The project “Political and Civic Participation of Young People” was created based one of the six key priorities defined in the current Strategy for Young People – Young active citizens involved in, motivated for, proactive, and participating in the decision-making processes, and in development of the community, and creation and implementation of policies, as well as in continued participation in projects dedicated towards developing of the competencies of young people to participate in the decision-making processes.
The need for inclusion of young people in the decision-making process is necessary for the democratization of the society and for the encouragement of the dialogue with the representatives of the institutions, and especially for improvement of their position in society and their quality of life. The identified challenges must be translated into concrete activities that will ultimately result in an increase in the number of young people in the decision-making process, through increased knowledge and skills of young people. Moreover, in recent years, due to the fatigue of citizens with regards to seeing the same political representatives all the time, traditional political parties have begun to promote young politicians in their ranks and programs. They are very easily assimilated into given patterns of behavior without striving to bring about real change and to protect the interests of young people they are supposed to represent. Young politicians are usually not proactive, nor do they bring new energy that would motivate young people to participate in the political life of our country because they exclusively follow the ideology of the party they belong to and become obedient for the purpose of achieving their personal goals. The entry of young politicians into public life is accompanied by almost the same gestures and rhetoric that their more experienced and older colleagues exhibit, while in some cases we have even more retrograde attitudes of young politicians, which the Montenegrin and regional public has witnessed recently.
It is obvious that the rejuvenation of political parties is not substantial, but cosmetic in nature, and that the motives of young people to enter politics are related to their personal benefits, and not to improving public policies and rationalizing their implementation, i.e. reaching a certain level of social development for the common good. This is supported by the data from the research on political and civic participation of young people, which shows that only 9 out of 144 amendments were submitted by young politicians or councilors under 30, while only 10 municipalities have over 10 percent of young people in their parliamentary committees.
This indicates the need of developing a culture of participation, promotion of activism, improvement and strengthening the capacities of young people for greater involvement in the decision-making process, not just for the purpose of raising the awareness of the existing mechanisms, but also for their use through improvement of knowledge and skills in this particular area by working with the best experts in the areas important for youth.
According to the abovementioned, the main activities of the projects are concentrated on: the development of a unique Academy for Civic and Political Participation, implementation of an analysis of participation of young people after the local elections in 2022, and in organization of a Regional conference on participation of young people in the decision-making process.
Center for Democracy and Human Rights is implementing the project with the support and partnership with the Hanns Seidel Foundation. Overall budget of the project is 19.700,00 euros.