Cohort on Youth Political and Civic Engagement

The Cohort on Youth Political and Civic Engagement was established to take meaningful action toward implementing Summit for Democracy commitments on youth political and civic engagement through resources, expertise, research, activities, and achievements. It was officially launched on 12 September 2022 in Brussels on International Democracy Day. The event facilitated meaningful dialogue and collaboration between actors working to advance youth political participation in democracies across the globe.

Young people’s participation in social, economic and political life is crucial for a vibrant and healthy democracy. Their meaningful inclusion and political participation is essential to tackle complex challenges and generate lasting and positive change. Effective youth participation helps building stable and peaceful societies and developing policies that respond to the specific needs of younger generations.

The Cohort involves a Core Group of around 50 member organisations and governments that wish to engage more closely in activities that contribute toward the Year of Action. The expected outcomes from the Cohort was to develop a menu of possible youth commitments to be adopted by governments participating in the Summit; a Youth Participation Handbook with successful youth empowerment initiatives that can be replicated in other countries; a Youth Political Participation Index to fill a gap in the data on the state of youth participation in key public spheres; and a Call to Action where civil society groups would commit to engage with Governments to promote greater youth political participation beyond the second Summit.

The menu was launched on 28 February 2023 and the Youth Participation Handbook was finalised by the second Summit. It will also be translated into Spanish and French. To make further progress on objectives and expected outcomes, the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD) will provide small grants to civil society organisations from the Global South to promote the menu of commitments, advocate for their adoption, and assess their implementation at national or regional level. EPD is also conducting a scoping study to assess youth participation in the domains of political affairs, elections, civil society and media in 15 countries, the results of which will feed into the Youth Political Participation Index. In preparation for the Summit itself, the Cohort prepared and shared the Call to Action, collecting signatures from civil society groups and individuals committed to engage with governments in supporting greater youth political participation beyond the second Summit. The Youth Political and Civic Engagement Cohort aims to continue its work after the Second Summit, with funding secured from the European Commission for a total of four years. The funding will be used to cover the Cohort’s technical secretariat, the Youth Political Participation Index and the menu of commitments, and the inclusion, participation and activities of CSOs from the Global South working on youth civic and political participation.

Between July and December 2022, members of the Youth Cohort organised more than 15 youth political and civic engagement events. A number of different meeting formats were used, including hybrid and online workshops, webinars, dialogues and advocacy events. Several of the events also sought to create links with other cohorts and democracy themes, for instance with disinformation and election integrity.

The Youth cohort has actively aimed at making the Summit process more inclusive: it has invited CSOs into the cohort from countries that are not part of the Summit process. The Cohort has also pursued the inclusion of youth as a topic in democracy support and as a cross-cutting theme for the second Summit by including the topic in several of the Regional Summit events. The Regional Summit in Costa Rica focused on Youth Democratic Participation, with all recorded sessions on youth available here. Ahead of the Regional Summit in Zambia, the Youth Cohort took part in organising the African Citizens Summit on 27-28 March, in which a dedicated session on Youth Inclusion and participation in Democratic Processes in Africa was held. Recorded sessions from the 2023 Zambian Summit are available here.

During the Summit for Democracy 2023, the European Commission announced two milestone programmes to empower youth as key actors of democracy: the Women and Youth in Democracy Initiative (WYDE) and the Youth Participation Handbook. Since the second Summit for Democracy, in May 2023 the Youth cohort released a statement on 'Strengthening Youth Engagement' that outlines five next steps forward past the second Summit. The Cohort is also releasing a series of Youth Participation success stories, which are available to watch on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Relevant documents released by the cohort can be found in the links on the righthand side of the page, and any public events are listed below. We invite you to use the contact form on this portal if you have any contributions or corrections regarding this cohort. To learn more about the cohort, please visit the Youth Cohort website.

Title Date Description Link
First Core Group Meeting 12/07/22 Cohort Events List
Workshop 14&16/09/22 Cohort Events List
Official Launch 15/09/22 Official launch of the Cohort at the International Day of Democracy in Brussels. External Link
Youth Democracy Cohort in Zambia 27-28/03/23 To convene a diverse group of CSOs for deep reflection on the challenges of democracy on the continent and collective exploration of possible solutions. External Link
Youth Democracy Cohort in Costa Rica 30/03/23 To address youth engagement at the Second Summit. External Link