Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Ajuntament de Barcelona
July 2021 - February 2022
The main objective is to improve youth public policies through the active participation of young people. It was considered that the citizen assembly mechanism could help design policies adjusted to the youth reality and the new needs arising from the post-Covid19 period.
Covers the entire municipal territory
The BCN Youth Forum is a deliberative process in which 99 young people between 16 and 29 years of age, chosen by lot, have been convened to collaboratively address the situation of youth in the city and reach a consensus on public policy proposals to present to the municipal government.
This is the first experience of a citizen assembly in Barcelona. The people selected were a representative group of the sociological reality of the city's youth. The method of drawing lots with guarantees of describability of the population, together with the payment of remuneration for participation and the deliberative methodology, represent an unprecedented innovation in the participatory processes of the Barcelona City Council. By forming a representative group regardless of their interest in the matter, their knowledge or predisposition to participate, the quality, inclusiveness and legitimacy of the deliberative process is assured.
This assembly started in May 2021, when 20,000 young people received a letter from the mayor inviting them to participate in this citizens' assembly. Of the 1,600 who responded, a lottery was held to choose 99 young people to represent the diversity of Barcelona (according to gender, age, origin, educational level and neighborhood).
A work team was formed by technical staff from three different departments of the City Council: Youth, Active Democracy and Democratic Innovation, which was in charge of designing the operational aspects of the process and carrying out all the organizational and management tasks. For the dynamization of the work sessions with the young people, a dynamization company specialized in children and youth was hired. A methodological consultancy expert in deliberative processes by assembly was also hired.
A monitoring committee was also set up for the BCN Youth Forum, made up of members of all the political groups in the city council, municipal technicians, the methodology consultant, representatives of three youth associations in the city and three young participants in the Forum. This space was in charge of monitoring the methodology and sessions and introducing improvements to be implemented.
Since its inception in July 2021 and in a dozen deliberative sessions and organized into working groups, the participants have prioritized the thematic areas that affect them, have been informed first hand with municipal officials and experts from different fields, have worked on public policy proposals and finally have voted to approve 22 of them and raise them to the municipal government. The young people prioritized three thematic areas: mental health, education and emancipation, and the resulting proposals have been evaluated and studied by the corresponding departments of the city council.
In February 2022, all the young people were summoned to an act of political return, in which they were given a document with a response to each of the recommendations, and the mayor of the city herself, together with councilors and members of other political groups, informed them of the City Council's commitment to implement 20 of the 22 recommendations presented.
Promotional video of the Foro Joven Bcn:
Documentary video of the process, with interviews to the participants: