Coffee Talk 2.1.: A virtual activity that constituted the sixth event organized within the framework of the UN75 Initiative in Albania and served simultaneously as a commemorative event for International Youth Day. Being conceptualized as an overarching discussion, focusing on “Youth Mainstreaming in Formal Policy-Making”, the event focused on three focal points: Assessing the needs of young key populations and other marginalized groups for achieving their effective inclusion and participation; reflecting on the engagement of youth in policy discussions at the local, national and international level; promoting youth agency and their priorities for sustaining peace in the ambit of SDG 16 and regional cooperation.
Twenty-two young Albanians from different walks of life engaged in an interactive discussion around the aforementioned topics with UNFPA Country Director for Albania, UNFPA Albania officers, and representatives from the United Nations Association Albania. The participants dwelt more on understanding the importance of youth participation from different backgrounds particularly those from marginalized groups and vulnerable communities in formal political mechanisms as a vital part of an inclusive society. These groups face increased discrimination and exclusion from decision-making processes during times of uncertainty such as a pandemic. To overcome this, young Albanians see the need for adequate access to information, services as well as the support provided through the right approach by all government actors and international organizations. Additionally, throughout the discussion it was mentioned that another solution to this issue would be the introduction of youth quotas, however, this seems to increase the segregation between these subgroups and the rest of society. The discussion covered also youth participation in global decision-making processes with the participants acknowledging the need to act as an interest group, to self-organize, and engage in policy-making and policy implementation regarding issues pertaining to sustaining peace.