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First ever joint session of the National Assembly and Welsh Youth Parliament

24/06/2019

​In a landmark event the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Youth Parliament will sit for a joint session at the Senedd on Wednesday, 24 June.

Senedd Chamber from the public viewing gallery

During the session the two institutions will agree on how they will work together to ensure young voices are heard in Wales and confirm the Welsh Youth Parliament's independence.

Members of Welsh Youth Parliament and leaders of the Assembly's political groups will give speeches in the Siambr from 13.30 with the session live streamed on Facebook/Twitter, YouTube and the Welsh Youth Parliament website.

The session, thought to be the first of its kind between a parliament and its youth equivalent, will end with both organisations agreeing a joint declaration which 'sets out the principles underlying the relationship between the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Youth Parliament to ensure that young people in Wales have a voice at the highest level.'

It will:

  • Ensure that issues, decisions and the work of the Welsh Youth Parliament is led by its Members and the young people they represent.

  • Ensure that the Welsh Youth Parliament's work is integral to decision-making and democratic structures in Wales.

  • Continue to improve the ways in which young people are involved in decision-making processes in Wales in accordance with Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which states "that young people have the right to express their views freely and have their opinions listened to in all matters affecting them".

"Today's joint session is an exciting occasion that will demonstrate the Senedd's commitment to ensuring that young people's voices are heard in our democratic process," said Elin Jones AM, Llywydd of the National Assembly for Wales.

"We are bringing forward legislation to lower the voting age for Assembly elections and have worked hard to establish the Welsh Youth Parliament.

"The motion voted on from this joint session will formalise our relationship with each other in the future and ensure voices of Welsh Youth Parliament Members and their constituents count.

"It will establish the Welsh Youth Parliament's independence and make sure its work plays an integral part of decision-making in Wales."

The Welsh Youth Parliament first sat in February this year following an election in late 2018. It has 60 members, 40 of which represent the 40 constituencies of Wales.

The remaining 20 were elected via partner organisations to ensure broader representation with members representing BAME, LGBTQ+, gypsy traveller and social care organisations.

During its first meeting Members voted to establish three main priorities over their two-year term: emotional and mental health support, littering and plastic waste, and life skills in the curriculum.

The youth parliament has also already contributed to the work of the Assembly by giving views on the Senedd and Elections Bill which, if passed, would lower the voting age in Assembly elections to 16.

Youth parliament members have also advised the Assembly's Children, Young People and Education Committee, as part of its consideration of the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill which, if passed, would remove the defence of reasonable chastisement for smacking children.

Members will give an update on the youth parliament's key priorities during a meeting beforehand at the Pierhead building in Cardiff Bay, attended by the Children's Commissioner for Wales, Sally Holland.

 

 

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