1.4 Youth policy decision-making
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The institutional framework for national youth policy in Serbia is composed of the Government, the Ministry of Tourism and Youth, line ministries and other government institutions, the Youth Council with local youth councils, “Dositeja” Fund for Young Talents, local youth offices and civil society organisations (KOMS, NAPOR, National Association of Local Youth Offices).
The Government of the Republic of Serbia proposes a national youth strategy for adoption by the National Assembly. This is the main document that forms the Youth Agenda (see Glossary). It outlines priority objectives to be attained through its implementation.
The Ministry of Tourism and Youth is responsible for the coordination of youth policy, which is implemented by all youth policy actors.
Besides the Ministry of Tourism and Youth, other public authorities active in youth consultation processes are as follows:
- The Ministry of Education;
- The Ministry of Health;
- The Ministry of Labour, Employment, Social and Veteran Affairs;
- The Ministry of Finances;
- The Ministry of Culture;
- The Ministry of the Interior;
- The Provincial Secretariat for Sport and Youth.
Institutional actors involved in youth policy making
National institutional actors
The Youth Sector within the Ministry of Tourism and Youth performs tasks related to the following:
- Developing and improving youth policy;
- Implementing national policies and preparing and implementing national youth strategies, action plans and programmes;
- Supporting the work of the Fund for Young Talents;
- Encouraging young people to organise themselves and join and participate in social activities;
- Protecting young people’s interests and helping them to act in their interests;
- Encouraging non-formal education of young people;
- Cooperating with youth organisations and associations in organising international youth events and gatherings in the Republic of Serbia;
- Monitoring and evaluating the status and role of young people in the Republic of Serbia;
- Creating conditions for the establishment and operation of youth offices;
- Encouraging the development of youth policies and the work of youth offices at the local level;
- Monitoring the implementation of youth policy at all levels of government.
The Youth Council (see Glossary) was established in January 2014 as an advisory body of the Government. The main task of the Council is intersectoral coordination at the national level. It is responsible for stimulating and harmonising activities related to the development and implementation of youth policy. It proposes measures for its improvement and coordination of activities of line ministries, other bodies in charge of specific areas in the youth sector and all other youth policy actors.
Institutional actors at the level of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina of the Republic of Serbia
Provincial Secretariat for Sport and Youth of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (APV) is responsible for the following:
- Implementing and monitoring the implementation of the Youth Policy Action Plan in APV;
- Implementing and monitoring the Action Plan for the fight against drugs in APV;
- Implementing projects in the field of youth policy;
- Financing and co-financing projects related to youth organisations and the youth;
- Supporting the establishment and operation of local youth offices;
- Supporting the development and implementation of local action plans for youth;
- Cooperating with local authorities in APV, local youth organisations and the youth;
- Supporting the work of the Vojvodina Youth Center (See Glossary)
- Actively cooperating with the Ministry of Tourism and Youth and provincial secretariats in the field of youth policy;
- Researching, monitoring and evaluating programmes.
The Provincial Youth Council was established in 2012 on the initiative of the Provincial Secretariat for Sport and Youth. Its main responsibilities include encouraging and coordinating activities related to the development and implementation of youth policy and proposing measures for their improvement at the level of APV. The Provincial Youth Council is established and coordinated by the Provincial Secretariat for Sport and Youth.
Local institutional actors
Youth offices are city/municipal government units responsible for the coordination of local youth policies in all areas relevant to young people, in accordance with the specific needs of their local communities. They are part of the local authorities and carry out tasks related to the following:
- Planning, implementing and monitoring youth policy at the local level;
- Initiating and monitoring the implementation of the Local Action Plan for Youth (see Glossary);
- Establishing cooperation with all relevant partners;
- Networking, communicating and coordinating with other youth offices, as well as providing information to young people.
Local youth councils
In accordance with the Law on Youth, local youth councils are advisory bodies of the Municipal/City Assembly that encourage, coordinate and monitor activities related to the development and implementation of youth policy at the local level and propose measures for its improvement.
Local youth councils have two important roles:
- They provide opportunities for young people to participate actively in decision-making;
- They are responsible for networking and cross-sectoral cooperation with various institutions involved in the field of youth (schools, the Ministry of Interior, the National Employment Service, health centers, etc.).
Civil society organisations
Civil society organisations have an important role in youth policy development in Serbia.
The National Youth Council of Serbia (KOMS) is the umbrella association of 104 youth organisations and it is the highest representative body of the young population.
The National Association of Youth Work Practitioners (NAPOR) is a vocational association of youth organisations whose mission is to create and develop conditions for quality assurance and recognition of youth work with the aim of developing the potential of young people and youth workers, who contribute to the welfare of the community and society.
The National Association of Local Youth Offices mediates between local youth offices on one side and public authorities and the civil society on the other.
According to the Law on Youth, youth policy includes all measures and activities of government bodies, institutions, associations and other actors directed at the improvement and promotion of the position and status of young people. The youth sector includes areas in which youth activities are performed, specified in the general goals of the National Youth Strategy.
The central document that provides guidelines and sets national objectives is the National Youth Strategy, together with the Law on Youth (see Youth Wiki/Serbia 1.3 National Youth Strategy and 1.2 Law on Youth).
Numerous studies and research have been used for the preparation of the National Youth Strategy 2023–2030, including the Monitoring of the Implementation of the National Youth Strategy and accompanying action plans in the period from 2015 to 2020 and their evaluation, as well as regular annual surveys of the position and needs of young people. The following documents have served as a basis for the preparation of the Strategy:
- The report on the implementation of the National Youth Strategy 2015–2020 (Ninamedia, 2021),
- The National Youth Strategy 2015–2020 ex-post analysis (MYS, 2021),
- The survey on the position and needs of young people in the Republic of Serbia (Ninamedia, 2021),
- Basic indicators of the position of young people in Serbia – comparative analysis with other European countries and trends (Snežana Klašnja, 2020),
- Comparative analysis of the National Youth Strategy of the Republic of Serbia 2015–2025 and international and national strategies/programmes in the field of youth policy (Srđan Mitrović, 2021),
- The report on the human rights of young people in the Republic of Serbia in 2020 (Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, 2020),
- Research on young people’s health: The position and needs of young people in the Republic of Serbia (KOMS, 2021).
Based on the aforementioned documents, the introductory part of the Strategy presents a comprehensive overview and analysis of the current situation in the field of youth policy, with particular focus on the following 5 areas: demographic situation and youth migration, institutional framework of youth policy, active participation of young people in the society, education and employment of young people and their health, well-being and safety.
Following the conclusions of the analysis, the Strategy presents the vision, general and specific goals, as well as proposed measures for their achievement. General goal of the Strategy is improved quality of life of young people, indicated by lower rates of youth at risk of poverty or social exclusion, lower rates of unemployed and NEET youth, as well as improved self-assessment of young people’s health and social inclusion. Furthermore, there are 5 specific goals, concerning the standardisation of youth work, building youth policy capacities on the local level, youth participation, equal opportunities and health, safety and wellbeing (see Youth Wiki/Serbia 1.3 National Youth Strategy).
Тhe Law on Youth states that an agency for youth may be established for the purposes of implementing youth programmes, in accordance with the European Union youth programmes. A distinct national agency dedicated only to youth programmes has not been formed yet. However, the Foundation Tempus is the National Erasmus+ agency in RS responsible for the implementation of both the education and youth components of the Erasmus+ Programme.
The Ministry of Tourism and Youth is in charge of monitoring and evaluating policy results defined by the National Strategy for Youth 2023–2030. The monitoring of the implementation of the National Youth Strategy and its Action Plans is planned to be conducted at regular intervals, monthly, quarterly or annually, depending on the type of activity and on the deadlines set for their implementation. Likewise, the evaluation should be conducted regularly, once a year, using different sources of information, on the basis of the indicators set in the Strategy and its Action Plans.
The previous Strategies for the periods 2009–2015 and 2015–2025 have been evaluated. The latter has been evaluated for the periods 2015–2017 and 2015–2020.
Furthermore, the Ministry in charge of youth publishes analyses on youth-related subjects such as youth employment, health, activism, etc. It includes the Survey on the position and needs of young people in the Republic of Serbia that has been conducted annually since 2010. The annual survey aims to evaluate the current situation in the areas of strategic interest for young adults as defined in the National Youth Strategy and according to the Eurostat youth policy indicators.