RYCO Project Steering Commitee: UN Albania committed to support youth initiatives in Western Balkans,
- Working with youth in the WB6 region will be on the focus of the UN regional eligibility application to PBF.
RYCO Project Steering Committee Meeting took place on 27th October 2020 and was attended by representatives of UN RC in Albania, UNDP in Albania and IRH, UNICEF in Albania, UNFPA in Albania and EECARO, and RYCO. The meeting aimed to share information about project implementation and its achievements, as well as to agree about the workplan for the forthcoming implementation period.
The UN project team, jointly with the project implemented partner RYCO, presented the project’s progress, as regards pushing forwards the peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts in the WB6, through activities organised with schools and youth organisations at regional level.
In her opening remark, the UN RC in Albania, Fiona McCluney took the opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the three UN agencies and of RYCO in making progress through this project during a challenging period influenced by force majeure, locally and globally. On behalf of the UN agencies, McCluney took also the opportunity to express the gratitude to the donor for the flexibility and support provided to the project, especially for the approval of a project no-cost-extension period, which is found crucial to conclude the project successfully. She reemphasised the commitment of the UN agencies to support RYCO in achieving its mandate, and highlighted that working with youth in the WB6 region will be on the focus of the UN regional eligibility application to PBF.
RYCO’s Secretary General, Djuro Blanuša, highlighted the huge contribution of this project for RYCO’s organisational development. For Blanuša, it was fortunate for RYCO to be recognised by credible partners like UN from 2017 when RYCO was established as an institution, as it helped to diversify RYCO’s portfolio, grow drastically its presence in the region, enjoy political recognition and has a financially sustainable situation. He appreciated the flexibility and understanding of UN to respond to RYCO’s needs and to support RYCO to grow and realise its ambitions in making tangible change for youth in the region.
Resident Representative of UNDP in Albania, Limya Eltayeb, praised the collaboration of the UN agencies and RYCO in efforts to unpack the elements of peace, stability and security in a fragile regional environment. Mrs. Eltayeb, highlighted the importance of having a stronger regional perspective in such initiatives, which was found challenging in this project and could be a lesson learned to be taken forward in the future similar endeavours. In a region with fragile economies, politics and social fabrics, an important message for PBF was to further support RYCO in testing, refining all the tools, methodologies and policies developed in this project, and make them easily applicable in the WB6 region, with the final aim to see youth teasing out the drives of tension and instability in the region. Mrs. Eltayeb reconfirmed the commitment of UNDP, to push these efforts forward through the regional eligibility application process.
Head of UNFPA Office in Albania, Manuela Bello, reconfirmed the commitment of UNFPA to work with grassroot youth organisations in fragile situation, as per the mandate of the organisation. She reiterated the need for further investments of PBF to work with youth peace and security in the WB6 region, by addressing the lack of trust, reconciliation and ethno-nationalistic rhetoric and actions. Mrs Bello emphasised that this project experience, has been a good start and it shall lead to more mature approaches in future similar interventions, and raised into attention of PBF the need to provide due considerations to this region and its complexities, in future funding opportunities.
UN PBF funded project of “Supporting the Western Balkan's collective leadership on reconciliation: building capacity and momentum for the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO)” commenced in October 2018 and is closing in November 7th May 2021. The project is a joint UN project, implemented by UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, with UNDP as the lead agency and the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) as the implementing partner.