Regional dialogue platform strengthens cross-border cooperation and social cohesion

Regional dialogue platform strengthens cross-border cooperation and social cohesion

SARAJEVO, February 14 (FENA) – The regional dialogue platform, organized by the Center for Development of Youth Activism (CROA) within the joint regional program “Dialogue for the Future”, was held on February 11 and 12 in Sarajevo. The platform gathered adolescents and young people, as well as civil society organizations.

During the two days, participants from 17 different organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro presented the results of their activities, sharing experiences and saying that this project brought them all closer and strengthened social cohesion at the state and regional level.

Emir Pilav, a member of the Open Center “Bona Fide” from Pljevlja, Montenegro, and one of the participants of the Platform, expressed gratitude to the project leaders for the fantastic organization that connects young people from BiH, Serbia and Montenegro.

This Platform provided an opportunity to contribute to the networking of young participants and to promote positive examples of young people who spread awareness of social cohesion and acceptance of diversity.

The aim of the Platform itself was to provide a structured dialogue space for shaping the voice of young people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, as key factors of social cohesion.

So far, within the Dialogue for the Future (DFF) program, 19 cross-border projects have been implemented in 36 different municipalities and communities, and 8,000 direct and indirect beneficiaries have been involved, thus making a significant contribution to the Sustainable Development Agenda.

“One of the main focuses of the regional DFF program is the empowerment of young people and the strengthening of their initiatives, and that is exactly what was the goal of the two-day Regional Dialogue Platform for Youth. Cross-border cooperation had to adapt to the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is really inspiring how young people continued their activities because such interaction is essential for them, but also for organizations that are part of the program,” said Ingrid Macdonald, UN Resident Coordinator in BiH.

She expressed satisfaction with the fact that she had the opportunity to welcome young people from all over the region, who shared priorities and solutions for a more resilient, peaceful and prosperous future in the region.

“All the efforts that young people have made so far through the project activities, despite the challenging circumstances, are key to further progress towards their better future in the region and beyond, and it is extremely important to strengthen and make their voice heard, and the UN will continue to help them with that,” Macdonald said.

Another successful example of cross-border cooperation was presented by Group 484 from Serbia, which, together with the partner organization Vaša prava from BiH, is implementing a project on interculturalism called Intercultural Dialogue – Dialogue for the Future (ID for the Future).

Through the project, teams from Serbia and BiH tried to encourage cooperation between cultural and educational institutions, but also to motivate all actors to be more active in intercultural education.

The focus group was primarily young people, students, who were trained to work with high school students on the topic of the project itself.

“At the Dialogue Platform, we had the opportunity to hear about visions of young people from the region. They are those who have a key role in building dialogue for the future. During the presentations, they shared views, experiences and thoughts on how to build better cooperation and dialogue between the three countries. The activities they have implemented in BiH, Serbia and Montenegro show that they are truly agents of change in their societies,” said Sukhrob Khoshmukhamedov, Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in BiH.

The joint regional program “Dialogue for the Future: Fostering Dialogue and Social Cohesion in, and between, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and the Republic of Serbia” is implemented by UNDP, UNICEF and UNESCO and funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund (UN PBF).

Through the activities of the program, young people are educated and encouraged to act, in order to become the bearers of activities aimed at the development and well-being of society at the local and regional level, the UNDP in BiH said.