RYCO in BiH Discusses Brain Drain and Youth Participation in Western Balkans

SARAJEVO – RYCO Local Branch Officer in Bosnia and Herzegovina Ms Berina Bukva took part in a conference organized in Sarajevo during June where she, together with political parties’ representatives and young people, discussed brain drain, youth participation and work of RYCO in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also across the region.

The conference “Youth-Driven Policy Solutions to Emigration” organized by the National Democratic Institute in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in partnership with a multi-party group of young people (Group 9) formed with the support of the NDI took place in Sarajevo at the beginning of June. The conference gathered political leaders from Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia. Several panel discussions addressed the trends of brain drain and young people’s main reasons for leaving the Western Balkans. The FES Youth Southeast study 2018/19 was also presented and followed with a constructive Q&A session with participants. The main reasons why youth are leaving Bosnia and Herzegovina are the economic and political instability, lack of trust in public institutions, unequal access to rights and institutional corruption, the conference concluded. Generally speaking, young people are leaving the Western Balkan because of the lack of vision of where we as a region stand and where we are heading to, the conference’s participants agreed.

Ms Bukva also took part in another conference’s panel discussion with representatives of the Youth Council of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Institute for Youth Development KULT. At an interactive session, one of the issues discussed was how young people can be involved more in decision-making processes. The participants also emphasized that RYCO is a unique, intergovernmental mechanism in service for the whole Western Balkan youth. The session concluded that RYCO is still not recognizable enough to the public and that mainly the young people from political parties are not familiar with the mechanism and opportunities that it creates for youth mobility, cross-border cooperation and intercultural dialogue. RYCO invited all of the participants to be more involved, to reach out to local branches that are presented in all the six Contracting Parties and to share the information about RYCO programs and opportunities.

The key conclusion of the conference is that social policies for young people, better education and stronger cooperation with the diaspora are crucial for creating a better environment for young people. During the conference, Group 9 presented their document outlining guidelines for achieving concrete change in the lives of young people, which will soon be sent to government representatives.

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