KOMSxRYCO – UN YPS Agenda Meetup in Belgrade

In a resounding display of commitment to the cause of peace, the National Youth Council of Serbia – KOMS, joined forces with the RYCO Local Branch Office in Serbia to host a pivotal gathering which took place on October 16th and revolved around the United Nation’s Youth, Peace, and Security Agenda (YPS Agenda). By uniting international, national, and local stakeholders in Serbia, this meetup served as a conduit for advancing the principles and objectives outlined in the UN YPS Agenda. Moreover, it facilitated discussions about potential implementation strategies within the Serbian context.

KOMS, which took the lead in YPS implementation in Serbia, played a significant role by presenting their analysis titled “Youth for Peace and Security: the analysis of the UN Agenda implementation in Serbia.” Supported by the OSCE Mission to Serbia and the Government of Sweden, this analysis provided a foundational platform for discussing the results and exploring collaborative initiatives at the local, national, and regional levels, all aligned with the YPS agenda.

Ms. Miljana Pejić, Secretary General of KOMS, emphasized in her opening remarks that youth-led activities, supported jointly by all stakeholders, are pivotal in the development of peaceful societies in which young people play active and leading roles. The forthcoming publication of the analysis by KOMS is expected to offer actionable insights for implementing the necessary measures that promote peacebuilding, meaningful youth inclusion, and democratic processes.

Ms. Marija Bulat, the Head of RYCO Local Branch Office in Serbia, underscored the pressing need to prioritize the YPS agenda in today’s turbulent world. She emphasized that the active involvement of young people in their communities is paramount for successfully realizing YPS priorities and collaborating directly with local youth ensures that the YPS agenda becomes more than just lofty ideals – it becomes a tangible path to peace. She also pledged RYCO’s support for youth organizations in their efforts to implement YPS Agenda priorities and recognized KOMS as a crucial partner in this endeavor.

The importance of the UN YPS Agenda and its implementation was further reinforced by Ms. Brankica Jankovic, the Commissioner for Protection of Equality, who expressed the institution’s commitment to developing and implementing a local roadmap for the Agenda.

Ms. Aleksandra Mihajlovic, Program Assistant at KOMS, offered insights into the priorities of the UN YPS Agenda, along with findings from the analysis. This comprehensive report includes a study of the current state of YPS Agenda implementation in Serbia, recommendations for further action, and examples of good practices, such as the adoption of the YPS National Action Plan in Finland.

Collectively, all participants, representing institutions, international organizations, embassies, UN agencies, local foundations, and youth organizations, unanimously agreed on the necessity of youth-led collaboration to implement the YPS Agenda and expressed their dedication to this process.

The YPS Agenda aspires to build an inclusive and just peace with the active involvement of youth in all phases of peacebuilding. This encompasses conflict prevention, trust rebuilding, and cooperation efforts after conflicts. KOMS has made the implementation of the YPS Agenda one of its strategic priorities, planning to work strategically at the regional, national, and local levels to achieve the Agenda’s goals – particularly the principle of youth-led action for sustainable peace.

The RYCO Local Branch Office in Serbia has also set its sights on the development of a Regional Agenda for Youth, Peace, and Security in the Western Balkans. Collaborating with KOMS, they aim to develop and implement this agenda in the region.

The “Youth for Peace and Security: the analysis of the UN Agenda implementation in Serbia,” developed with support from the OSCE Mission to Serbia and the Government of Sweden on the project “Where are young people in peace and security?” will soon be published and made available on the KOMS website.