5.5 National strategy to increase youth participation
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Existence of a national strategy to increase young people's political and civil society participation
In Republic of North Macedonia, there is a National Youth Strategy 2016-2025, where one of the nine thematic areas is Youth Participation. The Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies adopted in January 2020 envisages the preparation and adoption of a new National Youth Strategy. In the draft version of the new National Youth Strategy 2023-2027, Youth Participation is one of the eight thematic areas as well. The legal deadline for the adoption of the new strategy by the Government was July 2021. Though the creation of the National Youth Strategy started in October 2022, the document is still not officially adopted. (September 2023).
In January 2020, the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies was adopted. (Закон за младинско учество и младински политики) The aims of the law are:
1) creating and implementing youth policy at all levels through multisectoral approach, starting from the needs and interests of young people;
2) strengthening the participation of young people in the youth related policy-making processes, active information, promotion and protection of the interests of young people, as well as strengthening awareness of the importance of young people and their social role;
3) promoting intergenerational partnerships to support youth participation in the decision-making and policy-making process;
4) support and promotion of youth organization;
5) encouraging structural dialogue at national and local level;
6) encouraging volunteering, youth activism and youth work and
7) encouraging personal, professional and social development of young people.
According to the same law, the National Youth Strategy is a strategic document that sets out medium-term goals and priorities for the development of youth policies and the promotion of the interests of young people and determines organizational, financial and administrative measures for their realization. The Law also underlines that the National Youth Strategy is developed by the Agency for Youth and Sport through consultative, inclusive and transparent process and after previously obtained opinion from youth advisory body and submits it to the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia.
The National Youth Strategy 2023-2027 is targeting eight thematic areas: youth participation; youth information; youth work; education; education, culture, health
entrepreneurship and pre-employment support; security (violence).
The strategy aims with its interventions on national level and plans particular attention to vulnerable categories of young people (unemployed, NEET, low level of education, young people with geographical and financial obstacles).
As stated in the draft version of the strategy the Vision is that “Young people are the bearers of positive changes and the key to sustainability and development of society. They realize their needs and rights in a way that allows them to reach their full humanness potential.”
Strategic Priorities of the National Youth Strategy 2023-2027 are:
- Strategic goal 1: Strengthened influence of young people in all decision-making processes at the local and national level based on an appropriate legal framework;
- Strategic goal 2: Increased participation of young people in decision-making processes within the educational establishments in the direction of developing and applying modern and advanced educational policies tailored to young people;
- Strategic objective 3: Improved involvement and impact of young people on development and the implementation of environmental protection policies;
- Strategic objective 4: Strengthened youth activism within the digital space;
- Strategic objective 5: Strengthened and sustainable capacities of the youth sector as a partner of the institutions in creating policies towards a better quality of life for young people;
The Strategy is targeting all young people aged 15-29, but is also emphasizing the importance of promotion of youth activism to young people with fewer opportunities.
The law on Youth Participation and Youth policies regulated few bodies that are intended to increase the youth participation in the policy-making processes such as: National Assembly of Youth; National Advisory Body for Youth policies; Local Assembly of Youth and Local Youth Councils.
As main responsible authority is the government as a whole and specifically the Agency of Youth and Sport. The main coordination is in the hands of the Agency of Youth and Sport, also responsible for monitoring of the implementation.
Regarding the monitoring of the National Youth Strategy 2016-2025, there are presently no publicly accessible monitoring reports, despite it being in its seventh year of implementation. However, following the enactment of the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies in 2022, the imperative to formulate a new National Youth Strategy has emerged.
As stated in the draft version, the implementation and monitoring of the progress of the new National Youth Strategy (2023-2027) is responsibility of all state institutions identified within the thematic areas, and the operationalization of the strategy will be achieved in accordance with the action framework that foresees the development of two action plans (2023-2025
As part of the process of monitoring the strategy's implementation, thematic discussions will be organized by both the Parliament and the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia.
As a benchmark of the National Youth Strategy's (NYS) effectiveness, it relies on indicators grouped according to the thematic areas outlined in the strategy itself. The final evaluation of the performance of the NYS will be determined through an external independent evaluation conducted by independent experts /organizations. All reports in the individual stages of strategy implementation, as well as reports from the external independent evaluation will be publicly available through the Agency for Youth and Sport website, as well as the websites of all competent institutions in charge of implementing activities in accordance with the action plans.
According to information received from the Agency of Youth and Sport (upon prior request for free access to public information by NYCM), during 2018 AYS held a series of consultative meetings with civil society organizations. In November 2019 there were 6 working groups, working on preparation of the new Action Plan 2020 for the National Youth Strategy 2016-2025. However, following the enactment of the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies in 2022, the imperative to formulate a new National Youth Strategy has emerged. As a result, this process is no longer relevant and has not been completed.