A “Youth Policy and Youth Participation in Creating Policies” Conference was held on 9th December 2014, at the Stone Bridge Hotel, organized by the National Youth Council of Macedonia in collaboration with the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation.
The conference presented the findings of a survey conducted by the NYC for youth policies and participation, and was open for comments and amendments to the final publication.
Research findings show that youth NGO representatives consider the Agency for Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and Government as those accountable institutions for young people.81% of the organizations which participated in the survey believe that they are informed about which laws, regulations and documents concern the country’s youth. Two-thirds of the organizations have sometime in the past been consulted through debates or other process for the creation of a document by the institution. Half of the organizations have never addressed an institution for the purpose of addressing youth issues or problems, and only 30% from those who have done so rated them as institutions fully open to cooperation.Finally, 73% of youth organizations believe that youth organizations have the capacity to fully participate in the consultation process.
The survey was conducted through an online questionnaire answered by 36 youth organizations and 9 focus groups with 59 participants.
In addition to that, the roundtable was held at the same conference on the topic “What are youth policies and what do we need to regulate” which opened a discussion on youth policy and youth participation in Macedonia.
Ivana Davidovska, president of the National Youth Council, opened the discussion with a recommendation: “Youth issues must become the key institutional agenda. We need a comprehensive and systematic approach in building policies on the principles of human rights, inclusion, participation, inclusiveness approach, based on research and evidence. And finally, youth policies must be built by the young people themselves. “
Marjan Spaseski, Director of the Agency for Youth and Sports called on youth organizations to contribute to the strategic decision of the actual situation in the youth sector. He also announced the commencement of the process of creating a new National Youth Strategy.
Joana Kosma from OSCE Mission in Skopje stated: “We see the youth policy as a way to enhance opportunities for youth organization and other stakeholders.” She said that the success does not lie in coexistence but cooperation.
Prof. Dr. Tanja Karakamiseva said: “We have to emphasize the need for institutional support for youth. Young people must locate their problems and needs and to fight for the appropriate documents.”
Elizabeta Markovska Spasenoska, a researcher in the field of youth policy, commented on the youth participation as being built in education & through the participation of the educational institutions as well. She said “What lacks is the channeled support for the work of youth organizations, high school organizations and student organizations. You can have perfect regulations but as long as it does not come from young people themselves, these solutions will take time to live. “
During the event, representatives of youth organizations and institutions continued to build conclusions for the purpose of defining the most important factors and stakeholders of youth policies and the vision of ideal youth policies, through workshops.
Today we had a chance to talk to Ivana Davidovska, in the office of CID. She stressed the importance of the conference as a space for dialogue between policy-makers and representatives of youth organisations, with the aim of strengthening the cooperation and facilitating the process of recognition of youth organisations as stakeholders and actors in the process of decision-making. This is what she told us about the project and the National Youth Council’s opinion on the youth policy development:
“Young people must become part of the political agenda and institutions should show proactive approach and commitment toward youth issues. Youth Policies must be developed based on principles of Inclusion, Participation, Comprehensive approach and collaboration, and be evidence based. The Youth policies must be designed, developed, implemented, monitored and evaluated with the meaningful participation of young people on local and national youth policies. Finally all youth policies must have adequate recourses for implementation; Government authorities should recognize the potential of young people and youth organizations. Youth organisations from Macedonia are more involved in European Youth Policy Development, then the national ones unfortunately. The National Youth Council has the capacity to become a reliable partner, to organize wide consultations and provide policy makers with content, recourses and support in development and implementation of all documents, priorites and strategies concerning youth.”
The conference is part of the project “Evaluation of youth policies – towards creating inclusive and argumentative youth policies.”
The National Youth Council is an umbrella organization comprising of 57 organizations for youth and youth organizations, and is a platform that represents the interests and needs of young people as a link with all stakeholders.