BELGRADE – RYCO LBO Serbia for the second year consecutively hosted the Regional Strategic Meet-up with Umbrella Youth Organizations and National Youth Councils from the Western Balkans, from 15 to 17 December 2022. in Belgrade. This was the third strategic meeting which RYCO have organized until now with the National Youth Council of Serbia (Krovna organizacija mladih Srbije–KOMS) and for the main goal has further networking between all UYO/NYCs in the Western Balkans, as well Croatia and Slovenia and RYCO Local Branch offices. This meeting was an opportunity to continue a more strategic approach towards regional cooperation, strengthening of partnerships with UYO/NYCs of Western Balkans, presenting the key aspects of the RYCO Strategy 2022-2024 and planning of joint activities for 2023.
Opening remarks were delivered by Ms. Marija Bulat, Head of Local Branch Office in Serbia and Ms. Miljana Pejić, Secretary General of National Youth Council of Serbia who both underlined the importance of close cooperation between RYCO and UYO/NYCs on regional, but most importantly on the local level. Cooperation between KOMS and LBO SRB has been very successful so far and there is a strong will to continue on this track, as well as to serve as a good model of collaboration for others UYO/NYCs and LBOs in the region. Ms. Pejić recalled the important role which all UYO/NYCs had within the RYCO’s strategy development process and hopes that UYO/NYCs will be equally significant actors in its implementation, as well that they will be more involved in the reconciliation initiatives.
Ms. Bojana Bulatović, Acting Program Director of RYCO followed up with a statement that the full capacities of this cooperation on regional, as well local level, are yet to be utilized, pointed out the importance of this cooperation and continued with a short sum-up of key aspects of the RYCO Strategy 2022-2024. She has announced a couple of regional and local activities and initiatives which will be conducted in partnership with UYO/NYCs in Western Balkans as well that the Berlin Youth Declaration will be one of the tools for joint advocacy on the regional level. Ms. Angela Angjelovska, Vice President of National Youth Council of Macedonia presented what has been achieved so far jointly and what are the priorities of UYO/NYCs for the next period on the regional level. She highlighted the benefits of these types of regional meetings for strengthening cooperation between UYO/NYCs and RYCO, as well as the significance of structural operational planning and sustainable cooperation.
Second working day was focused on updating and mapping policy priorities on local and regional level by each UYO/NYCs. Following the priorities set in the RYCO Strategy 2022-2024 where UYO/NYCs will have important role in regional and local youth policy, as well priorities set within Berlin Youth Declaration, RYCO LBOs together with UYO/NYCs set joint priorities and started operational planning for next year. All these activities will be jointly conducted on regional level, but as well in each Contracting party of RYCO, bearing in mind local context and youth policy priorities.
Last day of the meeting was closed by Mr. Albert Hani, Secretary General of RYCO and Mr. Denis Piplaš, Deputy Secretary General of RYCO, who had a discussion with the representatives of UYO/NYCs on the importance of co-management and program priorities for the upcoming period.