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Resolution adopted by consensus* by the 122nd IPU Assembly
(Bangkok, 1 April 2010)

The 122nd Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Emphasizing the need to prevent and counter all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on age, in accordance with the principle of non-discrimination enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948),

Noting the UN World Youth Reports 2003, 2005 and 2007,

Also noting UN General Assembly resolutions 60/2 of 6 December 2005 (Policies and programmes involving youth), 62/126 of 18 December 2007 (Policies and programmes involving youth: youth in the global economy - promoting youth participation in social and economic development) and 64/134 of 18 December 2009 (Proclamation of 2010 as the International Year of Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding),

Recognizing that children and young people are capable of forming their own views and should be assured the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting them, the views being given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity, as set forth in Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989),

Also recognizing that implementation of the UN World Programme of Action for Youth and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals requires the full and effective participation of young people and youth-led organizations,

Declaring that achieving meaningful democracy requires the full and active participation of young people and youth organizations in democratic processes at the local, national, regional and international levels,

Stressing the importance of enhancingyoung people’s awareness of and commitment to human rights and democracy, the promotion of intercultural dialogue and understanding in a spirit that is respectful of diversity, and the struggle against all forms of discrimination and all actions aimed at undermining democracy; and considering the importance of young people’s contribution to social cohesion, especially their activities to combat exclusion and prevent the ills affecting them in particular,

Bearing in mind that youth participation promotes active citizenship, which should be considered as an opportunity for enhancing democracy and placing new issues on the political agenda,

Recognizing the positive impact that youth participation in the local, regional and global economy and in social and economic development can have on the eradication of poverty and hunger, and on socially unacceptable and/or deviant behaviour,

Also recognizing that while youth today are better placed than ever before to participate in and benefit from global development, many young people remain marginalized, disconnected or excluded from the opportunities that globalization offers,

Underscoring that the involvement of young people in public decision-making processes offers important opportunities for civic engagement, education and learning about government, thus strengthening young people’s social responsibility and developing their communication capacities, negotiating skills and ability to resolve conflicts through peaceful means and critical thinking,

Aiming to maximize young people’s contribution to the building of society, especially in all areas which concern them, to encourage new forms of youth participation and organization, and to train young people to assume responsibilities,

Reiterating the critical role of both formal education and non-formal learning in the empowerment of young people for democratic citizenship, and recognizing the importance of informal learning,

Highlighting the importance of creating the conditions for genuine dialogue and partnership between young people and local and national authorities,

Recognizing youth parliaments, national and local youth councils, or their equivalent bodies as effective channels of cooperation and information exchange between young people, parliaments, national governments, local councils and other decision-making bodies,

Mindful ofthe importance of solidarity and dialogue between generations,

Deeply concerned by young people’s dwindling interest in formal political activity, including voting and party membership, and disenchantment with politicians and political parties, which is a real threat to the future of participatory democracy,

Recognizing that young people care deeply about their political communities, and in many cases are active participants in informal political activities, such as online activism, boycotts/buycotts and third-sector initiatives,

Taking into consideration the needs and aspirations of internally displaced young people and disabled young people,

  1. Calls on all States to take appropriate steps, in accordance with the UN World Programme of Action for Youth, to develop holistic and integrated national youth policies in consultation with youth organizations;

  2. Invites parliaments to set up, if they have not yet done so, specialized bodies entrusted with mainstreaming youth issues in parliament’s work;

  3. Urges parliaments to monitor the fulfilment of their respective government's obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child to ensure respect for children's right to be heard and express their views freely without any form of discrimination;

  4. Requests parliaments to create the necessary platform for youth participation in the democratic process by providing a basic level of education that is equal for everyone, with the same opportunities for boys and girls;

  5. Invites States, parliaments, parliamentarians, political parties, the IPU and youth organizations to encourage, promote and make more visible in all fields the initiative, enterprise and creativity of young people;

  6. Calls on the IPU, parliaments, States and non-governmental organizations to scale up investments in youth and encourage youth-led contributions to parliamentary democracy through strong partnerships and financial support, and by keeping youth participation high on the political agenda;

  7. Also calls on the IPU, parliaments, youth organizations and other relevant stakeholders to strengthen efforts aimed at achieving appropriate representation and participation of youth in decision-making bodies, bearing in mind that girls, boys, young women and young men are all entitled to the same rights;

  8. Invites States and parliaments, as part of efforts to promote youth participation in decision-making, to ensure that youth representatives are included in national delegations to the UN General Assembly and other relevant UN meetings;

  9. Invites the IPU, parliaments and States to identify the lines of action for youth participation on which they intend to concentrate, to define concrete measures and/or action plans for their implementation, to promote these plans with regional and local authorities, youth organizations and young people, and to cooperate closely with regional and local authorities in order to ensure the fullest possible implementation;

  10. Calls on parliaments to ensure that young people with disabilities and those who are socially and economically underprivileged are afforded equal opportunities to participate fully in society;

  11. Encourages the IPU and parliaments to develop tools to promote youth knowledge of and participation in the democratic process, including, but not limited to, guidelines for participatory mechanisms or interactive policy-making forums;

  12. Calls on parliaments to promote youth awareness of and participation in the political process by using modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) to reach out to young people and increase access to information on the democratic process;

  13. Calls on parliaments to develop practical measures (such as the possible introduction of quotas for young people) to increase the participation of young people in parliament and other representative bodies, while respecting the values of human dignity, freedom, democracy and equality;

  14. Recommends that parliaments align the minimum voting age with the minimum age of eligibility to run for office in order to ensure greater participation by youth in parliaments;

  15. Urges States, parliaments, parliamentarians, political parties, the IPU and youth organizations to promote greater participation by girls and young women by taking measures aimed at promoting role models and facilitating better reconciliation of work and family life;

  16. Invites States, parliaments, parliamentarians, political parties, the IPU and youth organizations to open up "adult institutions" and administrative bodies, particularly those with planning responsibilities, to young people's representatives and establish links between these institutions and young people in a spirit of complementarity and joint decision-making;

  17. Calls on States, parliaments, parliamentarians, political parties, the IPU and youth organizations to take targeted action to enhance the participation of young people in political parties and elections at the local, national and regional levels;

  18. Requests parliaments to provide political and financial support, notably adequate operating budgets, to form strong youth parliaments, youth councils or equivalent bodies and to strengthen existing ones, thus providing further opportunities for more young people to become active in decision-making and in shaping their societies;

  19. Urges States to make instruction in democracy and civics an integral part of the compulsory school curriculum;

  20. Encourages States to ensure adequate funding for formal education and non-formal learning, including programmes aimed at fostering the acquisition of the skills required for the democratic participation of youth;

  21. Invites States to promote student participation, initiative and creativity as valuable resources in teaching, learning and other school activities, and to stimulate active citizenship via the education system;

  22. Also invites States to create all the necessary conditions to form student councils in schools through which students can acquire valuable first-hand experience in decision-making;

  23. Encourages States to ensure special training for teachers and other persons working with children and youth in youth participation and to implement best practices in the field of youth participation;

  24. Urges States to remove the social, economic and cultural barriers affecting young women and to ensure they have equal access to education and vocational training at all levels in order to provide them with equal opportunities for full participation in society, especially political participation;

  25. Encourages States to introduce gender-sensitive compulsory education for young men and young women in order to nurture their awareness of gender issues, the problem of low rates of democratic participation by women, and the need to actively support women’s democratic participation;

  26. Encourages States to support voluntary service by youth and internship programmes at all levels, whether locally, nationally or internationally, to recognize and evaluate the skills and knowledge gained through these activities, and, in particular, to promote the participation of young people who feel excluded from voluntary activities;

  27. Recommends that States develop national ICT strategies to overcome the barriers of distance and socio-economic disadvantage and ensure that young people are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to use ICTs appropriately, while also promoting the involvement of young people in public debates and the development of policy through ICTs, remembering that such digital tools are not necessarily a panacea for youth’s disenchantment with formal politics and should be viewed as one of many means that can be used to engage youth in democracy; 

  28. Calls on parliaments to establish and promote coherent, overarching youth information strategies which, in a youth-friendly way, address all issues relevant to young people, to develop special web-based information and information centres for young people, and to facilitate access to information for young people with fewer opportunities;

  29. Invites States to set up contact points for young people in ministries and other government agencies so as to provide young people with information, listen to their problems, offer advice and encourage them in their quest for services and participation;

  30. Encourages political parties to increase the number of young people in their membership and enhance young members’ participation in party life and decision-making;

  31. Invites parliaments to facilitate the meaningful participation of young people in issues that affect them through consultation processes when drafting laws and during parliamentary hearings, to ensure that they contribute to debates on policy- and law-making, resource allocation, and parliament’s efforts to hold government to account;

  32. Calls on the IPU and its Member Parliaments to form caucuses of young parliamentarians in order to promote youth participation, making young persons in politics more visible and reflecting the youth perspective in the political agenda;

  33. Encourages parliamentarians and appointed officials at all levels to give maximum support to young parliamentarians and young appointed officials, thus helping to create a youth-friendly and accessible environment;

  34. Requests the IPU to consult, as appropriate, with youth-led and youth-focused organizations to ensure that youth inputs are duly shared with IPU bodies during their deliberations;

  35. Welcomes the participation of young members of parliament in national parliamentary delegations and urges IPU Member Parliaments to systematically include young members of parliament in their delegations to IPU Assemblies and other IPU meetings;

  36. Urges the IPU and its Member Parliaments to collect, on a continuous basis, youth-specific data disaggregated by age and sex in order to create comprehensive databases related to youth and young parliamentarians, and to devise the means of disseminating such data widely with a view to ensuring that interest in youth development is informed by sound and accurate data and to developing, assessing and disseminating best practices in democracy education and youth participation;

  37. Requests the IPU to incorporate youth participation into its activities along the lines of the measures that have been taken to promote women's participation;

  38. Urges the IPU to establish mechanisms for monitoring, analysing, evaluating and exchanging information on parliamentary action in the context of the promotion and implementation of youth participation;

  39. Encourages the IPU to launch a project for youth to be implemented in partnership with the UN Programme on Youth, which is part of the UN Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).

* The delegation of India expressed opposition to operative paragraph 14.

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