Youth Participation Committees
Ministry of Gender Equality and Family

The Problem

o The youth’s opinions were not considered sufficiently in youth policy making.
- As seen in a critical comment saying, “Missing in the youth facilities and programs is the youth,” the government youth policies were not effective to satisfy the youth’s needs and demands.
o Social demand was strong for effective citizenship and moral education to help the youth grow into decent members of the society.
- There was an amplified need for sound citizenship and moral education at home as well as school, resulting from weakening functions of the family and the college entry exam-oriented education system.
 The public demand was rising for helping the youth develop essential qualities required for a decent democratic citizen including participation in elections and policymaking.
o The hosting of 2002 FIFA World Cup boosted the public interest in the youth’s social activities.
- Internationally, the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) highlighted the youth’s participation rights. Domestically, the hosting of 2002 FIFA World Cup ignited social interest in the youth’s social participation.
- The President pledged to promote the youth’s civil rights during the 2003 presidential election. In 2005, the voting age was lowered (from 20 to 19), expanding social participation opportunities for the youth.
o A long-term plan and legal foundation were laid for the youth’s participation in policymaking.
- The 2nd Five-Year Plan for the Youth Development commenced in 1998 set out a rigorous plan to empower the youth to make their active voice reflected in policymaking in a bid to enhance the effectiveness of youth policies.
- The legal foundation was laid for the creation of the National Youth Congress, the Youth Participation Committees, and the Youth Governing Committee which are participatory youth organizations aiming to facilitate the youth’s exertion of participation rights.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
o A new-concept system and legal foundation for the youth’s active participation in policymaking.
- The National Youth Congress is a body comprised of representatives of the youth and related experts. The primary function of the Congress is to set out youth policy agenda and tasks, and propose them to the government. The Congress was created pursuant to the Framework Act on Juveniles which was legislated in 2005.
- The Youth Participation Committees are set up to enable the youth to take part in decision-making by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family and local autonomous entities which are authorized to make youth policies. The Youth Governing Committees are created with the mandate to contribute to improving the youth programs and operational efficiency of youth-related institutions, facilities, and entities.
o Customer-oriented youth policies with performance goals which are set from the viewpoint of the youth.
- When planning a youth-related project, the central government and local autonomous entities request the Youth Participation Committee and/or the Youth Governing Committee to collect the youth’s opinions on related issues and take the opinions into consideration.
- When a tricky issue arises with respect to a youth policy, the issue is attempted to be addressed through discussion with the youth and relevant experts, gaining impetus for implementing the youth policy.
o Secured accessibility of the youth to the process of youth policies
- Diverse channels through which the youth can make their voice directly heard by the policymakers through discussion, monitoring, consultation, or suggestion are secured including a portal site, social a networking service (SNS) page, and an online forum.
o Customer-oriented youth policies proposed by the youth themselves have been implemented.
- The youth have proposed youth policies developed through research and expert consultation to the government enabling the relevant government agencies to implement effective youth policies tailored to the most pressing needs of the youth.
- An evaluation of the achievements made by the National Youth Congress in 2005-2010 show that the Congress proposed a total of 198 policy projects to the central government and 171 or 86.4% of the proposed projects were accepted over the six years.
o The network of participatory youth organizations at the levels of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family as well as city, county, and district has been expanded.
- As of 2010, there are some 470 participatory youth organizations in operation across the nation including the Youth Participation Committees in 176 local autonomous entities and the Youth Governing Committees in 295 youth centers.
- Departing from the almost nominal existence in the incipient stages, the Youth Participation Committees and the Youth Governing Committees are enjoying a growing voluntary and substantial participation of the youth, and have exerted a significant influence on the youth policy making process and the development/operation of quality programs for the youth.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
o The President’s election pledge made in 2003 in response to the youth’s growing passion for civil participation initiated the public discussion regarding this matter.
- The need for a better environment for the youth’s social participation was raised by experts in academia, facilities for the youth, and youth organizations as well as adolescents involved in youth activities. The inclusion of the youth participation issue in the presidential pledges in 2003 ignited full-blown public discussion on the issue.
o A research on the infrastructure for the youth’s social participation was conducted by a government think tank, the National Youth Policy Institute.
- At the request of the government, the National Youth Policy Institute, a government-financed research institution, jointly with scholars in relevant areas, drew up a master plan for the facilitation of participatory youth organizations and produced/updated a strategy for its execution by analyzing the achievements and problems identified in the course of implementation.
- The government made the final decisions, prepared the legal ground, and allocated a budget in support of the master plan. It also conducted research studies in collaboration with the academia and research institutions on ways to implement the plan effectively. The Korea Youth Work Agency, the National Council of Youth Organizations, and the National Council of Youth Organizations run the participatory youth organizations in a practical manner.
o The Secretariat was set up within the Korea Youth Work Agency.
- The Secretariat of the National Youth Congress was created in 2004 within the Korea Youth Work Agency, which is under the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. The staff in the Secretariat exclusively responsible for cooperation and PR have strived to strengthen cooperation with the Agency’s regional chapters in 16 cities/provinces and promoted the activities of the Congress via diverse channels including a national youth information system.
o The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family has boosted the social attention on the government’s projects for youth participation and provided full-pledged support.
- In 2010, Director Bok-sil Lee of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family stressed that the Ministry should pursue forward-looking youth policies that help the youth with a dream to realize the dream and safeguard the youth at risk from harmful effects as the youth is to the future of the nation, and included a strategy to promote the youth’s social participation in the 4th Framework Plan for Youth Policies.
o Policy projects proposed by the youth have been conducted by relevant government entities through coordination and collaboration.
- If the proposal of a policy project is made by the youth, the relevant government authority reports to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family whether to accept it and, if so, how. Hyun-suk Park who heads the Youth Policy Division, formed the Youth Policy Council in 2011. In this Council, deputy minister- or higher-ranking officials of the youth policymaking authorities endeavor to ensure the youth policies achieve desired goals through coordination and collaboration among the authorities.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
> Guided by the 4th Framework Plan for Youth Policies, a long-term policy plan, the Korean government has rigorously mobilized the media and expert groups such as the Expert Steering Committee, and promoted partnerships among related bodies as well as regions.
o Easily accessible online media
- A portal site (, an online forum (on, and a SNS page (on are in operation encouraging the youth’s active participation through information and opinion sharing as well as other activities.
- A youth webcast station ( advertises the youth’s participatory activities including the plenary sessions of the National Youth Congress.
o The Expert Steering Committee for mobilization of social support and encouragement and the Expert Advisory Committee for consultation
- The National Youth Congress has the Expert Steering Committee consisting of distinguished members in academia, politics and civil society as an organ to make decisions on policy projects and raise public awareness of the youth’s participation rights.
- Each of the Youth Participation Committees in individual local autonomous entities has the Expert Advisory Committee constituted of youth participation experts as a supportive apparatus for the local government’s decision making. Each of the Youth Governing Committees implements joint projects together with the Expert Steering Committee.
o The Youth Steering Committee and the National Participatory Youth Conference for inter-entity and inter-region cooperation
- Planning, PR, and agenda research activities are done through the Youth Steering Committee comprised of the youth representatives in order to maximize the youth’s voluntary participation and promote inter-region cooperation in project development.
- The National Participatory Youth Conference is held annually to present exemplary youth participation cases with the aim to incentivize the National Youth Congress, the Youth Participation Committees, and the Youth Governing Committees to better coordinate their activities while generating synergy effects.
o A manual and information sessions on support for participatory youth organizations
- A manual and the training sessions on supporting the participatory youth organizations were given to public officials in charge, while information sessions were offered to youth leaders. Meetings aiming to come up with measures for improvement have been convened.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
o The Youth Participation Committees, the Youth Governing Committees, and the National Youth Congress began to be created in 1998 by individual local autonomous entities and youth facilities and then have grown into nationwide networks in 2005.
- The Youth Council created within the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 1998 has been expanded into the nationwide network of Youth Participation Committees in order to actively engage the youth in the local autonomous entities’ process of making, implementing, and assessing youth policies.
- In 1999, several youth centers created Youth Governing Committees. Afterward, the network of Youth Governing Committees went national when the legal foundation was laid in 2004 with the purpose of reflecting the voice of the youth in implementing the project to set up youth centers and youth culture centers across the nation.
- The National Youth Congress which was a trial project in 2004 began to convene annually in 2005 when the Framework Act on Juveniles was amended to include provisions authorizing the creation of the Congress. The operation of the Congress has been steadily enhanced thanks to measures for improvement identified at the annual evaluation sessions.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
o The issue of true representation
- The youth caught in the college entry exam-oriented education system paid little attention to the participatory youth organizations which were no-credit extracurricular activities. Accordingly, the true representation of the youth by the adolescents taking part in the participatory youth organizations was questioned. Moreover, those adolescents often worked for multiple participatory organizations.
- Attempts to boost the youth’s attention to and participation in the participatory youth organizations were made including the advertisements recruiting the representatives on newspapers, Internet portal sites, etc., and introduction of the organizations’ activities online to the public.
- In order to ensure true representation of the youth by the participatory youth organizations, a regional nomination system was adopted where cities, counties, and districts make nominations to greater municipalities and provinces which, in turn, make nominations to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. Nominations are also received from school principals and youth facilities. At the same time, preferences are given to minority groups among the youth (e.g. North Korean defectors, multi-racial children, and adolescents outside the formal schooling system) to ensure these minority groups are properly represented in the youth organizations.
o Lack of attention and support from parents and schools due to the educational reality where the youth are overwhelmed by college entrance exams
- The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family managed to achieve the support of secondary schools by sending letters to the school of each nominee explaining the nomination thanks to the help of the Ministry of Education and Science and Technology. If the nominee is chosen as a representative, the school principal is asked to provide a written agreement on the appointment. The cooperative relationship with the secondary schools is being further strengthening as the public interest in extra-curricular activities by the youth is increased with the facilitation of the admissions officer system in colleges/universities as well as the latest reform of the nation’s education system in 2010 giving greater weights to such extracurricular and experiential activities of the high-school students.
o Poor enthusiasm of the relevant government authorities for accepting and implementing youth-proposed policy projects
- The low enthusiasm of the relevant government authorities for the youth-proposed policy projects made the cooperation among the authorities hard to achieve. Accordingly, the Youth Policy Council was created in 2011 where deputy minister- or higher-ranking officials of the relevant authorities discuss ways to ensure the youth-proposed policy projects to be better accepted and implemented.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
o Human resources including the youth themselves, experts in youth issues, and distinguished members of the society
- The National Youth Congress, where the Youth Participation Committees under the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family and 16 municipalities/provinces participate, has the 350-member Expert Steering Committee consisting of adolescents and renowned members of the society including Members of the National Assembly. In addition, a group of regional representatives and staff members hired through open competition is in charge of planning, PR and agenda development. The staff in the Secretariat is exclusively responsible for the organization of the National Youth Congress.
- Each of the 178 Youth Participation Committees and 295 Youth Governing Committees operates its own group of youth leaders and expert advisors in accordance with the reality of the region/facility.
o Nationwide partnership among related entities
- The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family partnered with local autonomous entities as well as the Korea Youth Work Agency (KYWA) and its network of regional centers in 16 municipalities/provinces to organize nationwide activities for the youth’s social participation. As a result of the cooperation from other related government authorities and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology’s support for building collaborative relationship with schools, an extensive nationwide partnership has been formed for the youth’s social participation.
- When an Expert Steering Committee is formed, the Committee is supposed to include the President of KYWA, a key public entity supporting the youth activities, the President of the National Council of Youth Organizations, an entity representing 72 youth organizations across the nation, and officials of other influential public/private organizations, institutions, and facilities so that those entities can closely cooperate for the shared goal of empowering the youth.
o Budgetary support that matches the significance of each participatory activity
- As of 2011, a budget of 180 million won is allotted for the National Youth Congress activities including diverse meetings and PR. For the 174 Youth Participation Committees and 284 Youth Governing Committees, the central government matches each local autonomous entity’s budget on a 50-to-50 basis and a total of over 1.2 billion won has been provided.
o Various media that can improve the connectivity with the youth
- A portal site ( for youth participation that encompasses the National Youth Congress, the Youth Participation Committees, and the Youth Governing Committees is opened. The portal redirects a visitor to the homepage of each organization, introduces diverse participatory activities of the youth, and runs a bulletin board in which the youth can freely express their opinions.
- The National Youth Council produces/distributes cartoons introducing policy projects for the youth to youth facilities and schools across the country, operates a discussion forum for project development, and promotes its activities to the public via online media including SNS (

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
o Sustainable operation is ensured by the long-term plan and legal foundation
- The Framework Plan for Youth Policies is a long-term government plan that supports the participatory youth organization initiative. The sustainability is further strengthened with the legislation in 2005 that laid the legal foundation for the initiative.
o Budgetary and organizational stability
- The financial stability is secured with the government’s provision of budget and the organizational stability is solidified by a nationwide network of cooperating entities (KYWA and its 16 regional chapters).
o Social and economic stability
- The social and economic environment of Korea is favorable for inducing the level of youth participation comparable to advanced countries, and the youth’s enthusiasm for participation in policymaking is becoming high.
o Environmental stability
- As an unchallenged IT powerhouse, Korea has an ideal environment to effectively communicate with the youth and promote diverse youth activities via online media including SNS.
o Potential of the participatory youth organization model of Korea to get global
- Comparable models include the White House Conference on Children and Youth of the US, the Youth Council of the Philippines, and the National Youth Roundtable of Australia. These youth organizations are being run on an irregular basis and developing in accordance with the respective country’s reality.
- The Korean model could be a good target for benchmarking with respect to nationwide partnership, mobilization of supportive forces, inter-organization coordination, budgetary planning, development of a manual, and other efforts to promote the youth’s civil participation.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
o Youth-driven administration of youth policies
- With the establishment of a system that empowers the youth, the direct consumers of youth policies and programs, to advise and make suggestions to the policymakers, it became possible for the government authorities responsible for youth affairs to administer youth policies that better meet the needs of the youth. As seen in the increasing reflection rate of the youth’s proposals in policymaking, the success experiences of the youth participating in the participatory youth organizations have risen, and the interest of the public sector and society in the youth’s social participation has also gone up.
o Mutual growth through partnership, rather than a mere open channel for contact
- Going beyond simply expressing opinions, the participatory youth organizations are practically involved in the implementation of research, education and welfare projects for the youth as influential stakeholders. The support of opinion leaders in the Expert Steering Committee was effective in garnering the attention of the general public to the activities of the participatory youth organization.
- Instead of only deciding whether to accept the youth-proposed policy projects, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family has analyzed the proposals in depth together with other relevant government authorities, establishing the basis for substantial reflection of the youth’s proposals in policymaking. In 2011, the deputy minister- or higher-level Youth Policy Council deliberated the policy proposals of the youth.
o Youth-driven development of youth capabilities
- In the early years of the youth’s social participation, adults gave instructions and the youth followed. This initiative has empowered the youth to identify and study their own issues as well as plan and implement policies to address them through voluntary discussion and other activities. As a result, the initiative contributed to the youth’s self-motivated development of capabilities and thus the future growth of the country and the society.
- The promotion of the youth’s social participation and the support for the self-motivated youth development are in line with the recommendations of the UN and other relevant international organizations as well as in step with the international community’s endeavor to uphold the youth’s participation rights as a way to contribute to prosperity shared by all.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Gender Equality and Family
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Byung-kon Kim
Title:   Deputy Director of the Youth Policy Division  
Telephone/ Fax:   82-2-2075-8621
Institution's / Project's Website:   82-2-2075-4772
Address:   6th Floor, Premier Place Bldg. Cheonggyechonno 8, Jung-Gu
Postal Code:   100-777
City:   Seoul
State/Province:   Seoul

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