Dr. Andrej Kirbiš has prepared an expert article entitled “Characteristics of Youth Civic Participation” for the Handbook on Youth Involvement in Municipal Participatory Budgets.
In the conclusion of the article he wrote:
“Citizen participation in public life is a key mechanism for exerting pressure on political decision-makers to improve the quality of democratic decision-making, the integrity of political elites and the functioning of democratic institutions, and is at the heart of effective democracy. The trend towards a decline in conventional (party) political participation can be largely attributed to value changes in contemporary societies, but also to the fact that political decision-makers and elites often alienate the public, and especially the younger generations, through their behaviour and decisions. Young people’s perceptions of politics are largely drawn from a cultural milieu where politics is highly negatively valued in wider Slovenian society. However, young people in Slovenia and Europe are not apathetic or disinterested in social life, they are attracted by concrete social, environmental, economic and similar issues that are important to them.”
He also made recommendations for greater involvement of young people in decision-making processes:
“Recommendations for a better inclusion of youth into the processes of decision-making:
Young people have to be intrigued into the processes of decision-making by creating them an offer full of interesting, relevant and specific topics as well as questions specifically tailored for them.
Young people are especially interested in direct forms of decision-making.
Reforms of political institutions are necessary, specifically in the direction to reduce the hierarchies of decision-making to achieve better responsiveness to the needs and desires of ordinary citizens.
The actions and the rhetoric of political decision-makers must strive to include currently underprivileged social groups, such as young people and others.
A civil-society participation can represent a stepping stone for other forms of public engagement of the youth.
Information-communication technology within the framework of an e-democracy has to be efficiently included in the processes of decision-making in a modern society.“
Dr. Andrej Kirbiš’s article is available here.
The full handbook with information on the whole project are available here.
The project is co-funded by the European Community, Erasmus+ programme.