Ukraine has inherited a host of challenges with regard to youth policies and programmes. Due to a decline in the population, poor conditions for demographic and social improvement, a low total fertility rate, problems with dysfunctional families, a relatively high poverty rate and widespread emigration, children and youth in Ukraine are the most vulnerable group where social exclusion is concerned. In the context of the current significant economic and political changes, young people – the country’s future – deserve our very close attention.
There is at present an unprecedented opportunity and need to (1) modernise access to education, (2) review research, policies and practices by the European Union (EU) in the context of the Eastern Partnership (EaP), (3) support participatory, democratic platforms and exchanges for the young generation and (4) to address acute problems – such as poverty affecting children and youth, violence and abandonment, disenfranchised youth, migrant un-integrated youth, youth unemployment, drug dependency, and crime.
The European-Ukrainian Youth Policy Centre proposes to address these by working along two lines:
- As a policy exchange and study centre, the European-Ukrainian Youth Policy Centre will bring together academic researchers, experienced youth program practitioners, policy makers, legislators, NGOs, and facilitate exchanges among experts.
- As a platform for youth engagement, by advancing problem-solving and responsive youth policies, the European-Ukrainian Youth Policy Centre Kyiv will help lay the foundations for social and economic progress and stability among young people.
The mission of the European-Ukrainian Youth Policy Centre Kyiv is both to advise the relevant Ukrainian ministries and other administrative entities and to engage young Ukrainians in a new platform for youth policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation. It will allow their broad participation and focus on developing capacities, knowledge and skills through open discussion, communication and exchange.
Five principal goals are associated with this mission:
- The scope of youth policy in Ukraine has to be broadened; it should take due account of the EU and the Council of Europe Partnership and the Eastern Partnership Youth Window.
- Youth policy in Ukraine has to encourage young people to participate in the democratic process and in civil society.
- Education and training in Ukraine must foster the transition from education to employment/job entry – among other things through programs for internships, apprenticeships and entrepreneurship training – all under an appropriate umbrella of legal security.
- The reduction of youth poverty and homelessness, the promotion of social services such as health services and support for young families.
- Support for the development of skills in new technologies, creativity and cultural employment.