Sunday, May 22

Youth councils are more than a decoration for democracy

  • Håvard Valstad (18)

    Leader, Bodø Youth Council

It is a matter of course that a statutory youth council shall have the right to attend and speak, writes Håvard Valstad (18), leader of Bodø Youth Council.

Not having the right to speak is like censoring the youth’s opinion.

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Right to attend and speak is perhaps the most important thing we do youth council hair. With the right to attend and speak, we as youth councils can convey what we think about an issue, and not least we can express our opinions on issues we disagree with.

I’m sitting in one of the tips who is lucky enough to have both. This scheme does not exist in all municipalities. The Youth Council is the youth’s most important mouthpiece for municipalities. But if young people do not have right to attend and speak in all municipal councils, how are we to raise the issues that concern young people directly with the municipalities’ politicians then?

The right to speak gives impact

It is a matter of course that a statutory youth council shall have the right to attend and speak. When I realized that is not the case, I was shocked.

Håvard Valstad (18), leader of Bodø Youth Council.

A municipal youth council without the right to attend and speak does not make sense. The impact lies in the fact that we young people can use our right to speak. It makes it easier to get through if we get a fixed right to speak at every municipal board meeting.

Practicing the right to attend and speak at youth councils is not that difficult. Here i Bodø we always have a place in our city council and we always get our own speaking time. This has worked for several years.

Not for decoration

Politicians want to hear what the youth council thinks. Therefore, it is important that we, on an equal footing with other councils, are allowed to speak out when we disagree on a matter or have something we want to raise. We are not just puppets on the sidelines. We are the youth who know what the youth in our municipality need.

The government and politicians say they are doing the best for the youth. Then I want them to adopt new national laws and guidelines that give all youth councils on a national basis the right to attend and speak in the municipal councils.

Greater visibility

It is easier for a youth council to do its job with meetings and the right to speak. It creates visibility among politicians and young people. We get to attend every meeting and the politicians get to hear what we think.

Not having the right to speak is like censoring the youth’s opinion. Then young people will not be allowed to contribute to the debate about their future.


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