Formalising Young People’s involvement in the governing bodies of Protected Areas
Ente parco naturale delle Prealpi Giulie
Region & country
Friuli Venezia Giulia - Italy
In the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region (Italy), thanks to a series of initiatives undertaken by the Julian Prealps Nature Park, youth involvement in the management of Protected Areas is being formalised.
This issue of youth representation and engagement in Protected areas was first raised locally and the Youth Advisory Board of the Julian Prealps was established in order to understand how the young people of the area imagine the Park in the future, and organising activities for young people to engage with the Park.
After a few years of successfully involving young people in all aspects of the Protected Area, the issue was brought to the attention of the Regional Council. Now, through an amendment to the regional law on Protected Areas, it is
Luca Deganutti: Youth Board Member of the Julian Prealps Nature Park
Background of the project
No formal act provided for the involvement of young people in the governing bodies of the Protected Areas. More generally, the participation of local young people (from high schools, universities and the first years of work) in the life and activities of the Park was extremely limited.
This led to a problem relating to their representation, also to the possibility to recognize their expectations and more generally for the future of the Park.
The need to involve the young people of the municipalities of the Park more in its management emerged from a debate held first internally at the Julian Prealps Nature Park and subsequently with some politicians of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region.
This need arises from the fact that especially the age group between 18 and 30 is not very present in the various activities promoted by the Park and it is always challenging to understand what the expectations are with respect to the Protected Area.
Solution and actions taken
The need to give young people a more decision-making role emerged after a first phase of involving them in the Julian Prealps Nature Park that led to the creation of the Youth Advisory Board.
One of the solutions proposed, was to modify the Regional Law on Protected Areas in order to expand the number of members of the Governing Council of the Parks and including a young person aged between 18 and 30 years.
This amendment to the law was approved in November 2021.
To achieve this result, awareness was raised among the regional political world through direct contacts with its individual exponents.
In the end, one political group took charge of presenting the amendment, and the Regional Council approved it unanimously.
Other institutions or parties involved
It was an intergenerational effort between the youth and staff of the Julian Prealps Nature Park.
There are only two parks in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region who are affected by this law. The Julian Prealps has already designated its young representative (Mr. Luca Deganutti, 25 years old), and the Dolomiti Fiulane Natural Park will do so very soon.
– the lack of interest by a large part of the political world in meaningful youth representation and involvement;
– some distrust between Protected Area employees and the Members of the governance boards
– Arrive in the political world with a credible proposal
– Support the proposal with a clear and recognizable path of involving young people.
The action undertaken represents a strong awareness-raising initiative. A young person in the “control room” shows that the generational transition is possible and can be achieved in the short term. At the same time, it pushes younger generations to active participate in the decision-making processes.
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