Based on the Youth Strategy 2017-2021, active democratization of Montenegrin society necessarily implies the existence of active civic participation. Youth participation represents the social engagement and activism of young people, the active participation of young people in resolving issues relevant to them and decision-making both in local communities and at the national level.
This social engagement is realized in various ways – through work in political parties, civil society organizations, student organizations, through volunteer work or through some other form of formal or informal civic association.
According to the Youth Strategy 2017-2021, there are two types of civic participation of young people:
- “Prescribed” civic participation through mechanisms offered and requested by the Government“
- Self-initiated civic participation when the initiative originated from citizens
At the local level, the most important forms of civic participation of young people are: initiative, civic initiative, citizens’ assembly, referendum (local and municipal) and other forms of voting and decision-making determined by the statute. In addition to forms of direct decision-making and voting, young people and citizens can participate in the realization of local self-government through petitions, proposals and complaints, in accordance with the statute of the municipality.
REGISTERED CIVIL PARTICIPATION OF YOUTH:
Public hearings are the most common mechanism for involving young people in decision-making processes and are organized to obtain information from stakeholders when drafting laws and strategies. During that period, citizens can submit their initiatives, proposals, suggestions and comments to the authorities in writing or orally, and at the central public hearing through personal presence and direct participation. In order to participate in a public debate, young people do not have to be part of an organization or institution, nor do they meet any conditions. Legal acts and strategic documents, which are directly related to young people, and for which public hearings are held, are:
- Youth Act
- Youth Strategy accompanied by the Action Plan for the implementation of the Strategy
- Programs that determine the operational objectives and activities to address a particular problem in the field of social care for young people
- Local action plan for youth adopted at the municipal level
PARTICIPATION IN WORKING GROUPS
Working groups are formed at the proposal of institutions with the aim of preparing and drafting certain normative acts or projects and programs with the participation of professional and credible people in a particular field, and include joint work on creating public policies to achieve common interest. In order for young people to participate in working groups, they must be nominated by NGOs and meet three conditions:
- to have a residence in Montenegro
- to have experience in the field related to the issue considered or normatively regulated by the working body and
- is not a member of a political party, official, civil servant or employee
In order to encourage the development of youth policy, the Ministry of Sports and Youth is establishing a Youth Council, as an expert and advisory body. The representative association of non-governmental organizations that implement youth policy proposes two members of the Youth Council, at least one of whom is from the ranks of young people, and is elected for a period of one year. If a representative association of non-governmental organizations implementing youth policy is not formed, two members of the Youth Council, at least one of whom is a youth, shall propose non-governmental organizations conducting youth policy, and the one with the greatest support of those non-governmental organizations shall be elected. Public invitation published by the Ministry.
Members of the Youth Council proposed by non-governmental organizations that implement youth policy are persons who have the support of the largest number of non-governmental organizations and are elected through a public call published by the Ministry.
LOCAL YOUTH COUNCIL
The Local Youth Council is formed at the municipal level, as an expert advisory body. The Local Youth Council consists of representatives of the municipal body responsible for youth policy and non-governmental organizations that implement youth policy. At least one member of the council is a representative of non-governmental organizations that implement youth policy, who is elected through a public call, and the one who has the support of the largest number of these non-governmental organizations will be elected.
For the implementation of youth activities and youth work, youth services are formed, ie youth club and youth center by the Ministry or the municipality, with the possibility of their education by other entities that implement youth policy. The bylaw will regulate the way of functioning of youth services as a space in which young people acquire competencies and knowledge with the aim of improving their social position and empowerment in the process of independence and transition to adulthood.
Through participation in his work, young people learn to respect diversity, culture of dialogue and other values of democracy, in order to develop initiative, independence, discipline and responsibility of students according to the Law on General Education of Montenegro.
The powers and manner of work of the student parliament are determined in more detail by the statute of the school, and the representatives are elected on the basis of the invitation of the class teachers sent to all students.
The Student Parliament is an institutional form of student organization, which is autonomous in its work and authorized to represent and protect the rights and interests of students. The Student Parliament is formed in the institution.
All students of the University have the right to vote and to be elected, who in the academic year in which the new convocation of the Student Parliament of the University of Montenegro is elected, have a regulated status at their university unit, ie students of undergraduate, specialist and master studies. Elections for members of the Student Parliament Assembly are organized every two years and are called by the President of the Student Parliament.
eParticipation is a service for intensifying communication between government bodies, citizens and the interested public during the drafting of public policy acts, in a simplified and practical way. Through this service, young people, but also all citizens, can be informed about all the necessary details for conducting a public debate, consultations, participation in working groups and public information. In addition, this service provides the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process by sending comments at a public hearing or consultation. Comments, suggestions and proposals can be entered only by logged in users of the eGovernment portal.
The initiative is an act by which young people and citizens initiate the resolution of certain issues with the competent municipal body, in order to consider and decide on certain issues of interest to the population in accordance with the law. The initiative can be submitted by only one citizen, and if it is not followed, the submitter of the initiative can address the president of the municipality or assembly.
The citizens’ initiative is an act which requires the competent municipal bodies to adopt a new or change an existing act which regulates important issues within the competence of local self-government. The statute determines the issues on which a civic initiative can be initiated, the required number of signatures and other issues of importance for the civic initiative. If the competent body does not accept the citizens’ initiative, a referendum may be called within 90 days from the day the decision is made.
PORTAL “GLAS GRAĐANA- E-PETICIJE”
The Voice of Citizens-E-Petitions portal is a portal for accepting civic initiatives. To sign the petition, it is necessary to collect 3,000 signatories of the petition.
The Assembly of Citizens adopts requests and proposals and sends them to the competent authority. The competent municipal body is obliged to review the requests and proposals within 60 days from the day of the citizens’ meeting, as well as to inform the citizens about them. The manner of convening the citizens’ assembly, the manner of work and decision-making is regulated by the statute or a special act of the municipality.
At the local referendum, citizens from a part of the territory of the municipality are voting on issues within the competence of the local self-government. The conditions and manner of implementation and the issues on which the citizens will vote in the local referendum are determined by the statute.
A municipal referendum may be called for the purpose of prior voting of citizens on the territory of the municipality on certain issues within the competence of local self-government in cases, in the manner and according to the procedure determined by the municipal statute, in accordance with law.