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More youth empowerment needed in Kosovo, participants in OSCE-organized conference conclude

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PRISHTINË/PRIŠTINA, 14 April 2011 – More focus on youth empowerment is needed at both central and local level, concluded participants in a conference on youth organized today by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

Representatives of government institutions, civil society and the donor community discussed ways of increasing youth involvement in decision-making during the conference “Youth participation: the way forward – challenges and opportunities”.

Participants discussed the regulatory framework, the establishment of the Kosovo Youth Action Council and the role of media in promoting youth activities, education, inclusion and participation. Discussions also centred on formal and informal education, inclusion of youth from non-Albanian communities and local mechanisms for youth participation.

“We are interested in actively empowering youth at both central and local level and promoting their role in the society, including through media,” Ambassador Werner Almhofer, Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo said. “In this light, the Mission has supported a series of activities in the past and will continue to do so in the future. We will help, for instance, develop mechanisms for youth involvement to include the Kosovo Assembly Youth Caucus and local youth action councils. This will give young people from all communities to get involved in decision-making."

Memli Krasniqi, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, said: “We encourage the organization of youth through local councils and find this a constructive way to identify existing challenges to meaningful engagement by youth.”

Participants agreed on a list of recommendations to encourage the establishment of an institutional framework to enable youth involvement. Participants also called for better communication and information-sharing among all stakeholders.

A conference report containing all findings and recommendations will be published later on www.osce.org/kosovo.