1.3 National youth strategy
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According to the Youth Act the Government shall adopt a national youth work and policy programme every four years. The latest National Youth Work and Policy Programme based on the Youth Act and the Government Decree on Youth Work and on Youth Policy was published in January 2020. Consultation related to the writing process of the programme targeted at different stakeholders, including young people, took place in June-December 2019. The consultation process included interviews of young people, a stake-holder survey, the possibility of writing statements and of commenting on the draft online (see more on the obligations and tradition of consulting young people in Youth Wiki/Finland 5.4 Young people’s participation in Policy-Making). A new programme for the years 2024-2027 is under preparation, see more in Youth Wiki/Finland 1.9 Current debates and reforms.
The National Youth Work and Youth Policy Programme coordinates the objectives and measures determined by the key ministries for promoting young people’s growth and living conditions, which are designed to contribute to the attainment of the objectives defined in the Youth Act during the programme period.
One of the programme’s main goals is to establish the youth policy perspective as part of public sector decision-making. The programme will help the effective use of resources from various sectors aimed at improving the conditions in which young people grow and live. The core content of the programme is to set out more detailed objectives and measures necessary to achieve the goals defined in the Government programme as well as other government strategies and programmes.
In accordance still with the eartlier government programme, the main themes of the National Youth Work and Youth Policy Programme for the years 2020-2023 are the prevention of social exclusion and the enhancement of inclusion and involvement. Social exclusion will be prevented more effectively by ensuring equal opportunities for a meaningful life for all youths. The programme includes three targets which will be used to achieve these goals: 1) Young people will have prerequisites for smoothly running daily lives – Social exclusion will be reduced; 2) Young people will have the means and the skills for participation, and for exerting influence; 3) Young people will have trust in society – Non-discrimination and security will be strengthened.
In addition to the government’s youth policy objectives and their related measures, the programme includes objectives for the youth sector’s european and international activities and defines the priorities of Finland’s selected national youth work centres of excellence.
The programme also describes how the monitoring and the evaluation of the programme is to be implemented. In addition, the programme included a description of the situation of young people, based upon statistical data and research on children and young people.
The programme encompasses all young people under 29 years of age, as referred to in the Youth Act. The key measures determined in the programme are, however, targeted at improving the living conditions of young people in the core group of youth, or roughly between 12 and 25 years of age.
Based on the Government Degree on Youth Work and Policy that outline the preparation of the programme, the following aspects should be given a due consideration to:
1) the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and Finland’s other international obligations related to the scope of application of the Youth Act’s application;
3) the diversity of youth and the various minorities among young people.
According to the Youth Act the Ministry of Education and Culture is primarily responsible authority that implements the National Youth Work and Youth Policy Programme in conjunction with various other ministries, such as Ministry of Justice, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and Ministry of the Environment.
The implementation of the programme is funded by the annual budgets of the ministries and different branches of the administration. Additional funding also comes from various other national and European programmes (i.e. the European Social Fund), as well as from the regional and local levels.
Based on the Government Decree on Youth Work and Policy, the State Youth Council shall, once during each government term, prepare an assessment of the progress made in the implementation of the National Youth Work and Youth Policy Programme and make proposals for changes, as and when appropriate.
Youth work centres of expertise form a network that support the implementation of the objectives set out by the National Youth Work and Youth Policy Programme 2020-2023. For more information about youth work centres of expertise, see Youth Wiki / Finland 1.4 Youth policy decision-making.
The National Youth Work and Youth Policy Programme 2020–2023 builds upon three earlier programmes, referred as the “Child and Youth Policy Programme” (2012–2015, 2016 and 2007–2011) and the National Youth Work and Youth Policy Programme (2017–2019). The first two were prepared in accordance with the earlier Youth Act (2006). The major difference between the two earlier programmes and the rest is that now the frame of reference upon which the writing process has been based is the actual government programme. The next National Youth Work and Youth Policy Programme will be published in 2024.