How it all began
Coinciding with the 2022 European Year of Youth, the Youth Political and Civic Engagement Cohort better known as the Youth Democracy Cohort, is the first Democracy Cohort officially launch on September 15, 2022. The European Commission, the Governments of Nepal and Ghana, the European Partnership for Democracy, AfricTivistes, EDYN (the European Democratic Youth Network jointly presented the Cohort as co-leaders during the International Day of Democracy in Brussels, with the aim of supporting young people in democracies locally and globally.
A global inter-generational alliance to reimagine democracy
The Youth Democracy Cohort is one of several multi-stakeholder platforms that have been launched as part of the Year of Action of the Summit for Democracy, initiated by U.S. President Joe Biden in December 2021 and where President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also participated. The Cohorts bring together governments, civil society, and the private sector – and their resources, activities and expertise – to advance good governance and democratic renewal around the world.
“The broad engagement and participation of young people at all levels of policymaking is the engine that drives strong and stable democracies forward. The European Commission is committed to advancing youth democratic participation worldwide, as shown equally by the imminent adoption of our first ever Youth Action Plan for EU external action. I am proud that we are joined by so many partners in launching together the Youth Participation Cohort.”Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen
- Promote youth political and civic engagement locally and globally, including through the identification of barriers to participation and concrete commitments by governments;
- Promote young people’s understanding of democratic principles and of the connection between democracy and long-term stability and prosperity;
- Promote diversity and inclusion within youth groups and in the advocacy of youth issues;
- Support young people and youth organisations in assessing democratic institutions and processes and in advising on possible reforms;
- Facilitate young people, youth organisations and youth movements in reimagining a more robust, inclusive, effective, transparent, accountable and equitable form of democracy.
The Youth Democracy Cohort is structured in two groups, with each bringing a greater level of commitment to contributing toward the Year of Action. It seeks to actively involve and include youth of diverse backgrounds, especially of marginalized backgrounds and from the Global South:
- The co-leadership group with: European partnership for Democracy (EPD), AfricTivistes, the European Democracy Youth Network (EDYN), International Institute for Democracy and Election Assistance (IDEA), the European Commission, Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud and Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto (Costa Rica), the Ministry of Youth and Sports (Nepal), the Nepal Youth Council (NYC, Nepal), the National Planning Commission (NPC, Nepal) and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE, Ghana). At this level of commitment, involved entities commit themselves to funding, implementing, or contributing to at least one major programme that contributes toward the Year of Action. This may be an already existing programme or initiative.
- The general group of the Cohort includes all CSOs, governments, international organisations, private sector partners, and other types of organisations who wish to advance the goals of the Cohort by making at least one commitment (for governments) or supporting the implementation of at least one commitment (as non-governmental entities) that contributes toward the Year of Action.
Any civil society organisations, youth organisations and governments can join. Ongoing expressions of interest to join all groups within the Cohort will be accepted on a rolling basis. Applications for membership of the leadership group will be considered by existing members on a case by case basis, limiting numbers to maintain efficiency whilst respecting the need for diversity.
The Cohort is not a grant-awarding structure and participation in the Cohort does not guarantee funding nor facilitate access to funding.
Who is a member
The leading group of our Cohort is joined by more than 50 other diverse organisations from around the world: the governments of USA and Denmark, democracy support organisations, NGOs, we have Juventus Lac, NDI, IRI, IFES, Accountability Lab, grass roots organisations, less formal platforms such as Jeunes et Engagés in Madagascar, woman support organisations like Roajelf, Youth parliaments like the Youth leadership parliament of Ghana, Youth National Council of Nepal and the list goes on.