The 2nd Regional Youth Forum for Local Democracy on topic of “Towards the culture of regional dialogue and youth participation in the Balkans: Promoting youth mobility as the grounds for peace, stability and prosperity of the Western Balkans” was opened today in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The forum is gathering around 80 participants – representatives of Local authorities, government officials, experts from the field of youth participation, youth workers, CSOs and CSO networks from the Balkans.
The forum was opened with the welcoming speeches of the Mayor of Mostar, Mr. Ljubo Beslic; Mr. Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, head of the EU delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina; Ms. Dzenana Dedic from LDA Mostar and Mrs. Stanka Parac Damjanovic, South East Europe coordinator for ALDA - The European Association for Local Democracy.
Representative of ALDA, Stanka Parac Damjanovic introduced the association during the opening speeches.
“We offer to young people in our local communities a learning platform – non-formal education platform to develop necessary skills and understanding. It’s not enough for young people to participate only during elections. We need to develop, and this is also part of our mission, the process of public consultation and participation in public policies at local level and through this knowledge we gain competent stakeholders of the regional dialogue.”
Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, The Head of the EU delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina pointed that “one of the main drivers of growth is going to be connectivity, and I don’t just mean building roads and railroads, tunnels and so on, but connectivity in a broader sense. I think you’re all connected, that’s why you’re here.”
Catherine Veber, First Concelors of France 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 includes three thematic panels: Regional co-operation in the Western Balkans: present challenges and future perspectives; Role of Civil society in fostering youth mobility in the Western Balkans and Youth policies for enhancing regional mobility and EU integration perspectives. The forum will include a cultural visit of Mostar, youth workshop and a study visit of the National Parliament in Sarajevo for the youth workers.
The main objective of the Regional Youth Forum is to encourage democratic engagement of young people and raise awareness for enhancing the culture of regional dialogue.
This forum was organized in the framework of the project Balkan Regional Platform for youth participation and dialogue funded by the European Union. The Balkan Platform is implemented by ALDA and 8 Balkan Local Democracy Agencies from Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Macedonia. The organisation of the Forum is supported by the Programme for decentralised cooperation France-Balkans and the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs.