SARAJEVO – RYCO Secretary General Mr Đuro Blanuša participated in a panel discussion of the regional conference Population Dynamics, Human Capital, and Sustainable Development in Southeast Europe which took place in Sarajevo on 21 – 22 October. The Conference also gathered high-level representatives, academics, and civil society, the United Nations and other international institutions in South-East Europe, to discuss demographic trends as opportunities, where investments in human capital and respect of the rights of people, including women and young people, play a pivotal role.
Mr Blanuša pointed out that young people already took their Plan A which is the plan to leave, what RYCO, its partners and relevant stakeholders are doing in the Western Balkans is to implement the Plan B.
“There is a certain common line in what we are all doing. All of us, on the local and regional level, we are managing the Plan B for young people – them to stay in the region. Unfortunately, Plan A of most of them is to leave and if you look at statistics you will see how alarming they are. When it comes to the will to leave the region, the average is around 60% to 70% among young people. We need to jointly articulate the needs of these young people and take into consideration the existence of different groups and subgroups within this population. We need to tailor necessary measures to make the impact on the ground,” Mr Blanuša pointed out.
He also highlighted the importance of local context and communities in which young people are living and added that negative attitudes towards their peers across the region still exist and generate negative trends that further influence the creation of an alarming situation.
“During the discussion, we heard about the underdeveloped labor market, fertility rates, about the need for economic development and other aspects which are depopulating the region, but we did not mention, and now I am speaking on behalf of the Western Balkans six, peace and reconciliation in these processes. They are the drivers for a positive change. It will bring certainty for young people, which is currently lacking, that the region will be peaceful. We need to reinvest in constructive dialogue and dealing with the past so that we provide them with opportunities to meet each other and overcome stereotypes and prejudices,” RYCO Secretary General concluded.
The conference also highlighted that the societies of Southeast Europe are facing the fastest population decline in the world.
Minister of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mr Adil Osmanović said that Bosnia and Herzegovina is also facing a negative migration trend because young people are leaving to Western Europe and added that the conference is an opportunity to offer solutions and provide answers to new challenges.
The conference is part of a series of events organized ahead of the ICPD25 Global Summit to be held in Nairobi, Kenya on 13 – 15 November. The summit will also be attended by RYCO Secretary General Mr Đuro Blanuša and Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina Ms Berina Bukva.
The conference was organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Regional Cooperation Council and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.