At the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, in the partnership with UNICEF, OPENS has organised Youth Dialogue within the “Dialogue for the Future” regional program. The purpose of the conference which gathered more than hundred young people from entire Serbia was the empowerment of trust in the region through the development of dialogue, recommendations in terms of policies and actions in the field of mutual priorities, promoting the social cohesion and intercultural understanding.
“Today’s Youth Dialogue is one of the dialogues organised within the sub-regional programme of the United Nations called Dialogue for the Future, which is, apart from Serbia, participated by Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the purpose of young people defining their recommendations and activities which will contribute to the achievement of certain Sustainable Development Goals. Young people have assessed today’s degree of their inclusion and provided particular proposals for the increase of the participation of young people, especially those from the most vulnerable groups, in the processes of passing the policies and plans related to them on national and local level. In this manner only, when we hear and take into account the voice of young people, can we make conditions for overcoming barriers on the road to the achievement of larger social cohesion and sustainable society”, Regina De Dominicis, head of UNICEF in Serbia says.
Active participation and inclusion of young people is one of the pillars of the OPENS programme. The coordinator of European Youth Capital says that OPENS is opening the door to all young people to create their future, influencing the local community and political processes, by the creation of innovative initiatives.
“When we were writing the application, young people were included. Now, when we are implementing the application, young people are once again included. This dialogue is just one of the activities within which young people are included and through which they learn that it is important what they think, that their opinion matters and that when they participate in the processes related to them they can contribute to the change. It is very important to inform young people, to teach them to join the processes, because at this point, according to the information we have, only 15% of young people are included in the programs created for them, while only 1% participatesin the programs themselves. That is why inclusion is our goal”, Vukašin Grozdanović, OPENS2019 Coordinator says.
Since young people know the problems they face in society on daily basis best, the structural dialogue is the tool which provides unique opportunity to young people to join the discussion and make decisions about their own future.
“Opening the door is more than a motto of the city, which is proved by today’s gathering. The openness towards active inclusion of young people to take the role in decision-making about the topics related to them and to actively form sustainable future for everyone and everywhere in Serbia shows that Novi Sad taken the title of the European Youth Capital for the year of 2019 has for justified reasons. On the other hand, units of local government, as well as young people, will be our key partner in taking further steps, for the purpose of increasing the visibility of the Agenda 2030 and its Goals for everyone and everywhere in Serbia. Our goal is to reach all interested parties, each member of civil society, private sector and public, for the purpose of complete notifying and inclusion of everyone in the work on this extremely significant task”, prof. Slavica Đukić Dejanović, PhD, the Minister without portfolio in charge of demography and population policy and president of Inter-Ministerial Working Group for the Implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda
for Sustainable Development says.
Along with its partners, UNICEF works on raising awareness about the significance of the participation of young people, in order to ensure the simulative environment for activities of young people and inclusion of young people in making decisions about community.
“None of us can change the society as an individual, but if we work together, we can change the future for us and for those after us”, seventeen-year-old Nevena Stojanović, participant of the Youth Dialogue from Zrenjanin said.
The structural dialogue includes active participation in decision-making processes, which is based on the co-management principle. Young people and decision-makers discuss the topics which are important for young people and agree potential solutions.