAJ, PAE, PAI and Training programme (programa Formar) – see sub-chapter 5.6), volunteering programmes, the Youth Parliament, Euroschool competition, the current 70 NOW! campaign about the rights of young people, the Youth Participatory Budget, the Schools Participatory Budget and regular listening and consultation processes on legislation and relevant matters to the lives of young people in Portugal.
The recognition of learning developed in the context of non-formal education, in IPDJ, I.P programs, is done through the Youthpass, a certificate that can represent a complement (optional) to the diploma of basic and secondary education, which will also include the learning acquired in activities and projects developed in the field of non-formal education, within the school establishment.
Reference should be made to the amendment to the Law on the Legal Framework of Youth Associativism, which counted on the contribution of various platforms representing youth and youth associativism, as well as youth parties.
The involvement of young people in the national and local political process is of paramount importance in creating a sense of belonging, sharing, co-responsibility, intervention capacity and ownership of the policies that are addressed to young people. Therefore, young people, through their representative structures (e.g., CNJ, FNAJ), advisory bodies (such as the Youth Advisory Council) or, locally, through Youth Municipal Councils, are called to have their say on matters that concern them (see sub-chapter 5.4). In addition to the consultation processes, there is a commitment of the Government with the involvement of young people in the decision-making and co-management of youth policies, as is the case with CNJ and FNAJ owning 20% of the social share of the Movijovem cooperative (responsible for the national network of youth hostels and management of the Youth Card ).
One should also highlight the National Strategy for Citizenship Education, which is a reference document that started to be implemented in the school year of 2017/2018. With this Strategy, the intention was to ensure ‘a set of rights and duties that must be conveyed in the education of Portuguese children and young people, so that, in the future, they will grow to be adults with a civic conduct that will favour equality in interpersonal relationships, the integration of differences, respect for human rights and valorisation of values and concepts of national citizenship’" (see sub-chapter 5.7).