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August 12 is "International Youth Day" and to celebrate this day, about 100 young people, part of the Local Youth Councils from 26 Municipalities gathered Divjaka, Lushnje, in the activity "Youth Decides" that was organized by the Ministry of State for Youth and Children and supported by UNDP and UNFPA Albania.

Present in this activity, the head of the UNFPA Office Albania Ms. Emanuela Bello indicated that UNFPA has been the organization that for years has supported empowering the voice of young people so that they are active and demanding in political-making processes and decisions in terms of youth policies.

"UNFPA has given technical and financial support to the youth voice network, which is already an official formation that operates with 700 volunteers in over 21 co-operation organizations, whose focus is not only the health of reproductive rights, but primarily the empowerment of young people who raise their voices in terms of the problems they consider relevant to themselves and their peers. UNFPA is open to listen to any of you and support the solution of your concerns and problems", said Mrs. Bello.

During the presentation of the scope of work and activity of UNFPA, Ms. Bello explained to the youths that the organization work is focused on the collection of data and statistics, of which youth are a considerable part, because only based in fair and real statistics, development programs can have a very good basis to compile and implement.

The Permanent Representative of UNDP in Albania Mrs. Monica Merina said that the UN Agencies are jointly engaged to promote meaningful youth participation and engagement and ensure trust and peace in the region. “Your role is essential in promoting peace and development in your country. Be enthusiastic and committed to your role, get involved and engage as many peers as possible. I am certain that YOU are the agents of positive change!”, said Mrs. Merina.

The three-day activity "Youth Decides" was supported in the framework of the joint regional project of the United Nations agencies "Strengthening the role of young people in promoting mutual understanding, constructive narratives, respect for diversity and mutual trust in the Western Balkans".

The project aims to address the underlying motivations that lead to use hate speech, divisive narratives, negative gender-based norms, as well as gaps in reconciliation among young people in the Western Balkans region.