The youth are not sufficiently involved in decision-making processes

On the occasion of the International Youth Day, the Centre for Civic Education Youth Group (CCEYG) reminds on non-sufficient involvement of the youth in decision-making processes in Montenegro. Participation of the youth is one of the guiding principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and it represents an important factor in the process of democratization and socio-economic development of any country. In Montenegro, the youth (from 15 to 29 years) constitutes 21.4% of the total population but they stay on the margins of decision-making processes.

Researches indicated that the highest percentage of the youth (33%) finds that they have been manipulated, whereas 21% assess that only minimal efforts are made in order to offer them equal opportunities as those the adults have, and even 20% states that the youth represent only a “decoration in the society”.

Youth participation, in the broadest sense, represents a possibility for participation of the youth in creation, monitoring and decision-making in all fields and at all social levels. Involvement of the youth in these processes assists competent authorities because they get an insight to the real state of affairs when it comes to the position of the youth, their needs and potentials. In that manner, young people acquire a sense for responsibility, reliability and competitiveness, they develop their values through choices they make and initiatives they take. Most importantly, they become civic oriented and willing to contribute with their time, ideas and talents in order to improve the community they live in.

CCEYG believes that insufficient involvement of the youth in youth policies shaping results in their non-effective implementation, making meaningless these decisions and policies from the aspects of genuine improvement of the overall position of the youth in the society. On the other hand, greater involvement of youth organizations which with their expertise have an opportunity to better recognize the needs of the youth because they work closely with them, would lead to the creation of comprehensive and quality youth policies. Youth participation in implementation of youth policies according to the principle of co-management, i.e. involvement of the youth in all phases of development and implementation of the policies that affect them together with decision-makers, creates conditions for these policies to be truly applied later.

Also, lack of proper legal framework affects non-adequate position of the youth in the society. The CCEYG urges quicker adoption of the Law on Youth, which would legally regulate implementation of the National Youth Action Plan and Local Youth Action Plan, forms of youth participation and youth organization, youth work and support to the youth on local and national level. Along with finalizing legal solutions, education system should be more dedicated to the development of critical thinking of the youth and their active relationship towards the reality because that is a way to develop democratic society of active citizens.

UN General Assembly with Resolution 54/120 adopted a recommendation of the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth to declare 12 August as the International Youth Day. This day is intended to be an occasion for recognizing youth potential, celebrating their achievements and plans for better engagement in order to carry out actions which affect development of their society successfully, as well as indicating the importance of the involvement of the youth in decision-making processes on all levels. Modeled after other United Nation holidays, International Youth Day each year has a different theme. This year, International Youth Day, is globally marked by a theme of raising the question in the field of mental health of the youth and accessibility of services in this context.

Miloš Knežević, Coordinator of the Centre for Civic Education Youth Group