9.3 Exchanges between young people and policy-makers on global issues
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In Croatia there is a regular practice of including young people or youth representatives (youth organizations or organizations for youth) in working groups for drafting laws, amending laws, national programs and other regulations related to youth. In 2022 a young representative of the Coordination of County Youth Councils of the Republic of Croatia took part in the Workgroup for Draft Law of Amendments to the Law on Youth Councils. Young representatives are part of the Workgroup for drafting the proposal of the National Youth Program for the period from 2022 to 2024.
The Coordination of County Youth Councils was established in 2014 with the aim of creating a platform for the exchange of practice and continuous information of County Youth Councils, a joint analysis of the present problems of young people and the advocacy of interests towards institutions and authorities. Coordination connects the capacities of councils, harmonizes their way of working and increases the involvement of young people in the creation and implementation of regional policies.
Young people as citizens, also and as part of youth organizations, are invited to participate in e-Counselling about the policies that are interesting for them in Croatia. Consultation and involvement of the public through e-Counselling is being used in the process of adopting regulation with the interested public related to a certain public policy with the aim of raising the level of understanding and acceptance of the policy's goals, but also noticing the weaknesses and negative effects of the public policy that needs to be timely remove.
The Central State Office for Demography and Youth (Središnji državni ured za demografiju i mlade) plans to conduct consultations with the wider interested public on laws concerning young people in 2022 through e-Counselling. An example is the planned e-Counselling of the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Youth Councils.
Specific procedure through which young people have the opportunity to exchange views with national and European policy-makers on global issues is EU Youth Dialogue. When Croatia acceded to the EU in 2013, it began implementing the structured dialogue, now called the EU Youth Dialogue in Croatia (Dijalog EU-a s mladima). Its goal is to make young people’s voice heard in the national and European youth policy-shaping process. In Croatia, it is known under the slogan “EU asks” (“EU pita”). EU Youth Dialog provides the opportunities to young people to be heard by policy makers on local, regional and national level, as well as the opportunity to jointly propose measures relevant for youth policies and strategies.
The implementation is headed by the National Workgroup for EU youth dialogue, which is composed of representatives of the state competent body, the Agency for mobility and EU programmes, the Association of Youth Information Centres in Croatia and the Croatian Youth Network.
The 7th EU youth dialogue cycle was held from January 2019 till mid-2020 over the course of the Romanian, Finnish and Croatian EU Presidencies. The thematic priority of the 7th cycle was “Creating opportunities for Youth”, and the Croatian national priority was “Opportunity for Rural Youth”.
Training for local coordinators of EU youth dialogue in Croatia was held in October 2020 and the new one will be in 2022.
The 9th EU youth dialogue cycle takes place from January 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023 under the title "Together for a sustainable and inclusive Europe” under the presidency trio of France - Czech Republic - Sweden. The Croatian Youth Network association is responsible for the implementation of 9th Cycle in Croatia.
Campaign “Democracy here. Democracy now.” is being implemented on the EU level and for Croatian implementation of the campaign is in charge of the Central State Office for Demography and Youth. They also publish information and calls of invitations for youth on a web page Mladi.hr (Eng. Youth) to participate in the events in the scope of the campaign, such as the invitation to participate in the Council of Europe Youth Action Week in Strasbourg 2022.
The EU youth dialogue in Croatia (Dijalog EU-a s mladima) also enables the participation of young people and policy-makers on the international level. This process is administered by the European structured dialogue workgroup, composed of the European Youth Forum, European Commission and the trio of countries presiding over the EU.
Since 2014, The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the national competent body for youth (former ministries till mid-2020 and now the Central State Office for Demography and Youth) have been the promotors of the measures focused on development of a support system for youth, youth organizations and for youth participation in the UN bodies` decision-making processes.
In August 2020 a Croatian Youth delegate to the United Nations was appointed, namely Mr. Josip Perkušić and Mr. Darko Suljičić was appointed as a deputy delegate. The role of the Youth delegate to the United Nations is to participate in the General Assembly and functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council. In that context, the youth delegate provides input to their delegation on issues related to youth or priority issues raised in national consultations prior to their engagement with the intergovernmental meeting. Moreover, Mr. Perkušić (or his deputy) is tasked to inform the relevant national institutions and young people on the UN work in the field of youth.
Since 2014, the Ministry of Culture has been the holder and the promotor of the measure to develop a support system for youth, youth organizations, and for youth participation in the UNESCO bodies’ decision-making processes.
The Central State Office for Demography and Youth (Središnji državni ured za demografiju i mlade is the responsible for the development of a support system for youth, youth organizations, and for youth participation in the EU and Council of Europe bodies’ decision-making processes. They regularly delegate young representatives to EU Youth Conferences (for example Czech Republic, 2022).
World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) mission is to inform, sustain and energize a global network of United Nations Associations to support the principles and programs of the United Nations and to help shape its agenda. WFUNA Youth aims to gain more support for the spirit of the United Nations among young people, as well as to promote the world-wide activities of United Nations Youth Associations and UNA Youth Programs. It seeks to promote the establishment of United Nations Youth Associations or Youth Programs where they do not exist. WFUNA-Youth is an autonomous, not-for-profit organization, affiliated with the World Federation.
Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes (Agencija za mobilnost i EU programe) is responsible for implementation of the “Europe Goes Local” project for Croatia. Project goal is not just to support the recognition and improvement of the quality of work with young people as part of local youth policy, but and to strengthen the European and international dimension of work with young people at the local level and to contribute to the development of work with young people through European cooperation in the field of young people.
As part of a series of activities taking place at the European level within the framework of the “Europe Goes Local” project, the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes held the international study visit in April 2022. called "Youth policy meets youth work". The participants of the activity were representatives of local self-government units and youth organizations from four European countries: Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Serbia.
The European Youth Parliament (EYP) is one of the largest platforms for political debate, intercultural encounters, international dialogue, and the exchange of ideas among young people in Europe, present in more than 40 European countries. The European Youth Parliament Croatia was founded in 1994. Since its founding, the EYPC has organized numerous EYP days, regional sessions, national sessions, international sessions and an international forum. The EYP is an organization led and coordinated by young people for young people. The organization actively promotes the idea of European citizenship and political participation of young people in the world. EYPC actively participates in the work of EYP on current political, economic, social and cultural topics. EYPC on National Selection Conferences, like in Rijeka 2015 about cross-border communication in practice and in Zadar 2019 worked and exchanged opinions with decision-makers representatives about interculturalism.
The "Future of Europe: European Year of Youth" project is being implemented in 2022 by the Croatian member of the European Parliament Predrag Fred Matić, a member of the Committee for Culture and Education.
The project is implemented with high school students all over Croatia, and its goal is to give young people from Croatia a voice at the European and national level and to include them in the decision-making process. 10 high schools from all over Croatia are participating in the project and it includes 4300 young high school students.
- In cooperation with schools, professors who coordinated the process, and students, involved participants worked on creating a comprehensive solution for young people. Through mentoring and active debates among young people and with young people, a unique document will be created and forwarded to all relevant stakeholders in Croatia and the European Union. The aforementioned document created by young people will represent a kind of map of fundamental problems, risks, potential and solutions in the field of youth policies.