4.2 Administration and governance
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The main actor involved in policy making in the field of social inclusion of young people is the Social Welfare Services of the Deputy Ministry of Deputy Ministry of Social Welfare (Υφυπουργείο Κοινωνικής Πρόνοιας). The Deputy Ministry was established at the end of 2021. Some of the responsibilities of the new authority are the creation of programs towards social inclusion and improved level of living for all, while including the Social Welfare Services, the Department for Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities and the Benefits Service. In general, the Deputy Ministry of Social Welfare aims to provide to all citizens equal access opportunities to social services, through which it’s aimed to support individuals and families.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance ( Υπουργείο Εργασίας και Κοινωνικών Ασφαλίσεων) is also a major actor in social inclusion, since its mission is to promote social justice within a free democratic system based on the pillars of social cohesion and social inclusion. The Ministry works on the maintenance and continuous improvement of the standard of living and the quality of life of the working population and of society in general.
Apart from the Deputy Ministry of Social Welfare and the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, the following public actors are also involved in policy making regarding young people’s social inclusion:
The Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment (Υπουργείο Γεωργίας, Αγροτικής Ανάπτυξης και Περιβάλλοντος), which undertakes the immense responsibility, to promote through an integrated coordination, the protection and sustainable management of the environment, natural resources, and the sustainable management of agricultural, livestock and fisheries production. Related to social inclusion, the ministry aims to ensure a better quality of life for the current and future generations. It has to be stressed that the Ministry organizes many consultation meetings with young people in rural areas regarding the development of their daily life (e.g. Υπουργείο Γεωργίας και Οργανισμός Νεολαίας σε ανοιχτή διαβούλευση με τους νέους της υπαίθρου).
The Ministry of Justice and Public Order (Υπουργείο Δικαιοσύνης και Δημόσιας Τάξεως), which is responsible for the close review and consideration of the need to reform the existing legislation in a wide field of public and private law, such as criminal law, legislation that falls within the general concept of the administration of justice, family law, legislation in the fields of equality, human rights, the treatment of offenders and other. Its activities furthermore include the promotion, in collaboration with the Supreme Court, of legislative and administrative measures for the unhampered administration of Justice and the smooth functioning of the courts and criminological research for the formation of policies for the prevention and suppression of crime. It has also the responsibility, through the Police Force that the Minister of Justice and Public Order politically heads, of the maintenance of law and order, the preservation of peace and the prevention and detection of crime. Prevention and/or intervention policies and practices aiming at juvenile delinquency cases are being adopted by the Ministry, in an attempt to promote youngster social inclusion in the local society.
In addition to this, another important actor in policy making in the field is the Department for Women issues – Gender Equality (Τομέας Διοίκησης και Ισότητας των Φύλων) of the Ministry of Justice and Public Order. The Unit has the primary responsibility for shaping, coordinating and implementing governmental equality policy and monitoring international developments. The Unit also monitors the National Mechanism for Women's Rights, which was established to promote equality and women's rights in all areas of life.
The Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry (Υπουργείο Ενέργειας, Εμπορίου και Βιομηχανίας) aims to secure Cyprus' energy supplies in order to meet the needs of the country with the least burdens on the economy and the environment. In order to achieve the above objective, it implements activities related to the creation of necessary energy infrastructure, the integration and supervision of the internal energy market, the promotion of energy saving, the exploitation of indigenous renewable energy sources and the protection of sensitive consumers.
The Ministry of Interior (Υπουργείο Εσωτερικών) whose mission is to formulate and implement human-centered policies. The anthropocentric action of the Ministry of the Interior is based on the following policy pillars: a) A qualitative upgrading of the services provided to the citizen, b) Answer to the new housing plans put into effect on 1.1.2007, c) Upgrading the role and restructuring of local government, d) The intensification of the efforts to reconstruct and simplify the processes that prove inadequate to meet the modern needs and needs of the citizens. The Civil Registry and Migration Department (Τμήμα Αρχείου Πληθυσμού και Μετανάστευσης) is responsible to promote social cohesion policies and practices through the adoption of various methodologies and mechanisms, including children and youngsters regardless of their cultural and/or religious background.
The Ministry of Finance (Υπουργείο Οικονομικών), whose mission is to ensure conditions of macroeconomic stability and the sound management of resources and of the financial obligations of the State, in order to improve the quality of life of every citizen of the Republic.
The Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth (Υπουργείο Παιδείας, Πολιτισμού, και Νεολαίας), which is responsible for the fields of education, youth and sports Also, the Youth Board of Cyprus runs under the Ministry and is responsible for advising the Minister and the Council of Ministers on youth issues; in addition, the Cyprus Sports Organization (“Κυπριακός Οργανισμός Αθλητισμού") which is connected to the Ministry and takes care of the sports culture in the country. Students’ social inclusion is considered one of the Ministry’s main aims in all levels of education, through the adoption of various methods and practices.
The Ministry of Health (Υπουργείο Υγείας) whose mission is the continuous improvement of the health of the population of Cyprus, through the prevention of disease, and the provision to every citizen of high level health care, respecting the rights of every patient to high quality medical care delivered with dignity.
The Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works (Υπουργείο Μεταφορών, Επικοινωνιών και Έργων) whose mission is the design and implementation of policies for the continuous improvement of transport (air, maritime and land) and of communications, as well as the continuous upgrading of the quality of projects implemented by the Ministry. In addition, the better promotion and exploitation of the archaeological wealth as well as other resources of the country is pursued. Additional to the Ministry, its following departments are also included: Department of Public Works, Department of Antiquities.
The Office of the Commissioner for Gender Equality (Γραφείο Επιτρόπου για την Ισότητα των Φύλων), which is the institution responsible for designing Gender Equality Policies, implementing and monitoring the implementation of these policies. The National Action Plan for Gender Equality between Men and Women 2019-2023 (Εθνικό Σχέδιο Δράσης για την Ισότητα μεταξύ Ανδρών και Γυναικών 2019-2023) stresses the need to support vulnerable groups of people such as children and youngsters, in order to gain access in education and life-long learning, which will enable them to develop necessary knowledge and skills for a full participation in society.
The Office of the Commissioner for Children’s Rights (Επίτροπος Προστασίας των Δικαιωμάτων του Παιδιού), whose mission is to protect and promote the rights of the child. The Commissioner’s role is to a) represent children and their interests at all levels, b) promote public awareness and sensitivity so that children’s’ rights in the family, at school, in the community are safeguarded, c) identify and promote the views of children where they themselves cannot be heard, d) monitor legislation relating to children and to submit proposals aiming at their harmonization with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, e) carry out public awareness campaigns, f) appoint a representative of the child in judicial proceedings affecting him/her and finally g) represent children in procedures affecting them.
The Commissioner for Administration and the protection of Human Rights (Ombudsman) (Επίτροπος Διοικήσεως και & Προστασίας Ανθρωπίνων Δικαιωμάτων), is a senior independent state officer. The institution of the ombudsman constitutes the most prevalent institution of extra judicial control of the administration and protection of human rights. The main pivots of the mission of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights are to ensure legality, to promote good governance, to combat maladministration and to protect citizens’ rights and human rights in general.
The Directorate General Growth ( Γενική Διεύθυνση Ανάπτυξης), which is responsible for handling issues related to the development of the economy and the optimal utilization of available European and other resources.
The Union of Cyprus Municipalities (Ένωση Δήμων Κύπρου), which is the main association of Local Authorities in Cyprus. Its core functions are to contribute to the development of local government autonomy, as well as to act as spokesman of local government interests vis-a-vis the central government and other national institutions. It also takes an active stand in the relations between Cyprus and the European Union.
- The defense and promotion of the Members' powers, interests, rights and privileges and, generally, of the independence and self-sufficiency of the Local Authorities.
- The permanent and on an organised basis cooperation and exchange of views between them, for the achievement of common targets.
- The collection of data and information being useful for the cooperation of the Communities.
- The expression of opinions to any Authority, Body, Organism or person (including the Government and the House of Representatives) and claiming from the state matters aiming at the development and expansion of the Local Self-Government institution.
- The participation in International Bodies of Local Self-Government and its representation at Local and International Congresses.
In addition, there are some non-public actors that participate in the development of policies in the field of social inclusion. First of all, the trade unions (e.g. Pancyprian Federation of Labour, Democratic Labour Federation of Cyprus, Cyprus Worker’s Confederation (SEK) which are important social partners in Cyprus, as well as employers’ organisations (Cyprus Employers & Industrialists Federation (OEB), Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEBE). NGOs that represent various groups of people, including young people with disabilities also participate in the social dialogue for policies in the field of social inclusion and welfare.
There is no distribution of responsibilities between top-level and regional/local authorities. All responsibilities remain at top-level.
A mechanism of cross-sectorial cooperation has been set up for the Strategy for Social Policy 2021-2027 between Ministries, Departments, Agencies involved in defining policies and measures on social inclusion. At the same time, all the stakeholders involved in this Strategy are also represented at the Cross-sectorial Working Group on Youth working for the National Youth Strategy (Εθνική Στρατηγική για τη Νεολαία).
In particular, for the development of the Strategy for Social Policy, the Social Welfare Services, as the competent coordinating authority for social protection and integration issues, worked closely with representatives of the two main categories of partners:
- Ministries / Services and Local Authorities, and
- Social partners and civil society.