Ensuring that young people are represented in policy-making guarantees that their needs, worries, and goals are adequately taken into account. This policy paper explores the gap between youth participation in Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia policy-making. It offers a broad perspective on the topic and includes findings and recommendations analyzed from various stakeholders working with the region’s youth. The analysis builds on an exploration of the institutional and legislative framework in the three countries, complemented with findings from semi-structured interviews with representatives from civil society and youth organizations, in-depth interviews with senior governmental officials and policymakers, and an online survey administered in the three local languages.

The main findings indicate that lack of trust in public institutions and opportunities for engagement were identified as the main reasons for disengagement from youth in decision-making. At the same time, more investment should be made towards revising the communication channels and narratives to empower youth, including those that are more vulnerable and hard to reach. The concluding recommendations urge for the establishment of innovative pathways for including youth voices and for strengthened youth positions and engagement in the political and social life of the community.

This Advocacy Research Report is prepared by the Youth Participation Working Group of the Regional Youth Leadership Mobility Program 2023 (RYLMP). The Regional Youth Leadership Mobility Program is a collaborative effort between the Center for Science and Innovation for Development (SCiDEV), the Center for Education Policy (CEP) in Serbia, and the Youth Educational Forum (YEF) in North Macedonia. This project is supported by the Open Society Foundations.


#BridgeTheGap: Between Policy and Practice for Youth Participation in Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia


Learn more about the Regional Youth Leadership Mobility Program here.