Overline: IASS Policy Brief
Headline: How Young People Can Help Shape Structural Change in Lusatia

Germany’s coal exit is associated with widespread and far-reaching structural change in the mining region of Lusatia. Decisions made today will shape the region for decades to come. Enhancing Lusatia’s appeal for young people is one important goal within this broad transformation process. A new IASS Policy Brief offers recommendations on how policymakers can involve young people in shaping the future of Lusatia.

Youth conference MISSION2038: We are looking for your ideas for Lusatia! on May 29, 2021 at TELUX Weißwasser
Youth conference MISSION2038: We are looking for your ideas for Lusatia! on May 29, 2021 at TELUX Weißwasser Deutsche Kinder- und Jugendstiftung (DKJS)

Experience shows that children and young people want to be involved in transformation processes and are able to do so, provided that there is a genuine interest in their views and they are given creative freedom and appropriate support. The long time horizon of this transformation and the complexity of the funding architectures in Brandenburg and Saxony present challenges for efforts to engage youth in participatory processes to shape the region’s future. The IASS Policy Brief “Kinder- und Jugendbeteiligung im Lausitzer Strukturwandel” [Child and Youth Participation in the Structural Transformation of Lusatia], prepared by a team of scientists led by research group leader David Löw Beer, makes several recommendations on this important issue.

Message 1: The Länder must involve children and young people more effectively and more directly
The current approach does not adequately fulfil the requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child or constitutional laws. This leaves policy decisions relating to this transformation process open to legal challenge.

Message 2: Facilitate youth participation in all transformation projects
Children and young people should be empowered to participate in the evaluation and further development of project proposals relating to this transformation process and to initiate their own projects. The range of formats suitable for this includes youth workshops and youth monitoring committees based on existing formats for adults, as well as “youth future-proofing”, in which young people develop criteria for projects and are directly involved in the selection of projects for funding.

Message 3: Hold children and youth conferences for Lusatia regularly
Children and young people should be empowered to submit their own projects to decision-making processes at the state level. The implementation of approved projects should be facilitated by professional providers. Child and youth conferences should be conducted regularly to reflect on progress and discuss the broader transformation process with decision-makers.

Löw Beer, D., Anders, C., Donath, P. B., Luh, V., Ringler, D., Rocher, M. (2021): Kinder- und Jugendbeteiligung im Lausitzer Strukturwandel. Anschlussfähige und rechtskonforme Wege für eine gelingende Partizipation. - IASS Policy Brief, 2021, 7. https://doi.org/10.48481/iass.2021.039