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Slovenia

Slovenia

5. Participation

5.5 National strategy to increase youth participation


Existence of a national strategy to increase young people's political and civil society participation

There is no specific strategy for increasing youth participation. Until recently, youth participation in Slovenia was relatively unregulated by the law. The National Programme for Youth 2013‒2022, adopted in 2013 by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, covered all the important areas, so that there was no need for specific sectoral strategies. One of the key directions of the National Programme was to ensure the participation of young people in (for them) important public policies in all areas of society, so that they had real influence on the decisions. Thus, the measures to increase political and civil society participation among youth are included in the National Programme for Youth. The participation issue was addressed in the fifth priority field, entitled ‘Youth and Society and the Meaning of the Youth Sector’ (Mladi in družba ter pomen mladinskega sektorja), which is further divided into priority subfields. The validity of the document expires in 2022.

There was also a Programme for Children and Youth 2006‒2016 (Program za otroke in mladino 2006‒2016 (POM)). The programme had two objectives: increasing the political engagement level of young people, and promote participation (i.e., access to information) and learning about participation. These objectives were implemented through different strategies.

 

Scope and contents

The National Programme for Youth

One of the objectives in the National Programme for Youth 2013‒2022 is ‘promoting the participation and representation of young women and men’ (6.2.1). The criterion to meet this objective is to increase the participation of young people in elections at all levels. At the same time, the goal is to reduce the proportion of young people (aged 18 to 29 years old) who do not vote in elections at all levels (e.g., 39.7% of those in 2008 in Slovenia, while the EU average was 28.2% according to the EVS). The expected developmental impact is increased participation of young people in the management of social affairs.

There are five main priority subsections:

  1. Promoting conventional political participation among young people, taking into account gender balance. Funding will be provided within the available budget of the Republic of Slovenia and the budget of local communities. Ensuring the participation of young people is key to a successful and constructive involvement of young people in the life of society. With the participation of young people, they also learn about democracy and the functioning of the current political system, and acquire the skills needed for a functioning democracy, such as consultation, negotiation, lobbying, etc. With their own participation in the decision-making processes in childhood and early youth, they can also gain an idea as to how public (political) decision-making takes place. In any case, the participation of young people is more than just learning, and young people need to actually have a say in decision-making.

 

  1. Promoting and supporting unconventional political participation among young people. Funding will be provided within the available budget of the Republic of Slovenia and the budget of local communities. The legislation governs various options for the active participation of young people in the management of public affairs that young people do not use because of a lack of interest or lack of information. Therefore, it is necessary to pay special attention to promoting awareness, inform young people and encourage their active participation in the following already-established forms of participation:
  • the possibility of active participation in the legislative process (Resolution on Legislative Regulation; predlagamvladi.si, E-government), where there are no restrictions on participation;
  • different forms of organisation and types of organisations in the youth sector, which brings together young people (youth centres, local community youth councils and national youth organisations).
  1. Promoting and strengthening permanent mechanisms of consultation with young people. Funding will be provided within the available budget of the Republic of Slovenia and the budget of local communities. In this sense, structured dialogue is important. The aim of the structured dialogue is thus to deepen cooperation between young people and policy-makers. It should also strengthen consultation with young people and youth organisations at all levels, so that it will benefit all stakeholders: youth organisations, youth, youth researchers and (public) policy makers.
  2. Promoting the importance of youth participation. Funding will be provided within the available budget of the Republic of Slovenia. One of the key barriers to participation in youth organisations and for youth participation is relatively weak information about the possibilities of participation. This priority subsection also covers the need and usefulness of promoting active citizenship.
  3. Strengthening of information and consultation in the youth sector. Funding will be provided within the available budget of the Republic of Slovenia. Information is one of the key areas that affect the achievement of autonomy by young people and their active participation in society. Informing young people also includes the participation of youth organisations and other NGOs in the education system and at the workplace, and public involvement in decisions by various mechanisms (political parties, standing as a candidate in elections, directly or indirectly communicating with decision-makers).

 

Responsible authority for the implementation of the strategy

Different authorities are responsible for the implementation of the measures within the Resolution of the National Programme for Youth 2013‒2022. The main two holders of the aforementioned priority subfields are the Ministry of the Interior and the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth. The holders of the measure implement the provision in cooperation with different institutions that operate in the field of the youth sector (e.g., National Youth Council of Slovenia, local youth councils). Holders for each measure are:

  1. Promoting conventional political participation among young people, taking into account gender balance – holder is the Ministry of the Interior. Other cooperating authorities are the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth, the local communities and the youth sector.
  2. Promoting and supporting unconventional political participation among young people – holder is the Ministry of the Interior. Other cooperating authorities are the Office for Youth, the local communities and the youth sector.
  3. Promoting and strengthening permanent mechanisms of consultation with young people – holder is the Office for Youth. Other cooperating actors include the National Youth Council of Slovenia, local community youth councils, the youth sector and youth communities.
  4. Promoting the importance of youth participation – holder is the Office for Youth. Other cooperating actors are the youth sector and the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.
  5. Strengthening of information and consultation in the youth sector – holder is the Office for Youth. Other cooperating actor is the youth sector.

 

Holder of the measures under the Programme for Children and Youth 2006‒2016 (POM) were the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the School Student Organisation of Slovenia

 

 

Revisions/Updates

The National Programme for Youth covers a period of nine years, and is accompanied by the ‘Implementation Plans’ (adopted by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia). The Implementation Plans follow the overall objectives and guidelines of the Programme with specific measures.

In the Action plan 2016‒2017 (Izvedbeni načrt 2016‒2017), two new measures were introduced by the Ministry of Public Administration: first, preparation of the web manual for youth on elections and referendums (Spletni priročnik za mlade na temo volitev in referendumov), and second, preparation of the module and implementation of lectures on elections and referendums (Priprava modula in izvedba predavanj na temo volitev in referendumov). Some of the priority subsections were entitled: promoting conventional political participation of young people and taking into account the principle of gender balance; encouraging and supporting the unconventional political participation of young people; promoting and strengthening permanent consultation mechanisms with young people; promoting the importance of youth participation.

 

In addition to the third priority subfield, one new measure was introduced: project Growing Together 2016 (Rastimo skupaj 2016).

The enforcement of Portal VEM-youth (Portal VEM-mladi) was introduced as the new instrument of the fifth priority subfield. The aim of this measure is to enable young people to access all of the information at one e-point. The holder of both measures is the Office for Youth.

In the Action Plan 2018–2019 (Izvedbeni načrt 2018–2019), preparation of the web manual for youth on elections and referendums was again listed among measures. The manual was to be prepared by the end of 2018. Also, the preparation of the module and implementation of lectures on elections and referendums was among measures again. The measure was to be implemented in 2019. Some of the priority subsections were entitled (as in the previous Action Plan): promoting conventional political participation of young people and taking into account the principle of gender balance; encouraging and supporting the unconventional political participation of young people; promoting and strengthening permanent consultation mechanisms with young people; promoting the importance of youth participation.

In the Action Plan 2020–2021 (Izvedbeni načrt 2020–2021), Some of the priority subsections were entitled (as in the previous Action Plans): promoting conventional political participation of young people and taking into account the principle of gender balance; encouraging and supporting the unconventional political participation of young people; promoting and strengthening permanent consultation mechanisms with young people; promoting the importance of youth participation.