President Stevo Pendarovski and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced today the launch of the new joint initiative “Rethink the Future”, which aims to give children and young people space to engage in defining a vision for the future they wish for themselves and for future generations.
In the next three months, young people will have the chance to participate in consultations and discuss issues of importance to them, of their biggest challenges and expectations for the future of the country, and will be able to propose solutions to turn the vision into reality.
“Today’s generation of young people faces many challenges. But, at the same time, they are the most informed and digitalized generation in our history that has a unique opportunity to do something for its future. It is our duty to listen to their views, because their ideas are important. To help them be part of the policy-making and decision-making processes that affect theirs and the future of all of us”, President Stevo Pendarovski said.
There are about 190,000 adolescents aged 12 to 19 in the country, yet few have the opportunity to participate in decisions that affect their lives, their livelihoods, and their communities. Quality education, mental health, prevention of cyber-bullying, climate action and employment are among the top priorities of young people before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new initiative focuses on a better and fairer future for every child and every youth in the country in the post-COVID-19 period.
“What we do for children and youth, together with them and on their behalf today, will determine their tomorrow. This joint initiative comes at a crucial moment and is a rare opportunity to rethink the future together with children and youth. Through the initiative, young people will be able to become drivers of change on a range of issues, and we will be able to use the enormous potential for innovation and transformation they offer when supported by the right platforms and skills, and when they have the confidence to be leaders in their country”, Patricia Di Giovanni, UNICEF Representative, said.
Young people are invited to participate in the first online survey aimed at identifying the challenges they face, but also to discover their ideas and visions for the future. The findings of the survey will serve as support for the topics of the workshops in the coming months, and young people will be invited to join through an open call.