BELGRADE – RYCO Secretary General Mr Đuro Blanuša and RYCO Program Officer Ms Bojana Bulatović participated in a two-day regional roundtable organized within the project entitled “Advancing Youth Political Participation through Regional Cooperation of National Youth Councils” in Belgrade from 16 to 18 June. They discussed advancing youth political participation as well as challenges and needs of regional cooperation in panel discussions together with representatives of National Youth Councils from the region and other relevant stakeholders.
Speaking at the panel discussion “Regional Cooperation: Challenges and Needs” moderated by RYCO Local Branch Officer in Serbia Ms Marija Bulat and discussing the youth participation, Mr Blanuša pointed out that RYCO wants to set an example of best practice when it comes to co-management and highlighted that there is still a lot to do so that principles of youth participation are fully applied in RYCO. During the panel, he reminded about RYCO’s three main strategic priorities and underlined that the role of NYCs is to ensure better implementation of the strategy by supporting and promoting youth exchanges in the region, but also that RYCO sees NYCs as relevant partners in creating and promoting “enabling environment” in the Western Balkans, as well as most relevant stakeholders and partners in promoting real youth participation in all RYCO Structures.
“We would like to see recognition of the NYCs by the respective governments in the region, fostering efficient structural dialog and promoting youth participation in decision-making processes in the youth field, but also in other relevant fields. RYCO will support these processes and advocate for them within its structures – mainly within the Governing Board which gathers ministers in charge of youth policy and youth representatives from each of the RYCO Contracting Parties”, Mr Blanuša concluded.
Discussing advancing youth political participation, RYCO Program Officer Ms Bojana Bulatović discussed possibilities for cooperation among youth wings of political parties and national youth councils. The discussion outlined joint advocacy initiatives and educational programs as the most relevant frameworks for strengthening the advocacy potential of youth wings of political parties on topics of relevance for young people.
Ms Bulatović reflected on the RYCO Strategic Plan and said that in the past two years RYCO has intensely worked on supporting ideas coming from CSOs and high schools in the area of youth participation through its calls for project proposals.
“RYCO sees room for advancing a culture of dialogue and understanding among youth wings of political parties being or not part of NYCs in order to contribute to enhancing of democratic culture”, she concluded.
The main objective of the event that gathered representatives of NYCs from the Western Balkans, Slovenia and Croatia was to share experience and positions on the involvement of youth wings of political parties in the work of a National Youth Councils. The event also tackled youth regional cooperation, current regional initiatives in particular, possible future joint activities and advocacy. Based on the event’s conclusions, the National Youth Council of Serbia (KOMS) will compile a White Paper on the modalities for the inclusion of youth wings of political parties in the work of NYCs.
The event was organized by KOMS in cooperation with the OSCE Mission to Serbia. It builds upon previous activities supported by the Mission since 2013.