As world leaders gathered at COP26 in Glasgow, 246 young people met to spend four days discussing visions for a sustainable future, particularly the fight against global warming. Concrete proposals were also made, with the aim of showing a parliament that is hesitant about climate protection that solutions exist and can be implemented. The young people worked in different groups on a number of topics, with sustainable development serving as a common thread. Cooperation at the international level to create a taxonomy for measuring sustainability, phasing out fossil fuels by combating the financing of the same, creating closed economic cycles or enforcing fair wages and working conditions as a mandatory criterion for partners of Swiss companies are some of the solutions adopted by the plenary and handed over to Andreas Aebi in the last hour of the session on Sunday. Experts from various organisations as well as parliamentarians helped the participants to develop visions and deasible proposals.
"Sustainability - an existential topic for young people”
On Saturday, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Guy Parmelin, received the 246 young people of the 2021 session in the National Council Chamber and answered some of their questions. Guy Parmelin spoke about the power of compromise, emphasising the central importance of sustainability: "No doubt many of you have participated in youth events and discussed global warming. This is an existential issue for you, because your future is at stake. You are ready to act". The Prix Jeunesse was then awarded to Plan International Switzerland, an organisation that promotes gender equality and the rights of children and young people. Later, the 30-year history of the Youth Session was reflected upon and celebrated at a political festival in Bern City Hall. Several workshops and a panel discussion, in which the presidents of the youth sections of political parties discussed their visions of a sustainable Switzerland, could be attended. The event was officially opened by the president of the cantonal government, Christoph Neuhaus.
The Youth Session 2021 was marked by the visit of young people from abroad: these young people from all over Europe were able to get to know the Swiss political system and participate in the development of the visions. For 30 years, the Youth Session has been an example of citoyenneté in action: it promotes the participation of young people through processes of co-determination, co-design and co-decision.
With their solid, ambitious and visionary ideas, the young participants have shown that you hold the key to shaping their future! The young volunteers of the Forum will now do important further lobbying to bring these visions forward in the form of petitions.