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- The top-level authorities in Cyprus involve young people in the formulation of policies in the following ways: The Youth Board Law includes legal provisions and guidelines on youth consultation. In particular, the law contains the establishment of Advisory Bodies and clearly says that the Youth Board’s Council should seek and take seriously into consideration the recommendations made by the Advisory Bodies on matters that it examines and fall under its jurisdiction. The Advisory Body is there to express views and submit suggestions regarding general principles of youth policy. Taking into consideration that the Youth Board of Cyprus shall advise, through the Minister of Education and Culture, the Council of Ministers about the configuration of a comprehensive and specialized policy on youth matters”, this consultation mechanism is across all policy areas directly influencing the situation of young people.
In addition, Youth Board of Cyprus, in the framework of the implementation of the National Youth Strategy, carries out consultations with youth people, in order to ensure their participation in matters that directly concern them. More information on the Strategy and the consultations can be found in section 1.3.
In this way, young people are officially consulted by the Youth Board of Cyprus and the rest of the top-level institutions on a national level for the formulation of policies in youth field.
The Advisory Body can meet (face to face) whenever the Chairman of the Council deems it necessary, but he is also obliged to convene a meeting if there is a written request by the majority of the members.
- Municipal/Community Youth Councils through which young people are consulted on local level (go to the section 5.3 for further information on the Municipal/Community Youth Councils).
- The Office of the Commissioner of Volunteerism and NGOs has introduced the “Day for public consultation” (Ημέρα Δημόσιας Διαβούλευσης). As explained in the Annual Report 2019of the office of the Commissioner, this is a pioneer initiative approved by the Council of Ministers and is repeated on a regular basis. The Republic of Cyprus and the State Officials, consult with civil society on issues that they care and concern them. The initiative does not target solely young people, but the citizens in general. The results of the consultations are given to the Government officials who are asked to take them into account before taking any decision.
There are different types of actors involved in the mechanisms of consultation, as well as on the actual levels of youth participation.
For example, the Advisory Body is consisted of the following committees:
(a) the Political Committee which includes representatives of each youth organization of the parties which have a parliamentary group and which are nominated by the corresponding organizations;
(b) the Trade Union Body which includes labour, rural and scientific youth organizations as well as student federations and organizations operating on an island-wide basis and with proven activity;
(c) the Students Committee which includes two representatives of each student federation or organization operating on an island-wide basis and with proven activity, as well as the school organizations, nominated by the body they represent.
All committees of the Advisory Body are chaired by the president of the Council of the Youth Board of Cyprus which is, the top level public authority for youth. There are no other stakeholders involved. The Youth Board of Cyprus did not take any measures in order to encourage the participation of specific target groups.
Regarding the Municipal/Community Youth Councils, the main actors are mentioned in the section 5.3.
Τhe actors involved in the “Day for public consultation” are students, organized groups, unorganized citizens and others, depending on the target group and topic addressed. The participation of specific target groups depends on the topic of the consultation, however, the Office of the Commissioner for Volunteerism and NGOs did not take any proactive measures in order to encourage the participation of specific groups in all consultations. The public authorities represented in this consultation process vary, depending on the topic of the consultation. Some examples of state officials taking part in previous consultations are Ministries, the Human Resource Development Authority, the Cities Union and the Cyprus Sports Organization. Additional stakeholders may also participate, but again they depend on the topic of the consultations. Some examples of additional stakeholders involved in previous consultations are: state and private universities, private sector companies
Public authorities collect data on young people's participation in the consultation processes.
The Youth Board of Cyprus has a database with the number of representatives of the Advisory Body. The members of the Advisory body are chosen from the beginning of the mandate and remain the same throughout all consultation processes.
The Municipal/Community Youth Council have again a database with the number of representatives. The members of the Local Youth Council are chosen from the beginning of the mandate and remain the same throughout all consultation processes.
The Office of the Commissioner for Volunteerism and NGOs keeps data about the participation of citizens through a list. However, it is not available if the Commissioner keeps record of the age of the participants.
The Youth Board of Cyprus usually requests input from the Advisory Body when it comes to policy issues, such as defining goals and objectives. As an outcome, their opinions are integrated into policy document prepared by the Youth Board of Cyprus. An example of such work was the National Youth Strategy of Cyprus. The National Youth Strategy is publicly available.
The type of input requested from the Municipal/Community Youth Councils is an annual action plan addressed to youth people, including a financial budget and recommendations for solutions and policies in regard to problems that young people face in relation to the Local Authority. It is not available if the Municipal/Local authorities make public the final outcomes.
The Office of the Commissioner for Volunteerism and NGOs usually requests input regarding recommendations and suggestions for new policies or measures the government should make. The outcomes of this consultation are publicly available in the annual reports of the Commissioner.
The biggest top-level and large-scale initiative that exist for young people for participating in dialogues or debates with public authorities responsible for policy-making is the National Youth Conference. The National Youth Conference is regularly organized by the Youth Board of Cyprus and it targets young people from NGOs, informal youth groups, pupils, students and any other young people aged between 14-35 years old. The Conferences usually take place under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Cyprus and they engage into consultations young people and state officials/stakeholders. The aim of the Conference is to hear young people’s thoughts and views, expectations and concerns about tomorrow. Each Conference has a different topic and its main outcome is a policy paper which is then given to the state officials for taking it into consideration when making any decision.
The Youth Board of Cyprus made the Conference accessible to all young people, arranging buses from rural areas to come to the conference and offering a permission for students and soldiers in order to attend it. Moreover, the Youth Board encouraged the participation of Turkish Cypriots whose transportation to the venue was again arranged.