Included, Empowered and Connected Youth: Pillar of Sustainable Development 

BELGRADE – The representatives of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Serbia, Head of the Local Branch Office Ms Ivana Antonijević and Local Program Officer Ms Bojana Zimonjić, participated in the International Youth Conference  “Included, empowered and connected youth – pillar of sustainable development” organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Serbia on 15 December 2021.

The conference was opened by the three minsters in charge of youth policies: Minister of Youth and Sports of Serbia Mr Vanja Udovičić, Minister of State for Youth and Children of Albania Ms Bora Muzhaqi and Director of the Agency for Youth and Sports of North Macedonia Mr Naumche Mojsovski

During his speech, Mr Udovičić said that connecting young people from the region should be a priority for political actors, adding that the region has potential and capacity. “By initiating more and more programs aimed at cooperation and exchange of information between young people, we can achieve results that will change the future of the whole region for the better, and we dictate positive trends at the global level,” he said. 

Minister Udovičić underlined that Serbia is taking over the chairmanship of the RYCO Governing Board in 2022 and expressed how glad he is that Serbia is doing so after six years of active participation and good results from the young people from Serbia that participated in the activities but also in RYCO work. 

“We have a very successful project that came out of the Berlin Process,” he said and added that during the chairmanship, Serbia wants to further contribute to the improvement of RYCO activities. Finally, he thanked everyone who took part in the RYCO activities and worked to promote regional cooperation. 

The second panel entitled “International initiative in the youth sector” was moderated by Mr Marko Kostić, Youth Representative of Serbia in the RYCO Governing Board, while the participants were panelists from regional and international actors in Serbia:  RYCO,  GIZ, UNFPA Serbia, OSCE Mission to Serbia and UNICEF. 

The panel was opened by Ms Antonijević who shared results of RYCO work in 2021. She especially focused on presenting the ROUTE WB6 and RISE projects and how through these activities young people are developing their skills and stronger bonds with the local communities. She also highlighted the Superschools program and how through this project RYCO is helping schools from the region to collaborate but also is reaching young people with fewer opportunities and those who had less opportunities to travel and meet the region. The Head of the RYCO Local Branch Office in Serbia has emphasized another reason this project is important as it will enable linking of ministries of education from the region. She presented the activities LBO in Serbia has organized and pointed out that RYCO is working on its strategy for the upcoming three years. Finally, she announced that in 2022 Serbia will take over the chairmanship of the RYCO Governing Board and that, together with the Ministry of Youth and Sport, additional activities have already been planned. 

The third panel focused on the results of development projects supported by the Ministry of Youth and Sports during 2021 where representatives of the National Association of Youth Workers – NAPOR, the Serbian Youth Umbrella Organization – KOMS, the National Association Youth Office – NAKZM, OPENS and Young Researchers of Serbia presented their projects and activities.

The conference was closed by State Secretary at the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Serbia Mr Milan Savić who thanked the partners who worked with the ministry during the previous year and stated that the pillar of youth policy is cross-sectoral collaboration.   

The video from the conference is available on the Youtube channel of the Ministry of Youth and Sport.

Photo: Ministry of Youth and Sports of Serbia

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