Democracy Here, Democracy Now is a campaign organised by the Council of Europe’s youth sector to revitalise democracy and strengthen mutual respect between young people and democratic institutions and processes. The campaign focuses in particular on access to fundamental rights, the concrete participation of young people and the impact of digitalisation as a factor of democratisation.
These objectives echo the mobilisation of the International Secretariat for Water – Solidarity Water Europe in favour of youth in the framework of its #GenerationWater strategy, which aims to mobilise, connect and support the new generation, to make their voices and aspirations heard in response to the global challenges we face.
The Democracy Here, Democracy Now campaign is based on activities with young people and youth organisations at local, national and international level, in collaboration with national contact points and European partners. These activities are supported and coordinated by the Council of Europe; the results and proposals of young people are integrated into a call for action. The campaign is democratic: young people and youth organisations explore the theme of democratic revitalisation and make proposals that will be translated into policies and programmes at the Council of Europe level.
By joining this campaign and the “Youth revitalising democracy” project, the Europe Office of the International Secretariat for Water (SWE – Solidarity Water Europe) intends to strengthen its founding link with the Council of Europe, which is based on a shared vision of access to human rights and the recognition of the immense potential of young people in promoting European values. This participation represents a major opportunity to strengthen our joint engagement with youth organisations from the wider Europe, with a view to effective youth participation in democratic processes.
Since its foundation more than twenty-five years ago with the sponsorship of the Council of Europe, the International Secretariat for Water/Solidarity Water Europe has been defending access to water and sanitation as a fundamental right through its actions and partnerships on all five continents. This commitment is expressed through field projects as well as through the mobilisation of young people and advocacy actions in conjunction with civil society actors.
The evaluation and follow-up conference of the campaign, in which SWE took part alongside 80 young activists representing civil society, youth and national authorities, was particularly promising in this respect and allowed our organisation to recall its constant mobilisation for youth for more than 20 years through flagship programmes such as the European Youth Parliament for Water, the Youth for Water & Climate Programme or the mobilisation of youth in view of the United Nations Water Conference of March 2023.