Giving them a voice
Youth are tomorrow decision makers, they will be the first impacted by the critical state of the Ocean. For these reasons they have a major and crucial role. They have the power to change things by acting, by being aware of the current situation. We need to make them care; we need to involve them in protecting endangered species, reducing atmospheric pollution and encouraging responsible behavior. But most of all we need to give them a voice.
The Youth Parliament has first been created in 2007. Every youngster from 18 to 25 (or from 12 to 15 for some Parliaments) whatever their personal engagements are, can participate to a Parliament. Different person participate to each Parliament but it is always related to the Ocean.
Aware of their crucial role and their lack of visibility and listening, the World Ocean Network and the Global Forum of the Ocean helped the youth to deliver their opinion and beliefs to the decision-makers and other stakeholders through different conference.
For each conference or events they write per groups: catchphrase for the preservation of the Ocean; a short written text with observations and proposals, and drafted in a constructive style so they could stimulate debate and action.
Youth Parliaments examples
In 2007, the European Commission held consultations on a Green Paper for a Future Maritime Policy.The aim was to involve young people in ocean management issues and to help them formulate recommendations for the Commission’s Green Paper on the future of maritime policy.
This first overseas youth Parliament gathered 18 youngsters from 17 to 25 years old for a week in la Reunion Island. They have made field visit, and met different actors linked with the Ocean. They have chosen several topics: fish consumption, biodiversity conservation. They also wrote a leaflet and some articles on a blog, they made a video. Their project has been presented to a public on the last day of the Parliament.
In 2012, the youth Parliament took place in Rio for the United Nations conference. They wrote catchphrases for the Ocean protection, short text to present facts and proposed solutions. They also suggest some recommendations that have been transmitted during the official conference and during the international aquarium congress.
About 20 youngsters from 18 to 25 participated to a forum about Marine Protected Area (MPA) where they have met many experts. They thought about a sustainable management of the MPA and wrote some recommendations that have been transmitted to the different stakeholders.
This Parliament took place in Brussels November 17, 2015 and gathered youngsters from all over Europe. They discussed about the way to implement a Blue Society, and wrote recommendations for a sustainable future. They have presented their propositions to the European Parliament members during the “Sea for Society” event.
You can have a look at their propositions HERE!
Youth Parliaments have the ability to make the future generation ambassadors of the Ocean in their country.