Messages from Western Balkans youth shared at “Think Forward: YOUth ACTion Now” Conference in Skopje

RYCO Local Branch Office in Skopje, North Macedonia in cooperation with the Delegation of the European Union – Skopje and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) implemented a series of events to mark Europe Day. The program started with the virtual kick-off event on the 06th of May with participation of RYCO local branch offices from the WB6 region, the General Secretary of RYCO Mr. Albert Hani, RYCO partners, young people part of RYCO projects and young people participants in activities of Europe House Strumica and Kriva Palanka. During this multimedia virtual event, RYCO team and young people had the chance to share their stories and unique experiences that endorse the European values of cooperation, mobility and building an inclusive future for all youth.

The program continued with the Western Balkans Youth Conference, “Think Forward: YOUth ACTion Now”, that gathered 30 young participants from the WB6 region. The participants were active young people mainly from youth organisations working into the areas of Regional Cooperation and Reconciliation, Climate Change and Mental Health. During the three-day conference, they were discussing the given thematic areas and proposing solutions to potential issues in the region. The creative solution ideas were then presented at the Europe House, on May 11 in front of the Head of Delegation of the European Union to North Macedonia, Ambassadors of the European Union members and Ambassadors of the WB contracting parties in North Macedonia.

On May 12, youth representatives from the 3 working groups: Regional Cooperation and Reconciliation, Climate Change, and Mental Health, had the unique opportunity to present the proposed solutions at the Government of North Macedonia. During the event “Government Takeover” the Prime Minister and ministers from the theme-related ministries have heard about the common issues of the youth in the region and concrete ideas how the youth can be involved in improving the current situation. Furthermore, the Prime Ministers and the other ministers gave feedback to the youth representatives about their proposed solutions and answered their questions. Joint agreement was that continued cooperation among governments of the WB6 region is crucial with involvement and support of the European Union in order to improve the overall situation and create opportunities for the youth in the Western Balkans.

This multidimensional program offered the opportunity for young people from the region to gather, exchange opinions and even more importantly to have the chance to present action items in front of policy officials. As emphasized many times during the events, young people are the future decision – makers and the proposed solutions now pave the way to long-term response to lasting issues.



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