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Merging forces to design Youth Strategy for Montenegro

Meeting of young people and representatives of institutions. Photo: Miloš Vujović
Bar, 10-11 March, 2016
The vision, expected outcomes, goals and implementation mechanisms for the new National Youth Strategy were defined during the strategic retreat organized by the Directorate for Youth and Sports and UN System in Montenegro. The two-day retreat gathered representatives of institutions, organizations, young people and UN organizations to jointly set the foundations of the new Strategy.
,,The involvement and commitment of all governmental and non-governmental stakeholders in the drafting and especially the implementation of the Strategy are key factors for the success of this process”, said Igor Vušurović, acting director of the Directorate for Youth and Sports.
Through a dynamic programme of both direct and group sessions, participants exchanged experience, expertise and opinion as well as the latest findings and data on the situation of young people. The strategic direction for development of youth in Montenegro was defined through shaping the vision and outcomes of the Strategy, as well as through identification of stakeholders and mechanisms for its implementation. 
Participants start working on Strategy outcomes. Photo: Miloš Vujović
Vision of the future of young people 
While shaping the vision of the Youth Strategy, participants defined how they see young people in the future (which values, skills and knowledge they should have), as well as what Montenegro as the country needs to ensure in order to respond to the potentials and support successful development of young people.
“The vision defines that the Youth Strategy should contribute to creating the conditions for young people to be persistent, curious, responsible and proactive, self-confident and autonomous, creative, environmentally responsible, and ready to accept differences,” said Yael Ohana, UN consultant and one of facilitators of the retreat. She also underlined that the participants agreed that Strategy should help create an environment in which young people can develop self-control, communication and leadership skills, critical thinking, media and ICT literacy and openness for innovations.
Participants have jointly concluded that a high quality system of formal and non-formal education, as well as lifelong learning have an important role in achieving such a vision and providing young people with opportunities to gain applicable, practical and usable knowledge, values and skills. 
One of the retreat facilitators Ajša Hadžibegović. Photo: Miloš Vujović
Young people’s future planned with young people!
Direct interaction between young people and representatives of the institutions was particularly dynamic part of the work. Aroundtwentyyoung persons from different youth initiatives and organizations from all over Montenegro had the opportunity to inform the representatives of institutions, in direct communication, on issues which young people are facing daily, their aspirations, ideas and solutions, what kind of support they need to achieve them, how they see themselves as agents of change and how can the new Youth Strategy support it all.
„Regarding the drafting and implementation of Youth Strategy, the most important thing is involvement of us, the young people, because it’s us who are actual experts on our own needs, limitations and problems. This is why I believe that it is necessary that young people have a space to talk to the representatives of institutions and decision makers, so that we can jointly achieve efficient and adequate solutions”, said Andrea Mićanović, a student of Slobodan Škerović High School.
Wrap up of the retreat – participants express their expectations from the Strategy. Photo: Miloš Vujović
Next steps
The overall takeaway from the retreat was the exceptional motivation and commitment of all of the participants.
,,The most important thing for successful implementation of the Strategy is commitment – commitment in the sense of knowledge, human and financial resources, as well as responsibility and perseverance of all of the stakeholders to the successful implementation of the Strategy. Having in mind that all the stakeholders are involved and showed their commitment during the process of drafting the Strategy, I believe that we are on the right path to achieve that,” said Ana Dautović, UN Coordination Analyst in the UN System in Montenegro which provides support to the Strategy development within the framework of the Joint UN Youth Programme. 
Incorporating results and conclusions of the retreat into the Strategy is the next task ahead the Working Group for drafting the Youth Strategy, upon which the document will be opened for consultations through public discussions. 
Wrap up of the retreat – participants express their expectations from the Strategy. Photo: Miloš Vujović