5.4 Young people's participation in policy-making
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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 of 1994 (Ν.33 (Ι)/94) (Ο περί Οργανισμού Νεολαίας Νόμος του 1994 (Ν.33(Ι)/94) 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, Sport and Youth - 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 - National youth strategy.
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.
The Municipal/Community Youth Councils is another mechanism of consultation, through which young people are consulted on local level (advise section 5.3 - Youth representation bodies for further information on the Municipal/Community Youth Councils).
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 - Youth representation bodies.
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 Youth Board of Cyprus (YBC) 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 2017-2022 (NYS).
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 regarding 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 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 the President of the House of Representatives. The aim of the conference is to hear young people’s thoughts, views, expectations and concerns about tomorrow and bring together both young people and state officials/stakeholders. 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.