Marking the International Youth Day - Safe Spaces for Youth

The importance of safe spaces for youth has been at the heart of this year's commemoration of the International Youth Day globally.

Youth need safe spaces where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision making processes and freely express themselves. This is also relevant in humanitarian settings- if youth have safe spaces to engage, they can effectively contribute to development, including peace and social cohesion.

“Over the past four years we noticed tremendous benefits that support for youth spaces and leisure activities can have. Engagement of young men and boys through local youth offices and Be a man clubs across Serbia showed to us that young men can be our allies in fight for gender equality, and that they can act as agents for change in their local communities”, stated Dr Doina Bologa, UNFPA Country Director for Serbia.

Since 2015, UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, has been supporting work with refugees and migrants in Serbia, including youth. “This year alone, over 40 workshops provided safe environment for over 400 refugee/migrant women and girls to acquire new skills and talk about human rights, gender based violence, women’s rights and many other issues they are struggling with”, adds Ms. Marija Rakovic, UNFPA Assistant Representative in Serbia.

Sustainable Development Goals and Development Partnership Framework (DPF) for Serbia 2016-2020 developed in close cooperation and through a partnership between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the United Nations Country Team in Serbia, also envisage efforts to improve policies and programmes that incorporate the rights and needs of adolescents and youth.