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Estonia

Estonia

5. Participation

5.5 National strategy to increase youth participation

On this page
  1. Existence of a national strategy to increase young people's political and civil society participation
  2. Scope and contents
  3. Responsible authority for the implementation of the strategy
  4. Monitoring and evaluation
  5. Revisions/ Updates

Existence of a national strategy to increase young people's political and civil society participation

A specific National Strategy on Youth participation doesn't exist but Youth participation is a pillar of the Youth Field Development Plan 2014-2020 (Noortevaldkonna arengukava 2014-2020). 

One of the planned policy measures is targeted to “Support for the active participation of young people in the community life and decision-making” The key activities that will be implemented as part of the measure are as follows:

  • sustainable development of traditional forms of participation (primarily such as youth councils and associations) is supported;
  • a system that ensures annual budgetary support for youth associations and councils is further developed;
  • increase in the membership of youth associations is supported by improving youth leaders’ competence for inclusion;
  • new forms of youth participation are developed and supported so as to devise a great many methods used in youth work institutions and organizations that support participation and the ones for learning to participate, focusing, among other things, on developing youth leaders’, youth workers’ and civil servants’ competence;
  • awareness of young people as a basis for quality participation is raised by supporting the national youth information system and enabling it to operate effectively in cooperation with various parties.

There is an indicator set to monitor the results: a number of opportunities for organized participation (youth councils and other participation structures).

In the draft document of the new youth field development plan for the years 2021-2035 (Noortevaldkonna arengukava 2021-2035 eelnõu) has a strategic goal dedicated to youth participation called "The protection of youth rights is consistent and the active youth citizenship is supported". The strategic goal has 3 measures:

  1. Prerequisites are created for the growth of young people's trust in the state and the strengthening of ties with their country.
  2. All young people will have the opportunity to have their say and be heard at all levels.
  3. Young people will be empowered to be active citizens.

There are 3 indicators that will measure the results:

  • a number of opportunities to participate in;
  • the share of young candidates in the local elections from all candidates;
  • the share of participation in voluntary activities.

Scope and contents

The Youth Field Development Plan 2014-2020 addresses the youth participation at all levels, however particular attention is paid to participate at the local level. The Development Plan states “Aspirations and opportunities of young people to participate in decision-making processes on matters that concern them and society as a whole are the basis for the development of a cohesive society in Estonia. Participation in arranging your own life and the life of the surrounding community as well as in voluntary activities forms a basis for the development of a strong civil society – one in which young people are the active actors driving social change. Such participation largely determines people’s sense of belonging and perception of being involved, which helps prevent them from falling into social apathy and from seeking to express themselves in a radical way or leave the country.” In order to increase participation, there is an increasing need in the youth field for finding new forms of participation, develop the habit of having a say and recognize learning experience gained through participation. The opinions of non-participants must also be found out and taken into account.

The development plan has a strategic goal (one of four goals) defined as “Greater support for the participation of young people in decision-making”. Under the goal, a policy measure “Support for the active participation of young people in the community life and decision-making" is planned. The key activities that will be implemented as part of the measure are:

  • sustainable development of traditional forms of participation (primarily such as youth councils and associations) is supported;
  • a system that ensures annual budgetary support for youth associations and councils is further developed;
  • increase in the membership of youth associations is supported by improving youth leaders’ competence for inclusion;
  • new forms of youth participation are developed and supported so as to devise a great many methods used in youth work institutions and organizations that support participation and the ones for learning to participate, focusing, among other things, on developing youth leaders’, youth workers’ and civil servants’ competence;
  • awareness of young people as a basis for quality participation is raised by supporting the national youth information system and enabling it to operate effectively in cooperation with various parties.

The overall target group of the development plan is young people (i.e. 7-26 years old), there are no specific target groups identified in relation to the participation goal.

The draft document of the new youth field development plan has also several measures targetted to youth participation.

Responsible authority for the implementation of the strategy

Estonian Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for the coordination of the implementation of the development plan. In 2020, the ministry published a report of the results of different development plans under their administrative field for the year 2019 that also monitored youth participation.

Monitoring and evaluation

The monitoring and evaluation of the Youth Field Development Plan 2014-2020 is part of the general mechanism established for all policy fields in Estonia. In general, it is required from the ministry appointed as a responsible body for the policy document, to report to the Government every year the implemented activities, achieved outcomes and results. The yearly reports are bases for the Government to renew or to terminate the implementation of the policy document. 6 months after the end of the defined period of the policy document, it is required to present the final report which has been consulted with relevant ministries and other interested parties. The Government may also request an additional evaluation by experts to evaluate the results. The consultation of interested parties is required to be reported in the drafting process and reporting process.

In 2020, the ministry published a report of the results of different development plans under their administrative field for the year 2019 that also monitored youth participation. The number of organized participation forms was monitored, and buy the end of 2019, there were 71 participation forms in 89.9% of the municipalities. The ministry foresees that the level must be kept the same in the future and new forms of participation must be created.

Revisions/Updates

The Youth Field Development Plan 2014-2020 has not been revised. The draft document of a new development plan for the years 2021-2035 has been sent to the Parliament to be confirmed by the end of 2020.

At the state level, the development of the youth field is being planned for the third time. The “Estonian Youth Work Concept” and the “Estonian Youth Work Development Plan 2001-2004” were drafted in 2001, these were followed by the ‘Youth Work Strategy 2006-2013’ which was approved in 2006. What differentiates the current development plan from the previous documents is its approach to focus on goals and measures that will help to achieve positive change in the most significant challenges – the plan does not describe measures in all areas of youth work and youth policy. Also, the aims and objectives based on and formulated in accordance with youth perspective as opposed to a perspective of the sector or services used in earlier documents – the analyses and the policy objectives were about young people not about the system and services of youth work or youth policy.