5.8 Raising political awareness among young people
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The only public authorities that is responsible for disseminating information about the democratic rights for young people and every citizen of Republic of North Macedonia is the State Election Commission. Everyone can access a different type of information such as the democratic rights for voting on the website of the Commission. Prior each election and referendum, the State Election Commission conducts an election campaign in order to inform the citizens about the elections and their right to vote.
According to the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies (Закон за младинско учество и младински политики) adopted in January 2020,
The bodies of the state administration, the municipalities, the municipalities in the city of Skopje and the city of Skopje are obliged to appoint a youth officer, a person responsible for the operation of Youth Office to coordinate, implement and monitor issues of interest of young people within the competence of the institution. Based on a publicly available list of youth officers (Службеници за млади - Институции и општини) on the website of the Agency of Youth and Sports, 95 municipalities and state institutions have appointed youth officers, out of a total of 120. It’s important to note that the Law specifies that they should be appointed by January 2021, within a year of the Law’s adoption.
Youth centers are places where programs aimed to improve the well-being of young people, personal, social and professional development of youth life, information of important interest to young people and other aspects of life of youth are prepared and implemented. The youth centers are established in cooperation between the municipalities, the municipalities in the city of Skopje and the city of Skopje and the forms of youth organization. Within five years (by January 2025) from the adoption of the Law on Youth Participation and Youth Policies, each municipality should enable the functioning of at least one youth center on its territory.
This laid the foundations for the opening of youth centers in cooperation between the Agency for Youth and Sports (Агенција за млади и спорт), the municipalities of Bitola, Veles, Kavadarci and Kumanovo, and the Union for Youth Work. In accordance with the signed memorandum of cooperation, the four municipalities undertook to provide space for the youth centers and to cover the running costs of their work, while the AYS undertook the obligation to equip the centers with the necessary equipment and materials. The Union for Youth Work, through local member organizations, will provide youth work programs to be implemented by youth workers.
In December 2021, the Union for Youth Work, the National Youth Council of Macedonia and the Agency of Youth and Sports held a press conference on Youth Centers, and one of their main conclusions was that only the municipality of Kavadarci has successfully implemented all steps of the establishing procedure as defined in the Law, while municipalities Kumanovo, Veles and Probistip have designated space for a youth center, but have not yet announced a public call for an organization that will manage it. In 2021, support was provided for the first four centers, and in 2022, support is planned for another 20 youth centers in the municipalities that will fulfill the legal obligations.
(Accessed February 15, 2022)
The State Election Commission is the only public authority that is having a campaign for the election right by creating a video material on how the election process is implementing and how the citizens of Republic of North Macedonia should use their right to vote. Beside the State Election Commission, also the CSO’s are making most of the campaigns for democratic rights and democratic values in Republic of North Macedonia.
The Ministry of Political System and Inter-Community Relations (Министерство за политички систем и односи помеѓу заедниците) was established in 2019. The Ministry is responsible for ensuring smooth implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement.
Starting from July 2015 The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of North Macedonia ( Министерство за култура на Република Северна Македонија) created and published 18 video public campaigns about Interethnic and Interreligious Coexistence where the main target were citizens of the Macedonian, Albanian, Roma, Serbian, Bosnian, Turkish and Vlach ethnicity. In the campaign were included celebrities and young people promoting intercultural values in the areas of sport, education, celebration and everyday life which was also the main objective and outcome of the campaign. No relevant measures or outcomes are available of the impact of the mentioned campaign.
Another project that promotes the intercultural dialogue among young people is “Building Bridges Fund” by the Ministry of Education and Science and the OSCE Mission to Skopje. The project was implemented in 2014 and it’s still ongoing. The purpose of the Fund is to ensure multi-ethnic experiences for all children and students from the earliest ages, thus contributing to building a society that cherishes and takes pride in its diversity, as well as in knowing the richness of shared values.
There are no guidelines on transparent public communication targeting young people.