The Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth and the European Commission, in cooperation with the European Youth Forum and the Portuguese National Youth Council, organized the Peer Learning Activity (PLA) on a rights-based approach to youth policies, which took place in Lisbon, on the 22nd and 23rd of June.
This was the final youth event under the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which had rights-based approaches to youth policies as one of its main priorities. This PLA brought together young people, researchers, and other important stakeholders in the field of youth, to discuss and rethink youth policies from a rights-based perspective. The event was
hybrid, having involved people that were present physically and participants joining online, thus allowing for the slow and safe return of face-to-face events.
YEU was represented in the event by Rita Marques, our Project Assistant, who was physically present in Lisbon, taking part in the activities and discussing the importance of rethinking the involvement of young people in youth policies at local, national, and regional levels.
During the event, the participants recognized the importance of a holistic approach to youth involvement and participation. Indeed, all policies are youth policies, and, in that sense, it is important that the change created is cross-sectoral and not compartmentalized. Furthermore, it is important that young people are involved throughout the process of the creation of youth
policies, and that they participate and empower youth organizations to create change. The exercise of power and change itself must be created horizontally instead of vertically.
Moreover, the participants reflected on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on youth and the youth sector and warned of the fact that the inequalities of the old reality will only be deepened in the new normal if they are not addressed immediately. The new normal must be understood as a renewed opportunity for new ideas that create change.