From 10th to 12th September 2019, the Rural development policy forum of SEE countries was held in Zlatibor (Serbia). The Forum is organized by national networks dealing with rural development, as umbrella organizations of the CSO’s of the Balkan countries and Development Foundation of Turkey. The Forum is financially supported by EU (through ALTER project) and Visegrad International Fund (through SINERGY project) and Zlatibor Eko Agrar Ltd.
The Rural development policy forum of SEE countries 2019 addressed the topic of the position of youth in rural areas. The Forum was attended by relevant stakeholders in this field (representatives of regional and national youth networks, representatives of European, regional and national rural development networks, representatives of relevant ministries and institutions for youth, representatives of civil society organizations, journalists, as well as youth from rural areas of the Balkan countries ). The Forum was attended by over 50 participants from 12 countries.
On the introductory part of the conference were presented goals and program of the Forum. The participants were addressed:
• Vladimir Bojovic - Čajetina municipality,
• Miona Ilic - Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of the Republic of Serbia,
• Dragan Roganovic - ALTER Project, Project Manager.
Subsequently, the experiences of two regional platforms dealing with rural development and youth in rural areas were presented:
• SWG (Standing Working Group on Regional Rural Development in South East Europe), Boban Ilic, Secretary General
• RYCO (Regional Youth Cooperation Office) - Fatos Mustafa, Deputy Secretary-General
The Forum had 4 panel sessions with specific topics on which panelists from the EU and the Balkan countries presented their experiences:
Panel session 1 – Policy in supporting youth in rural areas in Western Balkan countries, Turkey and EU
• Ms. Veronika Korcekova (Belgium), Policy Analyst, ENRD and supporting rural youth at the EU level
• Ms. Slađana Grujić (Serbia), programme director, Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities – Local self-government and local policy for rural development support
• Ms. Miona Ilić (Serbia), Ministry of Agriculture of Serbia – Rural youth policy and young farmers support in Serbia
• Mr. Aris Adlers (Latvia), President of PREPARE, Role of CSO and CSO networks in improving policy for rural youth support
• Mr. Miroslav Ivanović (Serbia), Regional Development Agency Zlatibor – Regional cooperation and rural development
Panel session 2 - Economic activities of youth in rural areas – how to establish stimulative environment
• Mr. Dusko Cvjetinović (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Nesto vise – Internship programmes
• Mr. Milenko Jovanović (Serbia), Serbian Young Farmers Association
• Mr. Vladimir Bojović (Serbia), Director, Zlatiborski eko agrar – Supporting economic activities of rural youth
• Mr. Marko Cvijanović (Serbia), Ruralni center Sova – Experience of regional branding as way for supporting youth
Panel session 3 - Role of civil society organisations in supporting youth in rural areas and activism of youth
• Mr. Bojan Kovač (Serbia), LAG Srce Bačke – How to involve youth in Local Action Groups, expereince of Serbia
• Ms. Martina Slamova (Slovakia), VIPA - Rural youth in the region
• Mr. Dragan Roganović (Serbia), IDA Kraljevo – Rural Youth project and supporting youth associations
• Mr. Leotrim Germizaj (Kosovo*), NORDK – Experience of NORDK in supporting youth
Panel session 4 – Improving living conditions for youth in rural areas
• Ms. Katrina Miška-Idu (Latvia), Latvian Rural Forum, Latvian expereince in youth support
• Ms. Martina Slamova (Slovakia) – Experience with Erasmus+ programme and supporting rural communities
• Ms. Miljana Peković, Tehnoplis (Montenegro) – Role of Tehnopolis in rural development support
• Mr. Tomas Novak (Czech Republic) – LAG´s activities in improving living conditions, cooperation with South Bohemian government and support throw Program for rural development
On the second day of the Forum, before noon, the participants were divided into 4 groups and they were actively participated in the work according to the “rural cafe” methodology. This methodology nominating core topics with additional sub-questions (problem identification, recommendations for improvement ...) and each group having a standing moderator for these topics. Participants divided into groups for a certain time (about half an hour) participate in a conversation on a specific topic and then move to another moderator and participate in a conversation on another topic, with the moderator acquainting them with the conclusions of the previous group. In this way, all participants go through all the topics and complement each other and the moderators make complete recommendations and conclusions of the selected topics. The forum covered 4 topics:
• Economic activities of youth in rural areas – how to establish stimulative environment
• Role of civil society organisations in supporting youth in rural areas
• What are needs of youth from rural areas and how community could answer to the needs
• Activism of youth
The defined conclusions and recommendations from the Forum were presented to the participants as one of the models for improving the position of young people in rural areas through cooperation and dialogue of all relevant stakeholders, while creating stimulating rural development policies. Recommendations of the Forum on Rural Development Policies of the South-East European Countries 2019 concerning improving the position of young people in rural areas will be presented to the participants of the 4th European Rural Parliament to be held in Asturias, Spain from 6-9 November 2019 and the 2nd European of the Rural Development Youth Parliament (Asturias, Spain, November 4-6, 2019), with the potential to contribute to political recommendations.
During the Forum were organized two field visits for the participants, during which were presented examples of good practice of young entrepreneurs from Zlatibor villages successfully engaged in rural tourism, beekeeping and meat drying in the traditional way. On the final ceremony were discussed about good practices of young entrepreneurs from rural areas of other countries and analyzed the successes of the examples presented.
On link below are presentations from Rural development policy forum of SEE countries 2019: