"Sustainable Security: The Role of Youth in Bridging the Divide" - Young Bled Strategic Forum




26.09.2018

Western Balkans Youth Cooperation Platform (WBYCP) has partnered with Young Bled Strategic Forum which was organized in Ljubljana on September 7-10. WBYCP powered and facilitated the "Night Owl Session Western Balkans" on September 8th, where youngsters, representatives from public institutions, academia, as well as national and global organizations will critically tackle regional issues such as: (i) reconciliation; (ii) security in the region; (iii) role of NATO; (iv) economic development; (v) youth migration; and (vi) youth participation in public life in Western Balkans.

The participants were firstly introduced with WBYCP by the Executive Director of Cooperation and Development Institute, Mrs. Krisela Hackaj. She briefed the youngsters on the mission of the platform, the latest initiatives such as the Essay Competition 2018 "Three reasons to stay in my country" and on the importance of the bottom up approach applied by the platform to achieve systemic impact. In addition, the participants were introduced with the Youth exchange and Outreach Forum that will be organized in October in Tirana, as well with the planning of the WB6 Youth Statement on Youth Migration.

After the presentation of the platform, all the participants were divided into 4 groups in order to discuss four different topics and to come out with proposals and recommendations to be presented during the panel "Western Balkans: Lost Years or New Hope?" at the Bled Strategic Forum on September 12.

Regarding the Reconciliation, it was discussed the role of education system in encouraging young people in Western Balkan to cooperate. It was highlighted the importance of building partnerships between the education institutions in order create possibilities for cooperation. It was also mentioned the role of media in reconciliations processes and the need to boost positive messages throw media.

On the Role of NATO and Security in the region group youngsters came up with the main issues to be addressed and solved, i.e. Resolving bilateral disputes between the countries of WB; Reducing the interference of the third actors in the region; Building capacities to enhance governance security and rule of law.

On Youth participation in public life in Western Balkan, it was agreed that the bottom up approach is the best approach to ensure that the right issues and solutions come from the basis and reach the responsible stakeholders. It was highlighted the need to create, empower and promote national and regional structures that boost youth participation.

The group who discussed the "Economic Development" proposed to emphasize the importance of building capacities and investing in human resources as the secured form to have a sustainable economic development. In addition, it was presented the idea of creating conditions to work as a single market in order to attract more international investors in the region.

We forgot to mention that the night owl session discussion finished at around 02.00. Youth ideas and perspectives found the perfect place at the Young BSF to nourish and develop in concrete recommendations that were brought to the attention of the policy makers from the Western Balkans on September 10.

Click here to see photos from the event.