Skip Navigation
Germany

Create Youth Strategy (DE0018)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Germany Action Plan 2019-2021

Action Plan Cycle: 2019

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ)

Support Institution(s): Interministerial working group on youth, Child and Youth Welfare Association (AGJ), German Federal Youth Council, Kooperationsverbund Jugendsozialarbeit, Federal Association of Non-Statutory Welfare, German Youth Institute, “jugendgerecht.de – the Independent Youth Policy Office” (co-organisation of youth conference), among others

Policy Areas

Inclusion, Public Participation, Youth

IRM Review

IRM Report: Germany Design Report 2019-2021

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

What is the public problem that the commitment will address?
Young people want to help shape our society, and they want to be asked for input on setting
the political course for the future. Current debates about the relationship between young
people and politics show that many young people want to have a political say. It is also the
case that projects and decisions in all policy areas can have effects which are relevant, or
even specific, to young people.
The joint youth strategy of the Federal Government is meant to offer adolescents and young
adults the best possible conditions for mastering the challenges of this stage of their lives,
while taking the interests and needs of the younger generation into account appropriately.
This also requires youth participation in the development and implementation of such a
strategy.

What is the commitment?
To develop and implement a joint youth strategy, the Federal Government will involve young
people in as broad and substantive a way as possible through different formats, as young
people should be able to help shape “their” youth strategy themselves. The quality standards
for effective youth participation that were formulated as part of the National Action Plan
“For a Germany Fit for Children 2005-2010” apply to all of these formats. The results of the
participatory processes will be integrated into the implementation of the strategy via the
interministerial working group on youth. This will improve the substantive quality and longterm impact of the interministerial youth strategy.

How will the commitment contribute to solving the public problem?
Opportunities for participation will serve to stoke young people’s interest in politics and
enthusiasm about democracy, as well as to disseminate information about the youth
strategy specifically to the target group. The interministerial working group on youth, which
includes representatives of every federal ministry, will engage intensively with the results
of the participation formats and provide transparent feedback on which results can be
implemented in what way and, if applicable, which results cannot be implemented and why.

Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?
Youth participation in the implementation of the Federal Government’s youth strategy will
create new and innovative options for substantive dialogue between the federal ministries
and adolescents and young adults. Information and communication on the youth strategy
will foster transparency. This also includes feedback on how the results of participation are
dealt with, including disclosure of what occurs and who is responsible.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3. Youth participation in the Federal Government’s joint youth strategy

Main Objective

“To develop and implement a joint youth strategy, the Federal Government will involve young people in as broad and substantive a way as possible through different formats, as young people should be able to help shape “their” youth strategy themselves. The quality standards for effective youth participation that were formulated as part of the National Action Plan “For a Germany Fit for Children 2005-2010” apply to all of these formats. The results of the participatory processes will be integrated into the implementation of the strategy via the interministerial working group on youth. This will improve the substantive quality and long-term impact of the interministerial youth strategy.”

Milestones

3.1. Cabinet decision on the joint youth strategy of the Federal Government

3.2. A youth conference as an interim review of the implementation of the youth strategy to date as well as its design

3.3. The JugendPolitikTage 2021 (Youth Politics Days; form is yet to be determined) take stock of the youth strategy from the perspective of the younger generation and derive additional prospects for effective youth participation formats at federal level, among other things

Editorial Note: For the complete text of this commitment, please see Germany’s action plan at: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Germany_Action-Plan_2019-2021_EN.pdf.

Commitment Analysis
This commitment seeks to actively involve young people in the development and implementation of the federal government’s youth strategy. Specifically, it calls for holding a youth conference in 2020 as an interim review of the design and implementation of the youth strategy as well as a Youth Politics Days in 2021. The action plan also states that feedback will be provided on the participation in the youth strategy. The focus on strengthening youth participation makes this commitment relevant to the OGP value of civic participation.

Political interest among young people in Germany is rising and engagement practices are increasingly diverse, reaching beyond conventional institutional forms of political involvement. [18] 77% of young people between ages 12 and 25 report that they are satisfied with democracy in Germany. 59% describe Germany as overall fair, although the approval ratings are lower for children growing up in precarious circumstances. [19] Expert assessments however also find that children and young people have a comparatively limited influence on how their rights are promoted and upheld. [20] Participation is an essential right for children and young people, enshrined in human rights treaties. Meaningful participation is empirically positively associated with well-being and life satisfaction of young people and helps build skills for political engagement later in adult life. [21]

Young people between the ages of 12 and 27 account for 14 million people or 17% of the overall population in Germany, yet their share of the population eligible to vote is only 8%. [22] As young people below the age of 18 are not able to vote or run for political office in federal elections, alternative formats for youth engagement (such as this commitment) are important. The potential scope for engagement under this commitment is quite large, as the federal government’s youth strategy cuts across all policy fields and already lists more than 160 measures. [23] In addition, the commitment designates a specific inter-ministerial working group (Interministerielle Arbeitsgruppe Jugend) [24] as the point of contact for receiving feedback and explaining how this feedback was incorporated into the strategy. This could further support effective participation.

Overall, success of this commitment will largely depend on the extent to which young people are able to influence the design and implementation of the youth strategy, as well as how the two main activities (the youth conference in 2020 and the Youth Politics Day in 2021) are conducted. The responsible unit in the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth provided the IRM researcher with additional details that suggest an expansion of ongoing youth engagement and higher visibility across all ministries during this programming. [25] This further corroborates the prospect for tangible results. However, considering that the commitment is confined to two events and does not provide clear, measurable targets, it’s overall potential impact is assessed as minor.

[18] BMFSFJ, Kinder- und Jugendbericht Bericht über die Lebenssituation junger Menschen und die Leistungen der Kinder- und Jugendhilfe in Deutschland [Children's and youth report on the living situation of young people and the services of child and youth welfare in Germany] (2017), 15.
[19] BMFSFJ, In gemeinsamer Verantwortung: Politik für, mit und von Jugend. Die Jugendstrategie der Bundesregierung [Shared responsibility: Politics for, with and by youth. The federal government's youth strategy] (2019), https://www.bmfsfj.de/blob/141940/a9789d196ec8313b0b6bda4d5fd18eae/in-gemeinsamer-verantwortung-politik-fuer-mit-und-von-jugend-data.pdf.
[20] See literature referenced in Sabine Andresen und Renate Möller, Children’s Worlds+ Eine Studie zu Bedarfen von Kindern und Jugendlichen in Deutschland, Bertelsmann Stiftung, (2019), https://www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/fileadmin/files/Projekte/Familie_und_Bildung/Studie_WB_Children_s_Worlds__Gesamtauswertung_2019.pdf.
[21] Sabine Andresen and Renate Möller, Children’s Worlds+ Eine Studie zu Bedarfen von Kindern und Jugendlichen in Deutschland (Bertelsmann Stiftung, 2019), https://www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/fileadmin/files/Projekte/Familie_und_Bildung/Studie_WB_Children_s_Worlds__Gesamtauswertung_2019.pdf.
[22] BMFSFJ, In gemeinsamer Verantwortung: Politik für, mit und von Jugend. Die Jugendstrategie der Bundesregierung.
[23] Id.
[24] BMFSFJ, “Jugend beteiligen, Jugend sichtbar machen” [Involve youth, make youth visible] (25 Oct. 2018), https://www.bmfsfj.de/bmfsfj/jugend-beteiligen--jugend-sichtbar-machen/130136.
[25] BMFSFJ Unit 501, 13 March 2020, email to IRM researcher. 

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 3. Youth participation in the Federal Government’s youth strategy

Complete:

Aim of the commitment

This commitment aimed to involve young people in developing and implementing the federal government’s youth strategy. Specifically, it called for holding a youth conference in 2020 as an interim review of the design and implementation of the youth strategy, as well as Youth Politics Days in 2021 (JPT21).

Did it open government?

Marginal

The Federal Government adopted a Cabinet decision on the youth strategy in December 2019. [16] The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) organized the youth conference on 11-12 September 2020 to obtain feedback on the strategy. [17] According to a representative at the BMFSFJ, efforts were made to include young people who are difficult to reach, such as homeless young people or people who fled conflict areas. The conference was organized digitally (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and involved around 20 workshops, live blogging, live streaming, and chat functions. In keynotes and discussions between high-ranking politicians and young people, attendants could ask questions live and in written form which were taken up in moderated discussions. The BMFSFJ collected and answered questions in a Q&A document that was published on the website of the conference. [18] The questions were taken into the implementation of the youth strategy, specifically in the interministerial youth working group and the design of the JPT21. [19]

The JPT21 were held online from 6-9 May 2021, with roughly 500 young people attending. The JPT21 provided five dialogues in which young people could discuss with ministers and Chancellor Angela Merkel topics such as digital policy, a generational dialogue, climate protection, and the crisis of democracy. The BMFSFJ assembled 25 working groups during the event that discussed different parts of the youth strategy and developed roughly 100 different ideas for policies attuned to the needs of young people. The conference debates are documented on YouTube and on a website that shall inform the review of the youth strategy. [20]

Overall, this commitment had a positive impact on youth participation in Germany at the end of the action plan period. Two topics articulated during the JPT21 found their way into the coalition agreement of the new German government in fall 2022, namely the continued development of the Federal youth strategy and the lowering of the voting age to 16 years for European and Federal elections. [21] According to the coalition agreement, the implementation of the youth strategy and support for youth participation will continue beyond the action plan. For example, the BMFSF will develop a National Action Plan for Child and Youth Participation, focusing on making standards for effective participation better known and strengthening children and youth parliaments and participation networks. [22] The next federal youth conference is scheduled for September 2022.

[16] Ministry for Families, Federal Cabinet adopts youth strategy of the Federal Government, 3 December 2019, https://www.bmfsfj.de/bmfsfj/aktuelles/ alle-meldungen/bundeskabinett-beschliesst- jugendstrategie-der-bundesregierung/141990
[17] The youth strategy, 2022, https://www.bundesjugendkonferenz.org/ 
[18] The Q&A document on the conference website, 2022, https://www.bundesjugendkonferenz.org/
[19] See the Q&A document “Schriftliche Fragen an Bundesjugendministerin Franziska Giffey während der Bundesjugendkonferenz 2020 (11.-12.09.2020)”, p. 1
[20] THE JPT21 conference debates, 2021, https://jugendpolitiktage.de/2021 
[21] See Mehr Fortschritt Wagen: Bündnis für Freiheit, Gerechtigkeit und Nachhaltigkeit, p. 11

Commitments

Open Government Partnership