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Regional Forum “Youth’s efficiency and resilience during COVID-19 pandemic – today’s perspective in the Western Balkans”

Centers for Civic initiative (CCI) from Bosnia and Herzegovina held on 24th June 2022, the regional forum “Youth’s efficiency and resilience during COVID -19 pandemic – today’s perspective in the Western Balkans”.  The Forum gathered more than 50 participants from B&H, Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, including the representatives of OECD, regional networks, international organizations, the academic community, media, governments and other relevant actors.

The Forum aims to present an overview of the role of Youth during the pandemic time, by highlighting the legal aspects of enabling such activity, as well as sharing best practices of solidarity by CSOs related to the topic. Further on, the forum will also address the situation of inter-sectoral coordination to respond as well as inclusion of stakeholders. Finally, at this forum, policy recommendations will be proposed to address the problems and reduce the pandemic effects on youth.

Some of the conclusions from the event have pointed to the following facts that defined the position of the youth in the Western Balkans countries during the COVID 19 pandemic:

-During the COVID 19 pandemic youth in the most of the countries in the region felt direct consequences of this phenomenon that swept the world: online education, restricted movement, isolation, social distancing in very sensitive age, disruption of the labor market where numbers lost their job, etc. And, until today there was no thorough analysis done, on the Balkans and wider, that would provide the assessment of negative psychosocial effects of the COVID 19 pandemic on youth-other researches have shown that the vulnerability of the children and youth was reflected in greater susceptibility to develop serious psychological consequences.

-During the whole period of the pandemic, youth in all countries of the region has shown outstanding courage, social sensitivity and solidarity with the most endangered groups and individuals and in many noticed situations helped voluntarily to their fellow citizens

-In Bosnia and Herzegovina and most of other countries in the region youth organizations have not been involved in the processes of planning of preventive and operational measures for fighting COVID 19. There were some sporadic examples, but that cooperation has not been fully used for functional dialog and has not responded to the actual needs of youth and their organizations but has been used as formal cover for minimum activities of the ministries in the youth sector

This regional forum is organized under the regional project “Fostering Regional Cooperation and Policy Responses in Time of Crisis,” funded by the Balkan Trust for Democracy (a project of the German Marshall Fund) and USAID, and implemented by: Partners Albania for Change and Development, the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation, the Centers for Civic Initiatives, the Centre for Development of Non Governmental Organizations, Civic Initiatives, and the Kosovar Civil Society Foundation.