9.3 Exchanges between young people and policy-makers on global issues
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As mentioned in 9.2/Governance, theYouth Council as well as Local Youth councils enable young people to represent youth and for youth organisations and associations and to participate in the procedures and processes of official decision-making by the government representatives.
The most important KOMS’ initiative related to youth dialogue is the development, promotion and maintenance of the digital platform Structural Dialogue. This platform is the cornerstone for establishment of structured dialogue among youth. On the platform young people can make comments on different initiatives of public authorities, on youth policies, or provide their opinion that will be included in public hearings on different subjects. The idea behind the platform is to enable that the recommendations and opinions of young people find their place in local, national and even European policies.
At the initiative of the representatives of the cities and municipalities in Serbia, in 2016 the Youth Network of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM) was formed. The SCTM Youth Network is a mechanism that enables local governments to compare each other's work and find out in which areas of work and in what way they can improve the quality of their services. Also, the network is an effective mechanism for creating and evaluating youth policy, both at the local and national levels. The members of the network are representatives of cities, municipalities and those employed in activities related to youth policy, primarily employees in youth offices, as well as members of working bodies, i.e., representatives of youth policy development mechanisms in the local community.
Within its scope, the network is in charge of:
- Considering issues of concrete application of international and national regulations that partially or completely regulate youth policy issues;
- Considering issues of effectiveness of various forms of institutional support, giving proposals and models in order to improve the work of employees in the field of youth policy;
- Considering issues of introduction, improvement and implementation of local policies from the aspect of measures and programs implemented by local self-government units;
- Exchanging opinions and information between representatives of local self-government, provincial and national bodies aimed at supporting youth to improve or preserve the quality of life;
- Exchanging experiences, knowledge and best practices to establish a standardization of practices that adequately responds to the needs of the local community in creating local youth policies, their implementation and monitoring;
- Monitoring and collecting information and data from specific areas.
Youth Rights Talks are events organised by the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights in cooperation with the United Nations Human Rights Team.The events themes build on the Sustainable Development Goals, defined in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The events serve to establish a dialogue with young people from all over Serbia, state representatives, media, youth organizations and civil society organizations, as well as influencers and other significant actors in society. The theme of 2020 event is the right to health, i.e., the right to physical and mental health. The event from 2019 gathered about 200 young people from all over Serbia, youth workers, trainers, educators, influencers, decision makers and other actors who discussed social justice and equality, as well as sustainable peace.
From March to April 2019, as a process of developing Voluntary National Review of the Republic of Serbia on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UNICEF lead a consultative process with the youth on SDGs, The consultations included youth panels with the ombudsman and the Commissioner for Equality, and a public Call through social networks addressed to the youth, civil society organisations and schools, to express their views in a specifically designed online survey: U-Report. The youth used the opportunity to provide their views on SDGs and the progress made in their achievement.
The National Youth Council of Serbia - KOMS’ bilateral cooperation includes the work on establishing and maintaining contacts with other entities and umbrella organizations of young people in other European countries, as well as on the exchange of experiences, examples of good practice and mutual support in their work. Since 2015 exchanges of knowledge and experiences were organized with Slovakia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Germany, with the umbrella organizations of Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Poland, Norway, Greece and Azerbaijan through a series of meetings and study visits. Since 2012, the KOMS is a member of the European Youth Forum. Through Forum KOMS advocates many things relevant to Serbian context, incuding recognition of youth work, non-formal education, the rights of volunteers and the like.
The goal of the UN Youth Delegates programme is to encourage the inclusion of more young people in state policy and social obligations, through the expression of youth interests through the role of youth representative in the state delegation to the UN, as well as continuous training of new young leaders for change. The status of young delegates is at the level of youth advisors, and they are being prepared in consultation with youth policy actors and in dialogue with peers across the country and through participation in various events. Their role is realized in three phases:
- Participation in the General Assembly Committee and in youth gatherings in the UN system;
- Reporting, exchange of experience and preparation of the election of the next delegates.
The main reasons for the establishment of this programme in Serbia, as well as its goals are:
- That young people from Serbia get involved at the international level in finding solutions to issues that concern them;
- That young people from Serbia improve the debate with their ideas and strengthen communication and cooperation between young people and the government;
- That young delegates upon their return help youth policy actors to find solutions to the problems of young people in Serbia;
- To promote the participation and activism of young people in society, including UN youth programmes;
- To establish a systematic and structured approach to the selection of young people participating in events in the UN system.
The proposed programme is in line with the principles of the National Youth Strategy, and in particular regarding the active participation of young people and the provision of conditions for participation in decision-making processes through a sustainable institutional framework.
The Joint UN Regional Programme "Dialogue for the Future: Promoting Dialogue and Social Cohesion in and Between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia" is implemented by UNDP, UNICEF and UNESCO, with the support of the UN Peacebuilding Fund. Through this programme among others, primary and secondary schools, faculties, cultural institutions, research institutes, tourism and development organisations of local governments can participate through cross-border projects. The aim is to contribute to:
- Youth capacity building,
- Improving media and information literacy and media reporting,
- Improving dialogue and action for common good,
- Strengthening education system to achieve social cohesion,
- Improving gender equality,
- Promoting cultural diversity and intercultural understanding,
- Environmental Protection.
In 2019, twelve dialogue platforms were organised in all three countries as a part of the Joint Regional Programme, gathering over 1200 adolescents, young people, civil society representatives, youth and women’s organisations, public institutions, media outlets, teachers and the private sector. Platforms helped identify challenges in the field of social cohesion and recommended joint activities to address the identified challenges/priorities.
The United Nations Association of Serbia is the national coordinator of the global Dialogue Café Association and is implementing the project "Dialogue Café Network in Serbia" established with the support of the UN Resident Coordinator Officeand the Ministry of Youth and Sports. As part of the global project Dialogue Café, the network enables young people and other interested parties to communicate and participate in global exchange with participants in other Dialogue Cafes around the world (Lisbon, Evora, Rio de Janeiro, Praia, Novi Pazar, Paris, Cleveland, Wroclaw, London, Amsterdam, Ramallah, etc.).
Western Balkans Youth Cooperation Platform is a regional youth platform implemented by Cooperation and Development Institute (CDI), together with the umbrella youth organizations of the six Western Balkans Countries including the National Youth Council of Serbia - KOMS. The aim of the platform is to promote youth connectivity in the Balkans by offering a tailor-made space for young people from the region where they meet, plan, organise, implement and voice their actions.