June 1, 2021. President Andrzej Duda solemnly signed into law the Act of April 20, 2021 amending the Act on Municipal Self-Government, the Act on County Self-Government, the Act on Provincial Self-Government and the Act on Public Benefit Activity and Volunteerism.
The ceremony, which took place in the gardens of the Presidential Palace, was attended by representatives of NGOs and youth advisory bodies from all over Poland. Many of the activists who have sought to amend the legislation over the past years came at the invitation of the President’s Office. Experts from the IREPSO Foundation, Piotr Drzewiecki and Tomasz Opar, were also present.
The President stressed that the amendment law contributes to the development of youth self-government. He further noted that the previous law provided for the establishment of youth councils only at the municipal level. There was also no shortage of municipalities in which administrators tried to prevent the establishment of a youth council. This was the case for many years, for example, in Kielce.
– We decided that this was not enough,” the President said. He stressed that the modern world requires that “young people should be more widely allowed to participate in public life in a formalized, organized sense.”
The purpose of the Law on Amending the Law on Municipal Self-Government, the Law on County Self-Government, the Law on Provincial Self-Government and the Law on Public Benefit Activity and Volunteerism is to unify the norms on the creation by the municipal council, county council and provincial assembly of a youth municipal council, a youth county council and a youth provincial assembly, respectively. This was done by normalizing their legal nature, mode of formation, powers and bases of operation.
As a result of the unified rules introduced in the law – youth councils will:
1) be established with the consent of municipal councils, county councils, provincial assemblies, respectively, on their own initiative or at the request of, respectively:
(a) the mayor of a municipality (mayor, president), county board, provincial board;
b) entities representing interested circles, in particular non-governmental organizations or entities specified in Article 3 paragraph 3 of the Act of April 24, 2003 on Public Benefit Activity and Volunteerism (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 1057), student self-government or student self-government from the territory of a given commune, district, province;
2) had a consultative, advisory and initiative character;
3) could address inquiries or requests in the form of a resolution, to which, respectively, the head of the municipality (mayor, president), the head of the county, the head of the province or their designees will be obliged to respond in writing, no later than within 30 days of receiving the resolution.
Youth municipal councils, youth county councils and youth provincial assemblies will be tasked in particular with:
1) giving opinions on draft resolutions concerning youth;
2) participate in the development of strategic documents for youth;
3) monitoring the implementation of strategic documents for youth;
4) undertaking activities for the benefit of youth, especially in the field of civic education.
Further changes have taken place within the financial and technological facilities. Administrative and office services, along with covering the costs of servicing the youth municipal council, youth county council and youth provincial assembly, will be provided by the municipal office, county district office, marshal’s office, respectively.
The law will enter into force 14 days after the date of promulgation.