1.8 Cross-border cooperation
In order to establish and promote international cooperation in the field of youth policy, the Ministry of Youth and Sport establishes contacts with the relevant institutions from different countries and usually also determines the signing of the agreement on cooperation in the field of youth and sports. That way the cooperation between the two countries is officially defined, which should stimulate conducting joint activities, as well as help to find funds from different available sources (e.g. EU funds) for the implementation of agreed projects.
The role of these agreements is to enable student exchange, encourage mobility of young people, as well as their participation in conferences and seminars, the implementation of joint projects, etc. The agreements also contribute to more intensive exchange of relevant information, materials and publications of importance, etc.
Number of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) on youth affairs have been singed with EU and EU-candidate countries. Some of them are:
- MoUs with Greece (2011),
- Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (2011), the Slovak Republic (2012),
- Portugal (2012),
- Turkey (2013),
- the Joint Declaration on Cooperation with the Kingdom of the Netherlands (2009).
The Ministry of Youth and Sport collaborates with different international organisations, usually through the implementation of projects related to the youth and youth policy.
Latest collaborative projects (2015-2019), have been/are being implemented with:
- Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit- GIZ,
- Swiss Development Cooperation - SDC,
- United Nations Development Programme - UNDP,
- United Nations Population Fund - UNFPA,
- United Nations Women- UN Women,
- United Nations Children’s Fund - UNICEF,
- European Union - EU.
The Ministry and GIZ cooperate in the project “Youth Employment Promotion” that aims to support young people Serbia aged 15 to 35 years in order to improve their position on the labour market. The project supports organizations, hubs and centres that provide an incentive environment for young people to acquire entrepreneurial skills and start their own business.
Collaboration with SDC is through the programme “From Education to Employability (E2E) – Youth Skills Development and Public Private Partnership in Serbia” (“Od obrazovanja do zapošljavanja: razvoj veština mladih i privatno – javnih partnerstava u Republici Srbiji”). The programme represents a four-year partnership project of two governments — Switzerland’s and Serbian — designed to create preconditions for a faster recruitment and youth employment. The program aims to improve the youth job prospects in Serbian labor market by changing the policy framework and developing skills and knowledge of young people that employers are looking for.
UNDP and the Ministry are implementing the project "Capacity Development for Improved Implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs)" (“Jačanje kapaciteta za unapređeno sprovođenje međunarodnih sporazuma iz oblasti zaštite životne sredine”). The project aims to improve implementation of MEAs in Serbia by strengthening consultative processes and integrating MEA provisions into high-priority policies and programmes at national and municipal levels. Additionally, it will develop capacity in key target groups including youth and university and mid-career students.
UNFPA, UNDP, UN WOMEN and UNICEF worked on the project "Integrated Response to Violence against Women and Girls in Serbia" aiming to change normative framework, institutional practices and behaviours pertaining to violence against women and girls at state, community and individual levels. The overall objective of the project is further development of social and institutional environment that will contribute to zero tolerance and eradication of violence against women in Serbia.
The Ministry and UNICEF in Serbia developed Work Plan for 2019-2020 (Plan rada između Ministarsva omladine i sporta i UNICEF-a u Srbiji 2019-2020). Objective of this cooperation is to establish an efficient system that will enable relevant, high quality and fair participation of young people. The aim is to involve adolescents and youth in consultation processes and to develop innovative solutions for young people affected by poverty and for young people from other vulnerable social groups.
IPA 2014 project "Innovative, integrated services tailored to young people focused on the development of entrepreneurial skills, and models and packages of active inclusion established and put into function through local partnerships" („Inovativne, integrisane usluge prilagođene mladima usmerene na razvoj preduzetničkih veština, i modeli i paketi aktivne inkluzije uspostavljeni i stavljeni u funkciju kroz lokalna partnerstva”) is supported by European Union with national co-financing. The main institutional beneficiaries are the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Social and Veteran Affairs and the Ministry of Youth and Sport. Project implementation period is 2019-2021. Implementation of the project aims to increase the scope and quality of services in education and employment at the local level, innovative practices and models of active inclusion, thus strengthen the social inclusion of young people.
Memorandums of understanding (MoUs) on youth affairs have also been singed with different non-EU countries, such as:
- Republic of Srpska (2010),
- Ukraine (2011),
- Azerbaijan (2011), and
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (2012).
Agreement on the Establishment of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office was signed on Western Balkan Summit held in Paris, on 4 July 2016, by 6 prime ministers from 6 Western Balkan countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia.
Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) is an independently functioning institutional mechanism, aiming to promote the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation between the youth in the region through youth exchange programs.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.