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. Following the adoption of the Law, the Agency for Youth and Sports together with the OSCE Mission to Skopje in June 2021published 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 is to be developed within 18 months of the adoption of the Law. Unfortunately the timeframe to do so has passed (since July 2021), and there has been no progress towards creation of a new National Youth Strategy in 2021, aside from launching a call for public procurement for a Youth Trends Research.
Specific country programs are designed for employment and education.
Youth Unemployment is the highest priority at country level since according to the Eurostat (2020) 29,5% of the young people in Republic of North Macedonia aged 15 – 29 are unemployed, which, according to the same source, is the smallest percentage in the last 8 years. On the other hand, according to State Statistical Office of Republic of North Macedonia, in the III quarter of 2021 the youth unemployment (aged 15-24) rate was 15.3 %.
When it comes to NEET people, according to Eurostat (2020), 26.2 % of young people aged 15-29 are NEET (young people neither in employment nor in education or training). For comparison, in 2019 the rate was 24,5%, and in 2019 we had the lowest rate in comparison with the previous 10 years but in 2020 this rate has increased. But, if we compare the rates with other European countries we will notice that we have the third highest rate in Europe, after Turkey and Montenegro.
The Youth Trends Research Report (Младински трендови во Република Македонија - Извештај)(2014) included the youth unemployment as priority issue in order to identify the opinion of young people on how to improve the current unemployment situation. Furthermore, the country cooperates with the International Labor Organization in developing youth employment policies. The ILO conducts regular surveys which are integrated into the youth employment actions plans.
Education is included as one of the highest themes on youth policy in the country. Two years ago, 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 annoucement for a public procurement for a new Youth Trends Research, to be used a basis for the new National Youth Strategy that is to be developed in 2022.
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/databrowser/view/yth_empl_100/default/table?lang=en (Accessed February 8, 2022)
 Active Population in the Republic of North Macedonia, Results from the Labor Force Survey, III quarter 2021 (State Statistical Office, Republic of North Macedonia, 2021), p.4, https://www.stat.gov.mk/pdf/2021/220.127.116.11_mk.pdf (Accessed February 8, 2022)
https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/databrowser/view/yth_empl_150/default/table?lang=en (Accessed February 8, 2022)
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.