3rd Youth Parliament
Should health education or politics and law be taught at school as separate mandatory subjects? How to strengthen the feeling among Latvian children and youths currently living abroad that they belong in Latvia? Should the state develop special support programmes for youth enterprises? Should information about advantages and risks related to introduction of the single European currency be disseminated also at schools? These were only some of the questions addressed by the 3rd Youth Parliament on 26 April.
In her address to the members of the 3rd Youth Parliament, Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, emphasised that the future depends on youths, their abilities, education and skills to defend their opinions.
“This week Latvia will celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the renewal of its independence; therefore, it is the right time to talk and think about our state, to remember our parents and grandparents who fought for our privilege to live in a free and democratic state where we can freely express our views and think about the future,” pointed out Solvita Āboltiņa. She also expressed gratification that so many young and eager people had gathered in the Saeima.
The Speaker expressed conviction that one day some of the members of the Youth Parliament will become members of the Saeima; therefore, this event is a valuable experience and stimulus for them to set their goal in life and do whatever it takes to achieve it.
Members of the Youth Parliament were elected by a public vote on their ideas concerning national growth and development. Members of the 3rd Youth Parliament - 94 young people whose ideas received the greatest popular support – gathered at the Saeima, and during plenary sittings of the Youth Parliament discussed with their peers issues important for youths and the state. Ideas expressed by the participants of the project were incorporated in four thematic declarations which were considered during four sectoral committee meetings. The 3rd Youth Parliament drew up proposals regarding formation of a sustainable and rational education system, health policy for children and youths, facilitation of economic development and competitiveness, as well as issues related to the European Union.
At the end of the 3rd Youth Parliament, the young people who were particularly active in sectoral committees and who took the initiative in discussions on draft declarations of the Youth Parliament were awarded the title of Future Politician. This year the title was awarded to Sabīne Miķelsone from Kalnciems Secondary School, Sindija Bokāne from the University of Latvia, Sindija Virse from Valmiera Viesturs’ Secondary School and Elīna Freimane from Bauska State Gymnasium.
Authors of the best ideas proposed for the 3rd Youth Parliament were also named. For their contribution and personal involvement, as well as for showing an in-depth knowledge and understanding of significant national processes, Certificates of Merit of the Speaker of the Saeima were awarded to Edgars Korsaks-Mills from Āgenskalns State Gymnasium, Elīna Pļaviņa from Tukums Secondary School No. 2, Rolands Ševčenko from Salaspils Secondary School No.1 and Jūlija Burdukeviča from Riga Style and Fashion Vocational School.
In order to promote an interest among the youths in Baltic cooperation, as well as common visions and goals of the Baltic States, members of the 3rd Youth Parliament, under the leadership of Raimonds Vējonis, President of the Baltic Assembly, formed a delegation of the Youth Parliament to the Baltic Assembly. It consists of 20 youths – co-chairpersons of sectoral committees of the Youth Parliament and four members of sectoral committees chosen by co-chairpersons on the basis of constructive and active participation in the work of the committee.
As the 32nd Session of the Baltic Assembly, which will be held in November in Riga, is approaching, members of the delegation of the Youth Parliament to the Baltic Assembly will take part in an essay contest on protecting the Baltic Sea environment. The authors of the best essays will have an opportunity to take part in the events of the 32nd Session of the Baltic Assembly.
The Youth Parliament is organised by the Saeima, and it gives young people a chance to experience participatory democracy. Publicity is provided by the social network Draugiem.lv, Latvian Television and Latvian Radio.
Declarations adopted on 26 April 2013 by the 3rd Youth Parliament and signed by Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, are available here and on the website of the Youth Parliament http://jauniesusaeima.lv/blog/deklaracijas_p91/ (more in Latvian).
All declarations were forwarded to the relevant Saeima committees, parliamentary groups, as well as unaffiliated MPs so that they could get acquainted with their contents and consider the possibility of practically implementing the ideas contained therein. Committees will probably consider these ideas in the context of other issues because the scope of subjects covered by each of these declarations is very broad. Each member of the Youth Parliament was invited and urged to actively get involved in the follow-up to their ideas and declarations by contacting relevant committees.
Material from the 3rd Youth Parliament:
Video from the 1st plenary sitting
Video from the 2nd plenary sitting
Video from the closing event
Photos from the 3rd Youith Parliament
Video about the 1st plenary sitting
Video about the 3rd Youth Parliament
List of members of the 3rd Youth Parliament (in Latvian)
Agenda of the 3rd Youth Parliament (in Latvian)
When using the material, please give credit to the Saeima Chancellery.