Italian Embassy, UN Serbia and Government of Serbia Join Forces to Support Youth Activism

New project offers leadership training & peer mentoring to increase youth participation, promote human rights & give voice to young people

Photos: © Sanja Knezevic/UN Serbia

The Embassy of Italy in Belgrade, the UN system, and the Government of Serbia have joined forces to kick-off the joint United Nations project “Peer Mentoring Program for promotion of human rights, gender equality and increased youth participation in Serbia”.

This project is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Italian Republic – Directorate General for Europe and International Trade Policy and implemented jointly by UNFPA and UN Women.

The purpose of the event was to mark the beginning of this important project initiative, bring together key partners to advocate jointly for greater youth engagement in Serbia and give voice to young people. The Peer Mentoring Program will be implemented through a young leadership training and peer mentoring process. Experienced young people, members of the UN Youth Advisory Group, will support their peers at the local level to create and implement initiatives to increase youth participation, promote human rights, and create space for social engagement of youth at the local level.

Milica Mutavdzic, member of the UN Youth Advisory Group moderating the event

In his opening remarks, H.E. Mr. Luca Gori, Italian Embassy in Belgrade said, “we strongly believe youth has a key role in the development of a society in all the different fields: economy, politics, culture. However, the social engagement of the young generations is not granted. The project, financed by the Italian MFA, encourages young generations to unleash their potential to become social innovators, leaders, thinkers and a powerful force for change in their communities and country.”

”Ms. Françoise Jacob, UN Resident Coordinator added, “We are proud to launch the project that will empower young people to take action and create a more equal and sustainable society in Serbia. Together with our partners (Italian Embassy, UN Women, UNFPA), we are committed to supporting the Government of Serbia in realising the vision of the Global Strategy for Youth 2030 and the National Youth Strategy 2030. Through this project, we will provide the tools and resources necessary to increase youth participation in decision making processes and create a more inclusive and equitable society.”

Mrs Ivana Antonijevic, Assistant Minister for Youth thinks that“The role of young people is paramount in recognizing human rights issues. We incorporated the inclusive youth policy when drafting all strategic documents. The Law on Youth is founded on the principles of equality, the prohibition of discrimination, equal opportunities, increased awareness of the importance of young people and their social role, and the principles of support for young people. Knowing that young people are the present and future of society and the driving force of its development, we continually and systematically invest in the development of young people, as the most valuable resource of a country. The Ministry of Tourism and Youth will always be there to support the youth’s initiatives.”

The kick-off event will be followed by a series of local level events in 6 selected municipalities. All of the visibility activities, including the this event, will highlight the jointness of the work of the UN system in Serbia and commitment to the UN Reform, as well as a strong support to the youth participation and engagement in the context of the EU accession. Human rights will be the overarching theme for all planned activities.

The program is scheduled to run from January 1st to December 31st 2023, with a total budget of 130,000 EUR, with the Italian Embassy contributing 101,880 EUR.

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