Include young people in decision-making processes

On the occasion of the International Youth Day, the Centre for Civic Education points to unequal position of young people in Montenegrin society, who remain on margins of decision-making process, although, according to the latest census in 2011, young people aged 15 to 29 make 21.4% of the total population.

Earlier studies have shown that young people predominantly believe that they are being manipulated (33%), while 21% of respondents believe that minimal effort is being invested in order to be able to offer the same possibilities that adults have, and even 20% finds that young people represent only a “decoration in society”. Youth participation is one of guiding principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is an important factor in the process of democratization and socio-economic development of every country.

CCE believes that the lack of inclusion of young people in developing youth policies leads to ineffective implementation of these policies, stultifying their importance in terms of substantive improvement of overall position of young people in society. By participation of young people in decision-making processes, on principles of co-management, young people acquire a sense of responsibility, self-confidence and competitiveness, develop their values through choices they make and initiatives they submit, and which is most important, they are becoming socially committed and willing to contribute with their time, ideas and talents to improving the community in which they live.

Furthermore, one of the most pressing problems in Montenegro that young people are facing is unemployment. The youth unemployment rate in Montenegro in 2015 amounted to 37.6% of total number of young people and was twice the overall unemployment rate in the same period that amounted to 17.5 percent. This unemployment is also affected by incompatibility of educational offer and labor market needs, in addition to already poor quality of education offered to young people in Montenegro. Consequently, we have an overproduction of certain educational profiles on Montenegrin labor market. Therefore, it is necessary to urgently harmonize education policy with the required qualifications in labor market. Also, the education system should be more committed to development of critical consciousness of youth and their active attitude towards reality because, in this manner, a democratic society of active citizens is being developed.

Law on Youth is the most important and the first document of its kind that regulates area of youth policy in Montenegro. This law, among other issues, defines area of youth policy, youth work, institutional care for the young, determined forms of organization and funding, youth activities at local and national level and other issues of importance to young people. Its adoption represents a step forward towards improving the situation of young people in Montenegro, but a certain amount of time is required for it to be applied in practice. It will be a kind of a challenge for numerous structures, therefore CCE appeals to all local government units to immediately engage in establishment of youth centers and youth clubs, which would give young people space to develop different ideas and actions to improve their status in society.

UN General Assembly has by Resolution 54/120 adopted recommendation of the World Conference of Ministers for Youth to pronounce 12 August as International Youth Day. This day was conceived as opportunity to recognize the potential of young people, to celebrate their achievements and plans for better engagement to successfully perform actions that affect development of their society, as well as pointing to the importance of youth participation in decision-making at all levels. Following the example of other holidays of the United Nations the International Youth Day too has a different theme each year. The theme of this year’s International Youth Day is On the Road to 2030: eradication of poverty and achieving sustainable consumption and production.

Miloš Knežević, Coordinator of the CCE Youth Group