Youth, we are listening!

Inspired by the Youth Manifesto and young people calling for more recognition during the European Year of Youth, the Interreg Northern Periphery and Arctic has started more proactively engaging with young people. This means meaningful involvement of young people in decision-making and offering a space to voice their visions.


About youth, with youth

In November 2022, the Programme hosted a YOUTH IN THE NPA Conference in the Norwegian city of Bodø. Approximately one third of the participants, including the speakers, were people between 15 and 35 years old. The event placed youth in the spotlight – they were the ones talking about their everyday challenges, needs, and suggestions on how to make remote areas more attractive and accessible for everyone, today and in the future.

The speeches, presentations, and ideas that the youth presented at the Conference were so authentic and compelling that the Programme decided to publish them. This short information-packed brochure echoes the voices of young people, describing the barriers and possibilities that life in Europe’s peripheries brings. It also suggests how younger and older generations can together bring about a greener world.

By sharing successful initiatives and practices, this publication aims to inspire others across Europe to make a change. The publication is part of our support materials for a more inclusive, greener and gender balanced NPA. If you wish to view the publication directly, click on the picture below.


From idea to action

Hearing the youth talk so passionately about their ideas, the Interreg NPA Programme came up with a number of measures to become more youth-inclusive and engaged with young people in its areas. Now, nearly one and half years after the Youth in the NPA Conference in Bodø, we look at some of the steps we have taken since then.

Two transnational youth organisations, the Arctic Youth Network and the Nordic Youth Council, now participate as permanent observers in the programme Monitoring Committee. Their input helps to include a young perspective in the programme decision-making and their view on youth-relevant project applications.

To support youth organisations and young people work more closely together across countries, the NPA offers one of its priorities as a good fit for youth applicants, thanks to small-scale projects with their shorter duration and simpler reporting requirements.

The programme also strongly encourages projects to host Interreg Youth Volunteers, like Pauline and the Ar2CorD project did. This is an opportunity for young people to try firsthand how it is to work in a transnational cooperation project.

Finally, the Interreg NPA will also seek to consult young people in the discussions about the future programme post-2027, which will start soon.


“Giving the youth a bit more responsibility is not a bad thing. When we have it in our hands, we understand how important it is. The youth need to get the responsibility to make something.” Kristine Flem Willassen (17), Bodø 2024 


Hero image copyright: Håvard B. Rødsand 

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