Importance of involving youth in decision-making in focus at OSCE Parliamentary Assembly event

youth event bardishBardish ChaggerCOPENHAGEN, 27 May 2021 – At an event today organized by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly as part of its Call for Action – Helsinki +50 Process, young parliamentarians, representatives of youth wings of political parties and leaders of the OSCE PA met online for discussions on how to ensure a better presence of youth representatives in multilateral organizations.

In his opening remarks, OSCE PA President Peter Lord Bowness (United Kingdom) said that despite age differences, all participants were united in beliefs in the principles of the Helsinki Final Act, such as the rule of law, environmental protection, security and human rights. “I am sure that the younger members here today can show us how to carry the torch forward,” Bowness said.

OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella also spoke at the opening, emphasizing his view that there are two central issues at stake: empowering youth and realizing youth visions. We need the first to achieve the second, Montella said, offering assurances that the PA is committed to achieving this end.

youth event anastasia fuscoAnastasia FuscoModerated by OSCE PA High-Level Expert Lamberto Zannier, the meeting included participation by Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth of Canada; OSCE PA Member Roger Padreny (Andorra); Ambassador Luis Cuesta Civis, Chair of the OSCE Group of Friends on Youth and Security, Permanent Representative of Spain to the OSCE; Anastasia Fusco, Adviser on Youth and Security at the OSCE Secretariat; Melanie Helm, Climate Crisis and Migration Team Leader at the UN Studies Association; Rosaline Marbinah, OSCE Special Representative on Youth and Security; OSCE PA Member Monika Zajkova (North Macedonia); and Adeline Blancquaert (Belgium).

The discussion focused on how to set priorities for the agenda of the OSCE with the role of youth centered in its work. It was noted that young people need more inclusive representation, including a place at the table in decision-making processes, in order to restore confidence in multilateral co-operation mechanisms.

Participants pointed out that with all the crises in the world, young people feel a palpable need to develop effective institutions based on innovative ideas and to promote a culture of empathy that includes all stakeholders, including youth. It was emphasized that without a strong youth movement there can be no vibrant civil society and with no strong civil society, democracy suffers.

There are many issues that hold special relevance to young people, it was noted, including the climate crisis. Young people have demonstrated a strong commitment to this issue and have also been instrumental in helping to enable functional continuity during the COVID-19 crisis, it was highlighted, offering innovative ideas, modern thinking and technological expertise to help promote the remote working capabilities and e-learning that have characterized this period.

youth event pardenyRoger PadrenyAndorran parliamentarian Roger Padreny argued that it is necessary to ensure youth participation in a way that recognizes their strength and provides opportunities. He noted that the young generation has come of age in between two major global crises: the economic and financial crisis of 2007-8 and the COVID-19 pandemic. He recalled the outcomes of the forum held in Washington in February 2020 in which participants agreed to establish a forum of young parliamentarians to foster greater mutual trust between OSCE participating States.

Wrapping up the event, Ambassador Zannier expressed his view that its hybrid format – including both civil society representatives and parliamentarians – provided an open and effective approach to the topic and urged that the discussion should continue.

To watch the video of the event, please click here.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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