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IAP inspired changes in Klaipeda’s youth policy

20 April 2017

One of the most pressing challenges in the city of Klaipeda – youth emigration. Despite the fact that migration has positive effects, but the scale of emigration is huge, thus causes more negative consequences: changes in demographic structure of the country (rapidly aging society), lack of skilled labour, brain drain, labour shortages have a negative effect on economic city development. Therefore, Klaipeda in order to avoid becoming only the city of elderly, is actively looking for new ways and solutions how to create a supportive environment where young people are welcomed and would like to return to study, work, raise children and contribute to the city’s prosperity. 

While implementing the Gen-Y City project ULG meetings as well as meetings with other non-formal groups have already inspired several changes in youth policy in Klaipeda. One of the main and most important changes – youth issues are finally seen as a strategic priority by the local government. Through joint discussions and meetings with youth representatives the 2017-2019 Strategic activity plan of Klaipeda city municipality administration has been adjusted by making improvements in Youth Policy development programme:

•       14 measures foreseen (before only 6 of them focused on youth issues);

•       financing for youth policy implementation increased (from 34.800 Eur to 124.400 Eur);

The other important result that was inspired by the Gen-Y City project is the application for the ’European Youth Capital 2020’ title award, which has been submitted for European Youth Forum.

During several meetings with youth representatives as part of ULG meetings they expressed the willingness and wish to apply for The ’European Youth Capital 2020[1]. This title is awarded to an European city for the period of one year, during which it is given the chance to showcase through a multi-faceted programme, its youth-related cultural, social, political and economic life and development. Young people care about Klaipeda, but they also acknowledge that they are planning to leave the city, as they do not see perspectives, there is no choice of qualitative education, the city is unattractive and dead. They identified that the city lacks an active pulse of life that is accompanied by arrayed city, events, music, light, etc. Seeking for those changes youth prepared and submitted ’European Youth Capital 2020‘ concept note and now is waiting for results, which will be announced on April 28th 2017. Within this title young people are seeking that Klaipeda would be an open, digital, e-solutions based city, where co-working (Coworking a style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office, and independent activity). is reality, where opportunities for youth to live, work, share, implement and exchange ideas, break the standards, be heard and acknowledged are provided and encouraged. More information about European Youth capital can be found here: http://www.europeanyouthcapital.org.

International projects open up minds and encourages looking for new and innovative ideas how to make city attractive for young people. Hopefully, the changes will continue and will contribute to solving youth challenges that Klaipeda is currently facing and more results achieved, not only during the implementation period of the Gen-Y-City project, but beyond the project as well.