FIRST BALKAN YOUTH FORUM FOR LOCAL DEMOCRACY IN SUBOTICA
The First Balkan Youth Forum for Local Democracy was held on 21 September 2015, in the City Hall in Subotica. Representatives of Local and Regional authorities as well Civil Society representatives, discussed on the topic of youth participation, youth policies and the conditions for youth in the region.
More than 60 participants from the Balkans, members of the Regional Network for Local Democracy (eight Local Democracy Agencies in five countries) and their partners promoted the regional platform for cooperation between civil society organizations and public authorities that encourages youth participation in public policy, targeting young people with less opportunities. Representatives of local and regional authorities discussed the challenges during decision making for youth policies. The benefits from inclusive youth policies and the progress was the focus of the decision makers. "Nothing abouth youth, without youth" staed Mr. Michael Uayehara from OSCE Mission to Serbia, accenting the need of full inclusion of youth in the youth policy making. Umbrella youth organizations and Civil Society representatives had a panel discussion on the issues when dealing with youth participation and dialogue. Both the passivity of the youth and the lack of will for hearing youth voice was concluded among speakers and participants.
"Young people don't believe that they are important or influential on social changes.It is up to us to show them their relevance in the community" – stated M. Rodic, research expert during the presentation of the first regional research on the position of youth within the region was debated. Regional comparative analysis "Youth active citizenship and democratic participation" conducted by experts in the platform clearly show that youth from rural areas have low access to information that creates barriers for active participation, and offer solution to this problem. The Forum ended with exhibition of youth art photos in Subotica Gallery.
This conference was organized in the framework of the project "Balkan Regional Platform for youth participation and dialogue" funded by the European Union, through the Civil Society Facility - Operating Grants to IPA CSO Associations (Support to Regional Thematic Associations). This project is implemented by ALDA and 8 Balkan Local Democracy Agencies from Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Macedonia.