Fostering regional cooperation of national youth councils as a way of its empowerment, advancing youth political participation through regional cooperation of national youth councils and strengthening youth role in regional connectivity and peace-building will be the framework of cooperation of all relevant stakeholders in the field of youth that participated at the regional roundtable in June in Belgrade, organized by the National Youth Council of Serbia and OSCE Mission to Serbia.
Key recommendations of panel discussions and working groups
H.E. Ambassador Andrea Orizio highlighted that the OSCE Mission to Serbia is led by the tagline “nothing about youth without youth” in order to empower young people to voice up their concerns, ideas and suggestions to decision makers and participate in decision making process equally while overcoming prejudices and intolerance that are still pertinent in societies throughout the region. Mr. Samedin Rovčanin elaborated the importance of event’s topics, listed few common challenges region is faced with and expressed willingness of KOMS to dedicate its efforts in countering them.
After the fruiful panel discussion on Advancing Youth Political Participaton, it was concluded that online political participation should be used in order to provide young people with free of charge, creative space where they will be able to express and research their interests. Topics such as volunteerism and media literacy should be covered through formal education because that would provide young people with tools that could impact their political awareness and knowledge leading to significant advancement of youth political participation. Concrete programmes should be developed, political literacy, usage of the Internet and access to information are just some of the key steps that need to be improved in order to increase voter turnout rates among youngsters and their overall knowledge about the topic. One of the recommendations was that NYCs should have significant role in leading the change by creating joint curricula on civic education.
Speakers at the second panel on regional youth cooperation gave very detailed insights into previous and current trends of regional cooperation in the field of youth. Participants also contributed to a productive discussion by providing the insights of their work and experience. Participants addressed the absence of representatives of national authorities and lack of political will to cooperate with youth representatives and the need to work together to ensure that such cases do not occur in the future. perceived to be the biggest challenge in the region. Thus, it is crucial to support the initiatives created within the Berlin Process, including establishment and work of RYCO, and suggest new ones in cooperation with various actors in order to have well-tailored action that is addressing the real need of young people on the ground. Youth sector in the region is still facing many challenges: position of youth is worsening yearly as researches have shown, there is evident lack of political will to open up the institutions for young people and enable them to influence decision making processes, crisis of core values is pertinent in every country, co-management principle although being recognized as one of the most important principle of governance, is not being fully endorsed and implemented.
Full report and recommendations from the Round table can be found here.