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The National Youth Strategy (Εθνική στρατηγική για τη νεολαία 2017-2022), developed and published by the Youth Board of Cyprus (YBC), has as a main target to reinforce the role of young people in the democratic process in Cyprus. Therefore, some of the main action fields of the National Strategy are participation, representation and social inclusion of young people. The strategy's document in its relevant chapter “Youth and the world” sets as priorities key topics from the global agenda, such as the climate change, the human rights and the UN Millennium Development Goals. More specifically, the goals of this field of action are:
Target 1: Creation and exploitation of mobility opportunities.
Target 2: Development of a global, intercultural and ecological consciousness and mindset.
The National Youth Strategy priorities for achieving the above targets are the following:
- Increase youth participation in international networks and improve the cooperation among organisations within the EU and beyond.
- Make the most out of exchange programmes (education, training, exchange of ideas).
- Enhance access to information and empowerment for exploiting youth mobility programmes (e.g. Erasmus+).
- Facilitate youth participation in mobility programmes.
- Create more opportunities for education and training on issues related to modern societies (e.g. human rights, refugee issue, environmental topics, climate change, sustainable development).
- Create opportunities for coexistence and cooperation among different nationalities, communities and religions.
- Implement further measures for enhancing sustainable development in the country.
The recent findings of the qualitative research ‘Youth Barometer’ (Νέο-Βαρόμετρο), which were released in March 2020 by the IMR/University of Nicosia on behalf of the Youth Board of Cyprus, show that there is an increased concern among young people (80% of the respondents) on the consequences of climate change. However, the survey indicates very low participation of youth in environmental activities, as only 26% of the respondents participates in volunteering activities concerning the protection of the environment.
In addition, the survey on the “Current Situation of Young People in Cyprus”(H Υφιστάμενη Κατάσταση των Νέων στην Κύπρο), which was conducted by KPMG on behalf of the YBC, showcases that 71% of the young people who took part in the research, never participated in any kind of young people exchanges with other European (or third countries). A primary reason for that, as reported, is the lack of relevant information for international activities. Therefore, a main challenge for the Cypriot youth is to enhance their interest and participation in decision-making process and raise their awareness on global issues.
Since 2017, the Youth Board of Cyprus funds annually the implementation of the programme “Parliament of Young Representatives” (Βουλή των Νέων Αντιπροσώπων) that provides opportunities to young people’s active participation in national, European and global-related issues, by involving young people in the policy making process. During the first, second, third and fourth Parliament of young representatives in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019-2021 respectively, some of the main topics included in the young people’s final policy proposals (Υπομνήματα & Εκθέσεις Κοινοβουλευτικών Επιτροπών) included recommendations for global related issues like education’s improvements and employment, gender equality in the workplace, environmental and green policies, etc.