Austria

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Statistics on young people

  • The total number of young people aged 13 to 30 in Austria in year 2007 average was 1.857.377 which equals 22.3 % of the global population in Austria.
  • The total number of women in this age bracket is 914.899 (11.0% of the global population) and that of men is 942.478 (11.3% of global population).
  • The ration women to men in this age group was 49.3 to 50.7 %.

Actors and Structures

Public authorities - National public authorities

The Ministry in charge of youth is the Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth (Österreichisches Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft, Familie und Jugend, BMWFJ)

At a national level the youth department consist of units responsible for national youth policy, for youth welfare and for international youth policy. The tasks to be fulfilled are: Legislation and execution in the area of youth; principle legislation in the area of youth welfare; investigational function for law drafts; UN arrangements on the rights of children; international concerns including the YOUTH in ACTION programme; financial support and sponsoring of youth organisations, youth initiatives, associations and youth projects; youth information; initialising and promoting youth research; initialising, promoting and treatment of thematic main focuses as violence against children, health promotion and prevention, new media, participation, sects, youth information, education of youth workers, etc.

Number of people who work in this ministry in the youth department: 15 in the unit for national youth policy and 6 in the unit for international youth and family policy, 8 in the unit for youth welfare.

Director responsible for Youth and Family in the Ministry is Dr. Ingrid Nemec

The contact persons in the youth department competent for European youth policy are Elisabeth Ziegler (national youth policy) Sigrid Pilz (international family and youth policy) and Martina Staffe (youth welfare)

Youth councils

The Austrian National Youth Council, the so-called Bundesjugendvertretung (BJV), is the representative body for youth organisations in Austria. The BJV is the umbrella organisation for youth organisations giving young people a voice. Now 43 youth organisations are members in the BJV.

BJV provides young people with opportunities to have their voices heard. BJV aims to represent and support the interests of youth organisations; to act on issues that impact young people, to represent youth interests in various national external bodies. The BJV wants to provide a voice for young people and to help young people to be more involved in decisions that affect their lives by fostering young people’s participation in society and civic life and promoting equality among young people. The BJV represents Austrian youth organisations on multi-national, European and international level, and develops, coordinates and implements cross-national and international youth actions and supports the member organisations on international level.

On the regional level (in the federal states) youth councils may exist that consult and advise the regional governments and the youth departments. It is up to the federal states if the consultation is compulsory or not. Such youth councils exist in Vorarlberg, Salzburg, Niederoesterreich, Oberoesterreich, Burgenland, Vienna and Steiermark. The councils consist of representatives of youth organisations. On a local level youth councils exist in various cities and towns and even districts of cities.

National Programmes on youth

Following the Federal law on Supportive Measures for the Youth promotion of youth organisations and youth work is guaranteed in Austria. Youth organisations receive support according to the number of their members and for special projects.

On the national level no programmes comparable to YOUTH in ACTION exist but following the Federal law of support of youth and the Youth Action Plan, focal points of the support of projects in different fields are established:

Participation: under this focal point projects with high involvement of young people are supported

Electing with 16: since the adaptation of the Federal law on the rights to vote young people from the age of 16 on are allowed to vote. Promoting this is in the focus of Austrian youth policy.

Prevention: Promotion of projects of out of school youth work that deal with the reasons for consumption of legal drugs or/and prevent the usage of drugs or/and reduce the harm of drug consumption.

Intercultural dialogue and equal opportunities as well as quality assurance in youth work are further main topics.

Action plans i.e. official strategies

YAP: the National Action Plan for the Rights of Children and Youth passed the National Council of Austria 2004. It gives direction and guidelines for a future child and youth policy and describes to achieve the defined aims. YAP follows the Convention of the Rights of Children and Youth in the main aims of protection, provision and participation.

The Demokratie-Initiative (initiative for democracy) aims for the raising of young people’s awareness towards democracy and institutionalised active citizenship. This initiative is carried by the Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture and the Federal Ministry of Science and Research.

(Source: Youth Partnership – Council of Europe, European Commission)