Walking in the footsteps of great explorers, last week, participants of the largest conference of the European Youth Parliament (EYP) in four years ventured into the Polar Arctic to exchange ideas on international cooperation and sustainable solutions as well as learn from indigenous Sámi culture.
Embla Elde (21) and Henning Undheim (22), the Project Managers of the event, revealed: “Tromsø 2023 has been a special project for us for a long time, and we are looking forward to finally bringing life to the session and our vision for the EYP Network. We hope our session will be a chance to create a valuable dialogue between European youth and local people in Tromsø (…)”.
The Arctic is one of the areas on the planet seeing the effects of climate change the most. This is why the conference theme revolved around sustainability, with a focus on the preservation of indigenous culture, Sámi representation and participation in political discourse and sustainable development. We were further delighted to welcome and hear the perspectives of a delegation of Sámi youth, a population of indigenous people from the northern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula.
EYP conferences aim to foster democratic participation, intercultural dialogue, innovation, and friendships across borders, also by featuring exchange with decision-makers as a key part of the programme. European Parliament Vice-President Mark Angel addressed Tromsø 2023: “The skills and the experiences you will gain from the European Youth Parliament will shape you, and in turn, you will also shape the future of Europe (…) We need the voices of young people in the political conversation and seasoned politicians need to do a better job at giving them appropriate space, including them in the decision-making.”
From 15 topics discussed in the frame of parliamentary committees, 200 concrete youth proposals were developed for the future of the Arctic, addressing matters of security, environmental protection, and more. Eivind Vad Petersson, State Secretary for the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, sent a message to participants: “The challenges the Arctic faces, such as climate change and threats to the environment and biological diversity, do not go away. They do not have a pause button. A long-term perspective is essential. The programme for our Council leadership will be presented here in Tromsø at the end of this month. I can exclusively reveal to you today – that youth will be an important component of our leadership.”
Should you be interested in interviews with key figures of the 98th International Session of the EYP, we invite you to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The EYP is a peer-to-peer educational programme that connects youth across borders and provides space for political debate, personal development, and the exchange of ideas. Since 1987, the network has empowered hundreds of thousands of Europeans to be active citizens and currently involves around 25,000 young people from more than 40 European countries in its activities every year. Norway has hosted the flagship event of the European Youth Parliament for the fourth time in 36 years.