The Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO)
The Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) will be officially launched, on July 4th, in Paris, on the occasion of the Summit on Western Balkans. Krenare Gashi, executive director of Kosovo Youth Centers Network (KYCN), talks about her experience within the working group who drafted the statutes of RYCO.
1/ What is the goal of RYCO ?
RYCO aims to apply an inclusive and equitable approach to youth exchanges that will enable young people to use a supportive international mechanism to realize regionally owned projects that will make a strong contribution to meeting, making acquaintances, engaging in regional dialogue and improving their understanding of the realities of each other’s societies and historical events. This goal of RYCO is linked directly with its vision which consists for a diverse region in which young people, as the group with the most interest in investing in the future, have an awareness of the past and play an active role in building their lives, and their societies more prosperous futures.
2/ What has been the role of the working group ?
The Working Group has been established with the task to elaborate, until the 1st March 2016, concrete proposals for the mission, structure, activities and financing of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office. This Working Group is constituted by governmental representatives and representatives from youth organizations from the WB‐6‐ countries. Besides the work on the draft documents, the Working Group has also organized, during the whole process, different information and networking activities in order to promote RYCO in national level.
As a Working Group member, I am very proud for all the work has been done and also for the constructive and comprehensive approach shown by each member. It is, also very important to enhance the role and contribution of the Franco‐ German Youth Office (OFAJ), which has facilitated the entire working process.
3/ What are the challenges faced by youth in the region ?
Everyone is aware that Western Balkan is a sensitive and complicated region. This complexity which is , as a result of the past, has a huge impact on youth issues. Youngsters of Western Balkan have to face with different challenges every day. But if we try to prioritize them, we end up by listing three main challenges on which, WB6 youngsters are mostly concerned. Youth unemployment remains on top priorities of most difficult challenges that young people are faced in each country of this region.
Another big issue is the low level of youth involvement in decision making processes. This aspect affects the improvement of democracy and transparency within these societies. And young people are the first who are affected by consequences of this reality. Low mobility in the Western Balkans, has situated young people of this region, in an unfavorable situation. The isolation of each other countries, for reasons already known, has grown prejudices, lack of communication, noncooperation among themselves.
Therefore, I am very optimistic that RYCO will be a window of opportunities for young people of the Western Balkans, at first to communicate, collaborate and contribute to the development of the region. Improvement of the current situation and the growth of democratic values such as the rule of law are the responsibility of each of us, in order to have a more developed region.
In conclusion I truly believe that RYCO will serve as a concrete step towards reconciliation between six countries, as much as I believe that there is no European integration without regional cooperation !