The EUROPARC Youth Council
The EUROPARC strategy for 2030 commits to empowering the voice of young people throughout its work. The EUROPARC Youth Council is a step forward to promote youth engagement in decision making as requested in the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto.
Aim: To strengthen the voice of youth in EUROPARC by sharing youth inputs on topics across EUROPARC’s programmes.
Meet the 2023-2025 Youth Council
All 10 members of the EUROPARC Youth Council are young Europeans between the ages of 18 – 30, who are active in Protected Areas as volunteers, youth stakeholders or young professionals. They were each endorsed by a EUROPARC member or section and underwent a rigorous selection process which was determined through an open consultation with the EUROPARC youth community. They are:
What will they do?
The aim of the EUROPARC Youth Council is to strengthen the voice of youth in EUROPARC and beyond, by sharing their input on topics across EUROPARC’s programmes.
The EUROPARC Youth Council will have 2 main activities:
- The EUROPARC Youth Council will co-organise youth dialogues together with EUROPARC. These will be online or in-person events where the Youth Council and the wider EUROPARC Youth Community can explore various priorities and hot topics related to Protected Areas. These priorities are based on the current work of EUROPARC as well as those brought forward by the youth council.
- Support the EUROPARC Youth Representative by connecting them to the Youth+ and Junior Ranger groups across Europe, and providing them with a more complete understanding of youth priorities across Protected Areas in Europe as well as continuing to champion youth empowerment through the EUROPARC Youth Manifesto.
In addition to these two activities, the EUROPARC Youth Council can become more active and undertake their own projects for example:
- Organising a Youth+ Camp
- Run events with the Council of Europe Youth Department
- Network with other youth environmental organisations
- Promote careers in and around Protected Areas
Who do they represent?
The Youth Council represents young people who are participating in and interacting with EUROPARC programmes and members. This can be through formal structures such as the Junior Ranger programme, the Youth+ programme, the Youth Manifesto implementation or through internships and volunteering. It can also be through engagement with EUROPARC through conferences, events, or projects, or those of EUROPARC members.
The process to establishing a EUROPARC Youth Council
For meaningful youth engagement, the setting up of a youth council was a co-led process between the EUROPARC directorate and engaged youth within the EUROPARC network and events. The process had the following stages:
- An open call for ideas and participation in the decision-making processes for all youth engaged with EUROPARC, through youth programmes, internships or as young staff was made. These ideas were collected in a padlet board.
- Regular meetings with this group discussing each component of the structure until consensus was reached or if not, then a poll was made in the chat to determine the final choice.
- The outcome was shared with the youth community to have a final approval/feedback session
- The outcome was presented to the EUROPARC Director
- A final plan was made
- It was presented to the EUROPARC Council and approved