First national consultative conference in Skopje

Skopje, 9.12.2015

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The National Youth Council of Macedonia organized the first national consultative conference for establishing the Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans.

The conference was open with welcome speeches from Mr. Abdilaqim Ademi Minister for Education and Sport of Macedonia, Mr. Damjan Nikolovski , President of National Youth Council of Macedonia, , H.E. Dr. Christine D. Althauser, Ambassador of Germany in Macedonia, H.E Ms. Laurence Auer, Ambassador of France in Macedonia and H.E. Ms. Renate Kobler, Ambassador of Austria in Macedonia.

Mr. Abdilaqim Ademi, Minister for Education and Science of Macedonia emphasized in his opening speech that this national consultative conference organized by the National Youth Council of Macedonia is the first meeting organized on highest level that include ministers, ambassadors and persons directly included in this process.

The main goal of the establishment of RYCO is to enhance the regional cooperation of the youth in Western Balkans through identifying common interest that will inspire solidarity and friendship as well as the principles of equality, inclusion and collaboration.

“RYCO of grave importance for the Youth of the Western Balkans”

The president of National Youth Council of Macedonia, Damjan Nikolovskie emphasized , that the National Youth Council of Macedonia is honored to host the first national consultative conference in Macedonia for the establishment of RYCO.

He stated that this office and the process overall are from grave importance for the youth of the Western Balkans: RYCO will enhance mobility of the youth of the region, resulting in better intercultural understanding which is one of the most important pillars in the building of intercultural societies. Moreover the office will be a good example of high level of youth participation, where the youth and the institutions through the co-management system will make decisions. said Damjan Nikolovski.

A platform for cooperation and knowledge exchange

The ambassadors of the countries that are mentoring and guiding this process Germany, France and Austria stated that RYCO should grow into a platform for cooperation and exchange of knowledge and practices of the youth of Western Balkans. They underline that this initiative can develop only if strong political will exist together with multi level collaboration of all stakeholders.

In the working part of the conference a panel discussion was held where questions regarding the process and the format of the group and the upcoming activities of the WG were answered by Mr. Bujar Luma facilitator of the WG and representative of the Franco-German Youth Office, Ms. Marija Pantelic , vice-president of KOMS (National Youth Council of Serbia) аs well as Ms. Zorica Stamenkovska and Mr. Faton Pollozani representatives from Macedonia in the working group.

The object of this consultative meeting was to provide the youth with information regarding RYCO, the process of establishment and the expectations of this process. This was clarified in details by Mr. Bujar Luma member of the facilitation team of the working group.

Just before Ms. Marija Pantelic, vice president of KOMS ended the panel discussion with presenting the experience of the collaboration of KOMS with the institutions regarding RYCO, Ms. Zorica Stamenkovska and Mr. Faton Pollozani, the Macedonian represetatives in the RYCO working group announced transparent and open discusiions in Macedonia with all stakeholders from institutions, organizations to individuals.

After the panel discussion a Q&A session started were the participants of the panel discussion answered various questions from the audience.

Main recommendations from the conference

  • The process should be open and inclusive: Every stakeholder shall be able to participate through regular consultations and coordination with the representatives of the working group, the youth sector and other relevant institutions.
  • Setting up national working groups: As a good example regarding this question, Macedonia should follow the Serbian example, by setting up a working group for RYCO in the frame of National Youth Council of Serbia (KOMS). The National Youth Council of Macedonia will announce an open call for establishment of a national working group. All relevant stakeholders shall be invited to develop proposals which will be given to the representatives of Macedonia in the working group. These proposals of the working group should be incorporated in the official view of the representatives of Macedonia.
  • RYCO shall be accessible to as many as possible: The definition of the areas and programs of RYCO should be comprehensive but without too many details in order to allow participation in the program of a large group of beneficiaries in accordance with their respective needs. The challenges and priorities of the countries are different and they need to implement what is most relevant for them.

There is a need to develop a method to include local organizations and local youth councils and connecting them with relevant local partners from different WB country in order to implement common activity following the example of some regions in France and Germany in order to tackle stereotypes.

Representatives from educational institutions, relevant professors and student organizations should be included in consultations during the development of the educational programs and possibilities of RYCO.

Find the report as a pdf here.