The 2nd Balkan Regional Youth Forum Mostar

The 2nd Balkan Regional Youth Forum Mostar
“Towards the culture of regional dialogue and youth participation in the Balkans”

Following the positive achievements of the 1st Regional Youth Forum for Local Democracy which was held last year in Subotica in Serbia, the 2nd Forum was organized yesterday in Mostar, with the aim to encourage democratic engagement of youth and promote enhanced regional dialogue.

This year’s Youth Forum focused on promoting youth mobility as the grounds for peace, stability and prosperity of the Western Balkans and it also included thematic panels on the topic of regional cooperation, civil society and EU integration perspectives.

The Forum was opened with the welcoming speech by Mayor of Mostar, Ljubo Beslic:
“We are pleased that the City of Mostar is included in the project and that we have the honor to welcome around 80 participants from different Balkan countries and to be the host of the Second Regional Youth Forum, moreover that the topic of this forum is the youth mobility in the perspective of promoting cooperation and dialogue in our region. “

The forum was organised in the framework of the EU funded project Balkan Regional Platform for youth participation and dialogue, which is implemented by the European Association for Local democracy (ALDA) and 8 Balkan Local Democracy Agencies from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and supported by the Programme for decentralised cooperation France-Balkans and the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
In his introductory speech, Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative, presented some of the main aspects of EU policies related to youth and youth mobility and also stressed the role of connectivity in the economic growth and development: “Mobility in all respects is what ultimately will break down the invisible barriers that exist among all of us in one way or another, and bring us closer together. One of the main drivers of growth is going to be connectivity, and I don’t just mean building roads and railroads, tunnels, but connectivity in a broader sense. I think you’re all connected, that’s why you’re here,” said Ambassador Wigemark.

Dzenana Dedic, Delegate of LDA Mostar highlighted the fact that young people are leaving their countries, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Today’s topic is mobility, but I think that our goal is to stop this type of mobility. Here I really want to talk about and to encourage other type of youth mobility, one for education, employment and I think that our countries from the region need to encourage youth to stay in their country and to work on the development of their own country and the region.”

Stanka Parac Damjanovic, ALDA Regional Programme Coordinator presented the approach of ALDA towards the regional dialogue and youth participation in the region. ”Our regional network is creating learning platform, a non-formal education platform to young people in our local communities develop necessary skills and more profound understanding of the reform processes. It’s not enough for young people to participate only in elections because the space for public consultation, dialogue and participation in public policy making needs to be continuously enhanced.”
Catherine Veber, First Counsellor of the French Embassy highlighted the importance of youth involvement in decision making: “It’s important to involve the youth at the heart of the debate and the development of public policies. The youth has become political priority, it was the central topic in the Summit Balkan-EU taking place in Paris in July this year.”
The conference gathered representatives of Local authorities, government officials, experts and NGO practitioners, youth workers, CSOs and CSO networks from the Balkans.

The three day Programme included youth workshop on culture of memory, Regional Network meeting, as well as study visit to the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.

 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016 12:43

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