Raise your voice! Online and offline ways of participating in decision making and policy-shaping

Have you ever wondered how you can participate in decision making? Did you discuss with your friends great ideas how to fight climate change but then you didn’t know to whom to present your idea?

Youth and young adults have long ago taken up the fight for climate justice. They are raising their voices against the climate crisis which can no longer be ignored. Activist work in public space with demonstrations and actions has regularly attracted a lot of attention for years. Triggered by the Corona pandemic, the digital space for online activism and youth participation has also become increasingly important.

In the process, new challenges arise: How can young people make their voices for a climate-just world heard by politicians, participate in political discussions, even if real meetings and actions are not possible? What opportunities do digital tools offer?

To answer these questions Südwind has organised a training on online and offline ways of participating in decision making and policy-shaping on 24 and 31 March 2022. In the first session, participants got an overall understanding of different ways of participation (advocacy, campaigning, lobbying and e-participation). Besides theoretical input, participants had the chance to practice and try out tools in order to interact with political decision makers. In the second session, digital democracy methods (like online consultations, participatory budgets in cities or e-participation of cities) were introduced and discussed. Participants got an insight how citizens can use digital democracy tools in order to share ideas, express opinions and formulate demands.  

One thing is clear: we can only master the climate crisis together – across national borders, with global solidarity. In order for the concerns of youth for climate justice to reach the decision-makers in politics, local, national and global partnerships are needed.