A Model of Youth Inclusion: Preparing the New National Youth Strategy

Feb 5, 2015

Preparations are underway for the development of a new national Youth Strategy for 2016-2025, and the process for developing the strategy is taking youth inclusion and participation to a new level.

Young people from across the country will be working together with UNDP and the Agency of Youth and Sport at every stage in the preparation of the Strategy. In this way the project will ensure that the Strategy truly reflects young people’s needs and priorities.

The preparation of the new strategy coincides with a renewed effort by the UN globally to engage young people in the quest for more sustainable models of growth and prosperity. “Young people are among the greatest assets countries have,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark at a youth summit in New York on 4 February. “The energy, enthusiasm and innovation which comes with youth offers a huge demographic dividend to countries and to our world as a whole.”

“Enabling young people to have a bigger say in all the decisions and processes that affect them is one of the key aims of the Strategy,” says UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton. “Youth participation for us is one way of realizing the venerable principle of ‘nothing about us without us.’ And since young people now face such daunting challenges in finding work and starting families, hearing their ideas on possible solutions takes on a particular urgency.”

The preparatory stages will be guided by the findings of an analysis recently carried out amongst young people by the National Institute for Sociological, Political and Juridical Research.

This analysis identified the following priorities for consideration in designing the Strategy:

  • improved education;
  • greater employment opportunities and support for those seeking work after finishing education;
  • greater youth participation in decision-making;
  • an expanded role in local communities;
  • improved quality of life;
  • greater access to sports and cultural opportunities; and
  • better healthcare and healthier lifestyles.

These priorities will serve as topics for a series of thematic workshops led by a team of junior and senior facilitators in charge of drafting the text of the National Youth Strategy based on inputs from all stakeholders during the workshops.

“The most important thing is for this process to be as transparent, participatory and youth-led as possible,” explains UNDP’s youth project coordinator Dejan Dokuzovski. “We want to make sure the Strategy fully meets the needs of young people. The thematic working groups will involve representatives from NGOs, high schools, youth organizations, individuals and non-formal groups.“

In parallel with the workshops, an online platform is being launched to maximise the chances for young people to contribute in preparing the Strategy. These contributions will be considered together with the input from stakeholders at the workshops to form the final draft.

The support being provided by UNDP and the Agency for Youth and Sport for the National Strategy continues a valuable partnership that resulted last year in the development of six local strategies for youth—strategies developed in close cooperation with local youth organizations and youth councils in municipalities.

 “The Agency of Youth and Sport cares about the needs of youth and through this new strategy we hope to be able to provide mechanisms to support youth,” says Marjan Spaseski, the Director of the Agency for Youth and Sport, “including mechanisms for greater engagement and increasing youth participation in decision making. That is why it is crucial to ensure young people play the major role in creating the Strategy.”

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