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Youth participation is a must-have – not a nice-to-have

Jan 30, 2019
More youth participation in the Alps! This was the plea made by the GaYA Conference in Chambéry, France, to politicians and policymakers in the Alpine countries. The strength of feeling involved was illustrated by the participation of numerous young people and representatives from the spheres of politics and society.
Image caption:
Some 200 participants from every Alpine country attended the GaYA Conference in the French town of Chambéry. © Pierre Gouyou Beauchamps

“Actively promote a political culture of participation. Make the input of young people a permanent feature of decision-making processes. And make youth participation a must-have, not a nice-to-have!” These were the policy recommendations formulated by the GaYA project’s partner organisations to the politicians. Some 200 participants from every Alpine country attended the GaYA Conference in the French town of Chambéry in order to demand greater youth participation.

How can youth participation be promoted in cities and rural areas? What innovative ideas and projects exist? What can politicians and policymakers do? Young people, politicians and youth workers all searched together for answers in the course of various interactive sessions. The event also featured music and Alpine cuisine, as well as films made by young people that were presented in the context of an Alpine-wide film competition.

The conference also represented the conclusion of the two-year, EU-sponsored GaYA project. In addition to the international exchanges and policy recommendations, the project partners also presented a toolkit for youth participation and a comparative study on participatory democracy in the Alps.

GaYA is co-financed by the European Fund for Regional Development through the INTERREG Alpine Space Programme, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the Austrian Federal State of Vorarlberg and the French Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region.

The policy recommendations can be downloaded in all Alpine languages at


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