UN Day 2013: Looking into the future – Youth in Montenegro

Cetinje, 24 October 2013
Gathered around the aspects of youth empowerment, the Government Montenegro, UN Family and numerous partners celebrated the 68th United Nations Day in the Old Royal Capital Cetinje. The celebration“Looking into the future – Youth in Montenegro” was an opportunity to present key findings of two studies on youth participation and employment, carried out in 2013 within the joint UN Programme on Youth Empowerment.
“Young people are, without doubt the greatest capital of one society” said Rastislav Vrbensky, UN Resident Coordinator in Montenegro. “Recognizing the importance of investing in youth, we joined forces with national institutions and civil society to work on empowering young people,” Vrbensky said.
Two studies unveiled great interest of young people to get engaged in creating better communities, but also pointed to some obstacles they face and lack of enthusiasm in certain areas. According to the research, almost two-thirds of young people feel that they can’t influence decision-making processes even though 90% of them believe that in such cases they should be consulted.
“Young people are pessimistic about possibility to influence decicion-making processes, but they are strongly interested in contributing in all areas. They need more motivation, taking into account their oppinion, and more support to participate”, said Jelena Miljanić, coordinator of the joint UN Programme for Youth Empowerment, who presented key findings.
More than 200 guests at the ceremony also had the opportunity to hear real voices of youth.  Two young persons, Maida Kurtagic and Nikola Zekić shared their views on youth aspirations, opportunities and also challenges they face on their way to success.
“One of the greatest dilemmas of young people in Montenegro is - what after graduation?” said Maida Kurtagic, expressing concern that young people are considering leaving the country. She presented an example of youth activism project she participated in to illustrate one of the ways how young people can contribute to social changes. “Montenergo can count on young people,” Maida stressed out.
Her peer Nikola Zekić, a young man with visual impairment, voiced perspective of youth from vulnarable groups, stressing out that young people with dissabilities face even more challenges, mostly because of society prejudices. “However, with my own example I try to show and prove that young people with disabilities can do everything like those without disabilities. In the environment where I live and go to school, I work on breaking the stereotypes which unfortunately still exist."
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Igor Lukšić reminded that the latest MDGs Progress Report in Montenegro showed that youth unemployment has been recognized as a priority area. 
“Policies for economic and social empowerment of youth are imposing as an imperative. Such an approach is a winning ticket for their safer and better future and the future of Montenegro,” said Lukšić, underlining the importance of partnership with the UN System in this regard.
“Montenegro needs a new generation of creative and dynamic people with innovative ideas in order to succeed to respond to challenges in all areas of society that are more complex. Therefore, in successful overcoming the challenges of the future we expect the support of the UN team on the way to build a stronger, better organized and richer Montenegrin society in which our children will work,” Lukšić concluded.