Children and young people have a right to participation, one that is enshrined in law at federal, Länder and local level thanks to Germany’s signature of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and various legal provisions, amongst others. Under “Engage”, the EU Youth Strategy for 2019-2027 “aims towards a meaningful civic, economic, social, cultural and political participation of young people.”
Young people should be able to voice their opinions and help shape political and social decisions that affect their lives. The Federal Government’s Youth Strategy makes explicit reference to the aim of having “a society that involves the younger generation in all decisions that affect them. In addition, adolescents and young adults should be put in a position to overcome the challenges they encounter in this phase of life.“. One of the four main areas of action of the Strategy is “Politics for, with and by young people: effective youth participation”.
The youth work community is called upon to invest in activities and qualified staff to enable the young generation to make their voices heard. Policymakers and administrators must involve more young people in their decision-making to ensure that democratic structures and greater engagement in political parties, executive bodies and initiatives are maintained in the long term.It is crucial that the ample opportunities offered by the internet for young people’s social and political participation are seized, and that participation concepts are developed in order to promote democracy.