Press Release

It's youth time!

22 November 2021

Young people from Bosnia and Herzegovina sent a message together with the United Nations Secretary General's Envoy on Youth

The waterfall in Jajce was illuminated in UN blue on 16 November, continuing the United Nations Day marking, and honoring all the activities that the United Nations is implementing in the field of sustainable development in cooperation with partners in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The blue water is a powerful message of peace and hope for a more prosperous future for everyone in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The United Nations Day is marked on 24 October, and this year it was celebrated with the #ImagineChange campaign. The central part of the celebration was the first ever UN Festival held at the Zemaljski Muzej. The #ImagineChange mission was continued with the United Nations Secretary General's Envoy on Youth, Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, at the formal reception held last night in the City Hall in Sarajevo. 

Reception was held with representatives of young people from all across BiH, as well as representatives of UN agencies, funds and programmes in BiH, embassies and missions - partner organizations of the United Nations in BiH. The special guest - the UN Secretary General's Envoy on Youth, Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in BiH, dr. Ingrid Macdonald talked with the Sarajevo Mayor, Ms. Benjamina Karić, as well as with representatives of young people from all over the country about the perspectives, opportunities and role of young people in BiH.

"We usually say that young people are leaders of the future, but in fact they are the leaders of today," said the United Nations Envoy on Youth Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake in her introductory speech.

"Young people who are trying to create opportunities for themselves in their communities cannot do it alone. And they should not do it alone. They should be expected to create solutions, and the United Nations, donors, local decision makers should create a conductive environment so that these young people can really live the change, and not just want it and perceive it. We at the UN are ready to work with young people and partners to ensure that every young person in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the world reaches its full potential."

Ms. Wickramanayake has been a youth development activist in her country since she was 13 years young, followed by engagements at the international level.  As UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth, she works to expand the United Nations engagement and advocacy activities across all pillars of UN's work - human rights, peace and security. Under her leadership and the leadership of her Office, the United Nations developed the first comprehensive system-wide Youth Strategy, and the High-level Steering Committe which she leads coordinates its implementation across all UN member states.

"The people we work with throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina inspire us to focus on positive change despite the difficult times and the pandemic, to see that change is possible and to strive for it. To aim high, because it's possible even under difficult circumstances. To aim high, because that's exactly what the people we work with do. The past two years have been crucial for the United Nations partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina - we have prepared and signed the five-year Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework with the Council of Ministers, confirming the commitment to work together - for the people, their environment and the prosperity of their communities," said dr.Ingrid Macdonald, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Dr. Macdonald also thanked the United Nations staff, across 17 resident and non-resident agencies, funds and progarmms, who worked on aligning the Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework with the different programs of the United Nations agencies. "All the areas we are committed to are important to us, but one of the most important areas is certainly working with young people," she added, referring to the month of August, during which young leaders took over the official social media accounts of United Nations agencies and programs, making sure that the voice of the country's youth is heard.

"I want a society in which we do not judge each other based on our skin color, accent, origin, social status. I want us to be a society of good and tolerant people. In order to create such a society, we must take responsibility for our future", said Aida Vehabović, a young actress and activist from Kakanj who, together with Haris Bilalović, moderated the event and the conversation between youth in BiH and UN representatives.

Haris and Aida reminded that the #ImagineChange Festival, which was visited by thousands of citizens, sent a message that it is time for better environmental protection, for life without conflicts, for true respect for human rights. It is time for better prospects and more employment opportunities and continuous work with the United Nations on these goals, together with partners and despite the pandemic.

United Nations programs and agencies in Bosnia and Herzegovina within the #ImagineChange campaign promote cooperation with people, companies, organizations and institutions throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, supporting them in imagining and implementing positive change in their communities, in cooperation with their international partners and donors.

Dalila Sadinlija

Dalila Sadinlija

Communications and Advocacy Officer UN Resident Coordinator Office

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