Adolescents, especially those under age 18, must be considered as “young people” where there is no specific mention of this group, as they face specific limitations in terms of their visibility and formal and political recognition; this is why those under 18 years of age are mentioned explicitly in two indicators. National laws do set age limits for some types of participation, particularly in elections, but participation can be channelled through other means. It is particularly important to include these in measurements concerning those aged under 18, as they could be excluded from certain sorts of participation but still need opportunities to participate and ways in which their voices, and those of their organizations, can be heard.
The percentage of voters among young people may be another useful indicator, although it may not mean much when voting is mandatory and when there is no simple procedure to avoid voting. With respect to forums for participation, as with all or nearly all the indicators for institutions or policies, verifying them will require special information sources (for example ad hoc reports) and specific procedures (for rigorous and representative evaluation of sources).
Possible lines of action
1. Endow the institutions responsible for promoting and enforcing the rights of adolescents and young people with informal and open channels and forums where adolescents and young people can participate and express their opinions. 2. Establish rules and procedures and mechanisms to guarantee the inclusion of young people and adolescents in the advisory bodies of the various public institutions involved in policies that concern them. 3. Define mechanisms to guarantee the inclusion and participation of adolescents and young people in the advisory and deliberative bodies of the legislative sphere, in particular in the processing of legislation that concerns them. 4. Establish publicly available virtual and/or physical forums for consulting adolescents and young people on public decisions that affect them, and promote, encourage and facilitate participation in those forums by adolescents and young people. 5. Document the experiences and lessons learned from the existing youth mechanisms in the region, in order to promote more effective work and a stronger influence on public policies affecting young people. 6. Create mechanisms for mainstreaming the perspective of adolescents and young people and their organizations in all national policies.
Related instruments, forums and mechanisms
Ibero-American Convention on the Rights of Youth, article 21, (“Youth Participation”).
Sustainable Development Goals, target 16.7 (“Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels”).