9.1 General context
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Encouragement of young people’s engagement, quality participation and empowerment of young people is a significant prerequisite for the efficient and meaningful implementation of the national youth policy. One of the strategic objectives set out in the National Youth Strategy 2021-2030 (Национална стратегия за младежта 2021-2030) is to encourage the engagement, participation and empowerment of young people. In this area, the strategy provides for the following measures:
- promotion of volunteering;
- encouragement of information exchange and cooperation between youth organisations, clubs and young people;
- encouragement of partnership for quality youth participation and empowerment in the decision-making processes at local, national and European level;
- increasing the capacity and sustainability of youth organisations.
Connectivity, tolerance, and European belonging are set out as another strategic objective. Building tolerance, promotion of human rights and democratic principles are key elements for fight against bias, discrimination and various forms of violence among young people. Some of the measures foreseen under this strategic objective are as follows:
- support of information campaigns and youth trainings on human rights, democracy and rule of law;
- encouragement of partnerships between institutions and non-governmental organisations dealing with prevention and overcoming discrimination and violence among young people;
- promotion of European values, etc.
The National Youth Program 2021-2025 (Национална програма за младежта 2021-2025) is one of the main tools for the implementation of the national youth policy priorities. Among others, the National Youth Program 2021-2025 deals with the topic of ecology and protection of environment. This topic is a new priority that comes from the need of the young people to be engaged with global issues. It gives young people the opportunity to take part in different initiatives for environment protection and to raise their awareness in terms of the environment-related challenges, and namely, climate change, air pollution, increased CO2 emissions, deforestation, etc.
The objective of the National Program for Youth Activities under article 10a of the Gambling Act 2022 (Национална програма за младежки дейности по чл. 10а от Закона за хазарта 2022) is to provide conditions for establishment of socially responsible behaviour, including during crises, by promoting healthy lifestyle, prevention of aggression, different forms of addictions, cyber bullying and online abuse, non-dissemination of disinformation and fake news, solidary and empathy among young people.
In pursuance of the European Union Youth Strategy 2019-2027, the Ministry of Youth and Sports established a National Working Group for implementation of the EU Youth Dialogue, which is chaired by the National Youth Forum (Национален младежки форум).
According to the last national representative quantitative study among young people of 15 to 29 years in Bulgaria, assigned by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and carried out in October 2022, the participation and interests of young respondents in global issues are mainly focused on environment protection and environment protection initiatives with the involvement of 18,6% of the respondents, 19,9% of young people have participated in youth trainings, and 13,0% have supported a petition or subscription, without specifying the topic. 21.3% of enquired young people have used social media to express their civic opinion on various issues, including global issues.
The analysis of young Europeans’ opinion from the Flash Eurobarometer Youth Survey 2021, with the participation of 513 Bulgarian young people (18 156 from the EU), shows that the following three issues should be given priority:
- Tackling poverty and inequality – 50% of the Bulgarian respondents (43% for the EU);
- Tackling financial/ political corruption – 46% of the Bulgarian respondents (27% for the EU);
- Improving population health and wellbeing – 46% of the Bulgarian respondents (34% for the EU).