1.4 Youth policy decision-making
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The decision-making process of youth policies includes other institutions / ministries such as: Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, Employment Service Agency, Education Development Bureau, National Agency for European Educational Programmes and Mobility, Local Self-Governments etc. Based on the adopted Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies, the Law envisages the establishment of a National Advisory body for youth policies, which is defined to have an advisory and supervisory role regarding youth policies and activities for youth. The structure of this body will be composed of 9 representatives of the youth sector, and no more than 8 representatives of state institutions, based on articles in the Law. According to a decision of the Government, they appointed the following institutions / ministries to nominate a representative: Agency for Youth and Sports, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Local Self-Government, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance.
At the local level, the Local Self-Government is responsible for decision making. The decision making is based on the existence of Local Youth Strategies (where adopted). Most of the Local Self-Governments integrated Local Youth Councils as an advisory body within the municipalities.
According to the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies, all municipalities in North Macedonia are obligated to establish Local Youth Councils, as well as adopt a Local Youth Strategy, within a year of its adoption, however there have been delays in the implementation. So far, we have established Local Youth Councils in only 19 municipalities, which is 23% from the total number of municipalities within the country. According to the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies, the Article 16 states that Local Youth Councils should be established in 81 municipality, which is the total number of municipalities within the territory of North Macedonia.
Following the adoption of the Law, the Agency for Youth and Sports together with the OSCE Mission to Skopje in June 2021 published a Manual for Local Youth Councils, a document aimed to support the creation of Local Youth Councils, as well as inform the Municipalities and the members of the Councils what their roles are.
Structured Dialogue is one of the most comprehensive and useful European practices for dialogue between young people and decision-makers on issues of their concern as well as for increasing the cooperation between young people and decision makers. Unfortunately, in the Republic of North Macedonia there is still no national working group for Structured Dialogue and there is no publicly available information whether and to what extent young people in North Macedonia use this mechanism.
Following the example of the European Parliament and other Western European parliaments, the Parliament of the Republic of North Macedonia has established a Club on Youth Affairs and Policies. The Club is an informal body in the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, composed of members of all parliamentary parties whose goal is to realize the interest of the youth in the Republic of North Macedonia, in cooperation with youth organizations, informal youth groups and youth wings of political parties.
The priorities set in the National Youth Strategy 2016-2025 comply with the priorities defined with the EU Youth Strategy – Investing and Empowering. The following priorities are included in the National Youth Strategy: youth participation, youth information, local youth work, education, employment and pre-employment support, culture, sports, health and quality of life. The selection is based on the priorities included in the previous strategy and complying with the EU Youth Strategy. In addition, based on the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies, a new National Youth Strategy should be developed within 18 months of the adoption of the Law. Although the legal deadline has passed, the new National Youth Strategy is not officially adopted yet, but the draft version of it is available to the public.
Specific country programs are designed for employment and education.
According to the data provided by the State Statistical office in North Macedonia (published on 17.03.2023, Results from the Labour Force Survey, 2022) for the “Working age population by economic activity, age groups and gender - structure”, 32.3% of the young people from 15-29 years are unemployed, which is one percent less in comparison with the 2021 year (33.3%).
When it comes to NEET people, аccording to the Employment Agency of the Republic of North Macedonia, in 2021 there were approximately 94,000 young people aged 15-29 not in employment, education or training (NEET), corresponding to approximately one quarter (24.2 % %) of the total young population. This share shows a downward trend compared to 2016, when young NEETs accounted for 31.3% of the youth population (approximately 136,000 young people). But, if we compare the rates with other European countries we will notice that we still have high rate of NEET people.
Education is included as one of the highest themes on youth policy in the country. Four years ago, the Ministry of Education and Science adopted the Strategy on Education 2018-2025 with Action Plan (more in the chapter for education). In addition, in October 2021, the Agency for Youth and Sports launched an announcement for a public procurement for a new Youth Trends Research, that served as a basis for the new development of the new National Youth Strategy (2023-2027).
https://www.stat.gov.mk/pdf/2023/2.1.23.05_mk.pdf (Accessed August 16,2023)
The Agency of Youth and Sport was established in 2000, after the Parliament adopted the decision to exclude the Ministry of Youth and Sport, which was the main institution for youth development.
The Agency of Youth and Sport (www.ams.gov.mk) is the main public authority at national level in charge of youth. It is a governmental body with its own budget and responsibilities. Although it is not a ministry, it is an independent structure that is not under any other particular governmental ministry and responds directly to the Prime Minister. The Agency of Youth and Sport has three departments: The Department for Sport, the Department for Normative, Legal and Economic Issues, and the Department for Youth. Main tasks of the Youth Department are social development and social integration of youth via quality formal and non-formal education, economic prosperity of the youth via youth entrepreneurship, improving quality of life, active participation of the youth in public life and in decision making processes on local and national level. The Youth Department is divided into two sub-Departments-International cooperation and Youth policy and training.
Policy monitoring and evaluation
In 2016, a monitoring plan was prepared for monitoring the activities of the Action Plans for the implementation of the National Youth Strategy (2016-2025). But the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies imposes the need for adoption of a new National Youth Strategy as well as a new action plan for implementation of the strategy, which consequently means a new plan for monitoring and evaluation of activities.