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Political commitment to evidence-based youth policy
The Youth Act obliges the Ministry of Youth and Sports to set up and maintain a National Youth Information System (NYIS) in order to provide up-to-date information on the needs of young people in the country as well as to plan, monitor, manage and evaluate youth policies at national, regional and municipal level.
The National Youth Information System contains: information about youth organizations in the country; a list of nationally representative youth organizations; youth status studies and researches, analyzes and evaluations of youth policies at national, regional and municipal level; national and European documents relating to the implementation of youth policy; up-to-date information on funding opportunities for youth activities. The National Youth Information System is publicly available through the website of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The portal maintains active communication with youth organizations in the country, providing up-to-date information on activities, initiatives, campaigns and competitions for the youth sector. There are also active online surveys on young people's opinion on current youth topics at national and European level.
Cooperation between policy-making and research
There are no institutionalised mechanisms of cooperation. The cooperation between policy-making and research is on ad-hoc basis. Nevertheless policy-makers in the youth field often are invited by researchers and participate in focus-groups, questionnaires, interviews aiming at conducting an evidence-based research. One of the most recent examples for a research in the youth field conducted in synergy with policy-makers is the report “Youth Policy in Bulgaria – Challenges and Perspectives” (Младежка политика в България-предизвикателства и преспективи) performed by researchers from the National Youth Forum and Freidriech Ebert Shtifung and published in 2020. This report is dedicated to analysing the implementation of the National Youth Strategy (2010-2020) and aims to provide recommendations how to improve the processes of implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the next National Youth Strategy and how to involve more parties in the implementation of the youth policies.
National statistics and available data sources
The Annual Youth Report is prepared by the Ministry of Youth and Sports pursuant to Art. 5, paragraph 2 of the Youth Act and is adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria. It reflects the changes in the social and economic well-being of young people and assesses the extent to which the goals and priorities of the National Youth Strategy have been accomplished in the relevant year.
The Annual Youth Report is prepared on the basis of the survey data and data submitted by all governmental institutions in the country related to the development of youth within their competence. Data from a specially designed sociological study on "Establishing the Effect of Youth Policies on Youth Aged 15-29", which shows the current state of youth in Bulgaria at present, is included in the Report. The results are used in the work of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in the youth sector.
The Annual Youth Reports are publicly available. The 2019 Annual Youth Report was approved by the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria in December 2020. The 2020 Annual Youth Report is in process of preparation (February 2021).
Budgetary allocations supporting research in the youth field
The government has a line of funding for research on youth explicitly supporting evidence-based youth policy making with regard to the Annual Youth Report. Every year, a research is carried out, which is funded and designed especially for the purposes of the Annual Youth Report.
Furthermore, there is a government-funded evaluation of its youth-related programs and of policy outcomes. Examples of these are:
- Impact assessment of the National Youth Strategy (2010-2020) carried out in 2018 upon assignment of the Ministry of Youth and Sports;
- Interim impact assessment of the National Youth Strategy (2010-2020) and the action plan thereto carried out in 2015 (under project “Information, Coordination and Partnership for Youth Policy Implementation in the Republic of Bulgaria” funded by Administrative Capacity Operational Program, co-funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund)
- Subsequent impact assessment of the Youth Act carried out in 2020 (under project “Capacity Building for Carrying out Impact Assessments in the Public Administration” implemented by the Council of Ministers Administration under Good Governance Operational Program, co-funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund).