Monitoring of the reforms progress based on the analysis of the implementation
of the recommendations of sectoral analytical brief for URC 2021
Section 1. Monitoring of the implementation of recommendations on reform priorities for 2020–05.2021
1. To approve the draft Law of Ukraine "On the Basic Principles of Youth Policy", finalizing it for the second reading with the participation of experts.
The law was adopted, but without the participation of experts in the approval of the committee. Such finalization of the bill conflicts with the main essence of the adopted law (on youth participation), and also affects the quality of the final text. The positive thing is that the amendments to the law will allow the creation of the Ukrainian Youth Fund (which was initially opposed by the Ministry of Finance) and that the provides for the possibility of providing grants for institutional development.
2. To provide funding opportunities through amendments to the Budget Code of Ukraine to create the Ukrainian Youth Fund by 2021, and ensure its independence and transparency, as well as the independence of its supervisory board.
At this moment, the discussion on how the fund can work has only just begun. Therefore, it is still necessary to amend the Budget Code, as well as to prescribe regulations on the fund.
3. To analyze the success of the current state program while preparing the concept, and the state social target program. While developing a new program, to ensure that it meets the real needs of young people and local communities (rather than repeating the provisions of similar programs from the previous years).
The analysis of the success of the implementation of the state social target program "Youth of Ukraine" was conducted, but the results of this analysis were not made public. There was no public discussion of the either success of the previous program, or its analysis.
To determine compliance with the needs of young people and communities, discussions were held with the participation of NGOs and representatives of relevant departments and offices, whose proposals were partially accepted. The new program was adopted on June 2, 2021 and although it was structurally different from the previous program, functionally the models of financing the youth policy remained unchanged (without taking into account the novelties from the new law on youth).
4. The social target program “Youth of Ukraine” should basically include the following structure of youth work and funding for the next five years: Training of youth workers, formation educators, etc. An invasive approach to the training of youth activists requires the annual training of tens of thousands of activists instead of hundreds (as Plast and the Youth Worker Program do). In France, for example, the state takes care of the annual training of about 50,000 such workers (in Ukraine, if to count all members of youth organizations that pay real contributions, only a third of that number might be recruited).
The approved state social target program "Youth of Ukraine" has the task of "implementation of programs for training professionals working with youth, including the program "Youth Worker", however, in the expected results for 5 years of the program: training, including the program "Youth Worker", more than 27 thousand representatives of civil society institutions and professionals working with youth,” i.e. the annual figures are not calculated in the hundreds, yet still, it does not extend to the tens of thousands a year.
The projected amount of funds from the state budget for 5 years is UAH 10 950 000.
5. Youth centers as training hubs and spaces for youth self-development. It is necessary to create a Supervisory (Expert) Council of the All-Ukrainian Youth Center so that it can systematically support the development of the areas listed here. At least 10 regional youth training centers should be established. Such youth centers will train youth workers, educators, etc. on a permanent basis (they should also include youth hostels). The new law shall also help ensure that each community has at least one free space for young people, if not for one in 1,000 young people, as it is in Estonia, then at least for one in 10,000.
The supervisory board of the Center is not created. Creation of hostels, which in the EU is an important structural feature of such centers - is not even declared (without hostels, the centers will not be able to fully perform their functions as centers of non-formal education).
The approved state social target program "Youth of Ukraine" has the task: "ensuring the functioning of youth centers, including the state institution "All-Ukrainian Youth Center", in the expected results for 5 years of the program: "obtaining appropriate competencies to improve capacity and quality more than 17 thousand representatives of youth centers”. And there is also an indicator (the number of regional youth centers, units - 19). The projected amount of funds from the state budget for 5 years is UAH 13 000 000.
The Law “On the Basic Principles of Youth Policy” guarantees that the regional centers must be financed from the local budget, but this norm cannot guarantee the actual creation of such regional centers, and the Youth of Ukraine program does not provide opportunities to finance the development of the premises of such centers, but only training. Another training opportunity is available in the form of grants for youth centers, it is provided by law, but can become available only after the establishment of the Ukrainian Youth Fund.
Thus, there are opportunities for training of the staff of regional centers, but in order to achieve the expected changes, namely - 10 regional educational (training) youth centers with hostels, it is necessary to finance the development or use of infrastructure (premises), which is currently not possible.
6. Youth councils in each community as the foundational center for youth. Government regulations for the establishment and operation of such councils have been in place for two years now. However, this direction needs to be strengthened through the law (the relevant norms are generally prescribed), as well as systematically, i.e. to annually train the members of such councils, at the very least, as is done in Lithuania. It is necessary to build a training network that can provide at least 100 trainings per year (for comparison, the Youth Worker Program conducts about 50 trainings per year). Youth councils are not merely the fastest way to create youth community initiatives on the ground. They will oblige local governments (community resources) to get involved in the development of life of youth.
The Law on Basic Principles of Youth Policy provides for a separate section on youth participation. However, the new draft law on local self-government, where the Ministry of Regional Development proposed a separate introductory article on youth participation, was stalled in discussions. The new state program "Youth of Ukraine" provides for separate support of youth councils, but in modest amounts (for 2021 - about UAH 300 000) - in an amount that is not sufficient to build an educational network.
7. Student government as a practical school of civic engagement. In almost 30 years of independence, the state has done very little to create, ensure independence, and provide real opportunities for the development of student communities in universities. Similarly to the youth councils, it is necessary to train activists in this sphere (at least 1,000 per year) in order to grow capable and influential student communities in at least 150 largest universities.
The approved state social target program "Youth of Ukraine" envisages that the achievement of provisions on youth councils and student self-government will be implemented through the task - "intensification of youth involvement in decision-making processes", in the expected results for 5 years of the program: decision-making processes of more than 78 thousand representatives of student and student self-government bodies, youth advisory bodies”. The projected amount of funds from the state budget for 5 years is UAH 6 750 000.
It can be noted that in the previous program these categories were not put separately, but in they were included in the new one. However, the amount that is provided for training of both categories - training of representatives of youth advisory bodies, student self-government bodies for participation in decision-making processes is lesser in proportion to other tasks is less. Also, these funds will provide the usual support for youth participation (competitions, voting, etc.) and there is a high risk that the indicator specified in the state program will relate to this form of participation, rather than building a system of non-formal youth education in this component. That is, it is unlikely that these funds will be enough to create a training network that can provide at least 100 trainings per year.
8. Institutional support of youth organizations. The biggest challenge for the development of youth and children's organizations is the introduction of a competition to provide institutional support to ensure their development and improve the internal structure (procedures) of the organization, including improving the professional capacity of employees. The All-Ukrainian Youth Center, which can achieve the desired and long-awaited public partnership to support youth development in Ukraine, may provide the institutional support, in particular for student government, the network of youth centers and youth councils.
The approved state social target program "Youth of Ukraine" has the task: "promoting conditions for developing the capacity of civil society institutions to achieve the objectives of the Program", and the expected results for 5 years of the program: "training to improve competencies for working with young 2.5 thousand representatives working in youth and children's public organizations." The projected amount of funds from the state budget for 5 years is UAH 5 870 000. This is not a competition as suggested, but it may help to increase the professional capacity of employees and it is possible to note changes for the better, as this is also the first time when this provision is included in the program.
The competition itself can be introduced through the Ukrainian Youth Fund, the creation of which is provided by the law on the basic principles of youth policy (but which is not included in the program). It is worth noting that both the competition for institutional support and the fund are the most important advantages of the law.
Regarding the support of youth organizations in the form of state-public partnership through the All-Ukrainian Youth Center, the program contains a completely different indicator - the number of young people involved in the activities of the state institution "All-Ukrainian Youth Center" where the projected amount of funds from the state budget for 5 years amounts to UAH 70 520 600. In the expected results it envisages: involvement of more than 17 percent of young people in the activities of the state institution "All-Ukrainian Youth Center". Therefore, the emphasis of the work of the All-Ukrainian Youth Center with key youth stakeholders (primarily in the form of proactive support of all-Ukrainian youth networks) is shifted to direct coverage of work with the youth, which is a typical post-Soviet approach and does not correlate with European principles of youth work (where not only the number of “covered” youth is important, but also the quality of the organization of youth work).
9. Simplification of procedures for financing youth projects. It is important to ensure the maximal simplification of funding procedures (following the example of those in the European Union, where the youth itself rather than the treasury, is interested in maximal project effectiveness), expansion of the eligible costs within projects, introducing the electronic tenders, creating real monitoring and reporting procedures.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports is doing some work, but - for now - without tangible results for young people. There is no separate task or indicators in the state program, however, it is known that at the moment work to launch an electronic portal for the competition is underway. And the simplification of interaction with the Treasury should take place through the Ukrainian Youth Fund.
Section 2. The current major challenges in implementing the reform (June 2021)
In the spring 2021, three strategic documents on youth policy were adopted: the Youth 2030 Strategy (by the President of Ukraine), the State Social Program “Youth of Ukraine” for 2021-2025 (by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine) and the Law of Ukraine “On Basic Principles of Youth Policy” (the Parliament).
The main challenge of youth policy in Ukraine for the coming years is that the new law does not correlate with the strategy and state program (the last two documents were written without reliance on the new law, which at the time of their adoption was only a draft law). For example, the purpose and objectives of youth policy in all three documents were written in parallel, rather than in correlation with each other.
As the strategy and the state program do not provide for the Ukrainian Youth Fund defined by law, a lot of efforts will have to be made in the near future to establish the fund. It will be important not just to prescribe, but also to defend the creation of a transparent and public fund (and the law does not have many prerequisites for that). And then – to include the new law in the strategy, and the state fund in the program.
The main challenge for youth organizations still lies in the fact that they are currently unable to receive institutional support from the state and local governments. In this regard, the question remains whether it will be possible to create a fund that can actually - finally - provide institutional support (and how soon it will happen and whether it will happen in the near future at all).
Section 3. Recommendations on reform priorities for 2021-2022 (next annual period, until URC 2022)
Creation of a public (dependent primarily on the interests of young people, not on civil servants) and transparent Ukrainian Youth Fund. Important markers will be the charter and composition of the supervisory board, the strategy of the fund.
Creation and launch of tools for institutional support of youth organizations (Ukrainian Youth Fund), as well as the introduction of administrative support in the implementation of youth projects implemented through budget funds.
Establishment of the National Youth Council, which will provide for the development and approval of a model for the delegation of candidates, as well as public elections of the latter (in terms of the quota of youth representatives). The process of further development or degradation of youth councils at the local and regional level depends on the successful of the process of creating a council.
Establishment of the Supervisory Board of the All-Ukrainian Youth Fund, as well as approval and approval of its strategy, which will not only develop the network of youth centers, but also strengthen the institutional capacity of national networks of youth organizations. Ensuring that the All-Ukrainian Youth Fund has a real practical program.
Development of a professional standard for youth workers and tools for financial support of coaching teams. It is important that this standard provides not only state certification of graduates of several days of training, but actually contributes to qualitative non-formal education of all groups of youth work educators (educators of the game "Dzhura", teachers-organizers, leaders of student government, members and leaders of youth councils, employees of children's and youth libraries, teachers of out-of-school education, etc.).