The organizations that took the initiative to defend youth participation and submitted proposals to the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia for amendments to the proposed law believe that the withdrawal of the draft-text is useful and that it has been done at the right time, before any more damage could be done to youth organization. The organizations highlight that the future process of drafting laws must directly include all youth stakeholders, interested youth organizations and the youth wings of political parties.
The initiators congratulate all 47 organizations for their efforts and commitment and invite all young people to get more interested in youth policies and youth organization on a local and national level.
If adopted, the current draft-law would have introduced more bureaucracy, control and restrictions for youth organizing, and an additional precedent – the highest representative body of youth in the country would have been the State Youth Council, in which more than half of the members are representatives from ministries of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia
So far, there are no new initiatives by the government`s side that will offer other solutions for the Law on Youth.
During the process we located the possibility for cooperation with the political parties’ youth organisations. For this reason, and in order to promote inclusion of more interested groups in the process, we organized 2 meetings with representatives from political parties’ youths, to hear their stance on the matter, discuss the possibilities for finding common ground and gain their support with their MPs. So far the discussions have been constructive and the parties’ youths leave an open possibility to support some of our suggestions, in particular the proposed model of the National Youth Parliament.
The Initiative “In Defense of Youth Participation”, supported by 47 youth and civil society organizations is organizing a cycle of 18 public debates in 18 cities in Macedonia. The main goal of the debates is to encourage young people to practice direct democracy and independently decide on their priorities.The Initiative invites young people, as well as all citizens to come to the debates and and engage in these consultations, in order to help us provide answers to the following questions:
- Youth participation in decision-making – how do we provide it?
- Integration, anti-discrimination, tolerance – how do we learn to respect one another?
- Youth Unemployment – how do we reduce it?
- Activism and civic responsibility, as opposed to apathy – what is holding us back?
- Youth organizing – monopoly or pluralism?
- National Youth Parliament – what is the best model?
- Youth Law – do we need this law, and if so, in what scope?
These issues affect everyone: students, university students, graduates, employees, unemployed persons, organizations, informal groups, associations, institutions, companies, political party youth clubs, the media, as well as the youth and citizens in general.
The discussions from debates will result in a White Paper to support young people in Macedonia, a study that will define the problems and propose solutions and effective policies for young people.
After its publication, The White Paper will be made available to the public and disseminated to all relevant institutions.
Additionally, these process is very useful in order to promote the idea for establishing a National Youth Parliament in Macedonia. The National Youth Parliament is an acceptable model for youth organizing on a state level.
What are we standing for?
The National Youth Parliament is an umbrella organization and the highest representative body of youth in the country representing their interest in the processes of decision making on a national and international level. The proposed structure enables participation of all youth regardless of age, political orientation, formal or non-formal association, ethnic, religious or other background. The proposed structure enables youth to vote, be voted and directly and actively participate in decision making and contribute to social development.
National Youth Parliament shall be established by at least 50 registered associations seated in local self-government units from all six election districts, which implement youth or youth-targeting activities for a period of at least one year. Founders of the National Youth Parliament shall have at least 1,500 individual members altogether, two thirds of which must be young people.
Number of National Youth Parliament’s members shall not be limited and it can include members from all forms of youth associations and organizations, including representatives of high-school students, university students, political parties’ youth wings, associations and informal groups of youth.
National Youth Parliament’s membership, manner of operation and decision-taking process shall be regulated by means of a Statute, adopted in compliance with this Law and the Law on Associations and Foundations.
By rule, the Statute shall regulate the manner of membership and representation of underage members and informal groups of youth.
Decision-making bodies formed at the National Youth Parliament shall respect the principle of gender equality, as well as appropriate and equitable representation of all communities.
by: Marjan Zabrcanec