The World Forum for Democracy 2014 in Strasbourg, France, was the third annual conference of this kind organised by the Council of Europe. The entire event was dedicated to democracy and this year the subject was “From participations to influence: can youth revitalize democracy?“.
EFIL was represented at the event by Stefan Ubiparipović, member of the Pool of Representatives. The presence of EFIL was possible thanks to a project of the European Youth Foundation which gathered more than two hundred young representatives from the NGO’s from all over the world.
The World Forum for Democracy 2014 was held on 3 – 5 November and was dedicated to young people especially, which is a sure sign that the youth representatives from the World Forum for Democracy in 2013 have done their job well: the impact of only thirty youth representatives in 2013 was that this year the entire Forum was dedicated to youth!
The concept this year was changed and young people were given the chance to speak in every debate. Young people are not participating in decision making processes and they are not being listened to. This is a problem which results in voting abstinence, less opportunities for young people, same politicians ’’ruling’’ for more than twenty years, youth unemployment etc. It is not about voting rights but about equal opportunity to have an opinion which is understood seriously and with respect – a basic principle of democracy which is often not respected.
The outcome of the entire project was that thousands of young people from 150 nationalities gathered with similar ideas and joined together to try to voice them towards policy makers attending the event. Intercultural dialogue definitely took place at the event.
Stefan Ubiparipović, representing EFIL stated: “There is an obvious system change which is going to take place in the near future. It is for sure that the politicians and key decision making players realized that they cannot achieve their intentions without the support of young people. When you look at the history of every great initiative, it had to be supported by youth in order to be successful. It is inevitable that the entire decision process will change in the near future and we must work on that. World Forum for Democracy was a success for youth but we have to be together and continue with more focus on this problem. The Council of Europe recognises the struggle of youth in democratic processes and they have already announced the next World Forum for Democracy in 2015”.
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Stefan in Plenary
Stefan with the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe
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