9.3 Exchanges between young people and policy-makers on global issues
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One of the key opportunities for exchange of views and participation of young people in policymaking process is possible through the drafting of the strategic goals when conceptual and legal documents are being prepared on the level of parliament as well as on the level of ministries in Slovakia.
This tends to be a rather technical process which demands high level of organizational structure for youth and citizens in general to be able to relevantly contribute to the drafting of the policies. All the legislative processes do have space for contributions and statements by the public, including youth, to be voiced. Therefore, in the liberal democratic setting, the most efficient way for the youth and the public to engage in these processes, is in partnership and through direct involvement with civil society organizations and their advocacy and policy teams as well as with political parties themselves, namely through the framework of direct membership in these parties.
As for influencing policy and being active in policy dialogue connected to global issues it is highly relevant for young people to be active, volunteer or in any other way contribute to the work of organizations grouped in Ambrela – Platform for Development Organizations.
The link of young people having the ability to influence global policy issues through CSOs has been in the past years strengthened by the Office of the Plenipotentiaryof the Government for the Development of theCivil Society, which has through its participation oriented project created the partnerships infrastructure giving CSOs more or less direct access to policy processes taking place at various ministries, thus also creating more space for young people active in these CSOs to have their say in policy making processes in Slovakia, taking into account also global issues.
On the European level, the most important framework, which will in the upcoming years (as part of Von der Leyen Presidency) host active dialogue and participation of youth on global issue policymaking, will be the Conference on the Future of Europeprocess. The Conference has been approved by both the European Commission and Parliament in the summer of 2020. It has taken the format of Pan-European, national and local discussions with EU citizens as well as take the form of extensive polling and surveys online.
The goal of the Conference has been to gather public input for the preparation of strategic plan for EU development in the upcoming decades and beyond. This is a clear reason why the involvement of youth is important, since the issues dealt with, will impact its life in the European Union in great extent.
The conducted debates and consultations has been focussing discussions on a set of topics, broad enough to provide sufficient scope for all participants to provide input. The conference would also address cross-cutting issues related to the way the EU delivers on its policy objectives.
On a global level, the most important framework for the involvement of youth is the United Nations Youth Delegate Programme, which ensures youth voice is heard on the high-level political forum such as the UN.
Participation in decision-making is one of the key priority areas of the United Nations agenda on youth. One form of youth participation at the United Nations is through the inclusion of youth delegates in a country’s official delegation to the United Nations General Assembly and various functional Commissions of the Economic and Social Council.
The roles of a youth delegate vary from country to country, but normally includes providing input to their delegation on issues related to youth and participation in their delegation’s work, such as through attending meetings and informal negotiations.
Youth delegates usually participate in several intergovernmental meetings at the United Nations. Most official youth delegates participate in the General Assembly, but some also attend functional Commissions of the Economic and Social Council.
IUVENTA is the coordinator ofthe United Nations Youth Delegate Programme in Slovakia. The delegates for Slovakia are being decided by joint decision making of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, IUVENTA and the United Nations Information Service in Vienna. In 2020, there were, for the fisrt time, chosen two delegates, one female and one male.