Youth perceptions on peace in the Western Balkans

Youth are central actors for peace

Across the Western Balkans, young people share a core of common hopes and dreams. This shared vision is a powerful yet largely untapped resource for peacebuilding and social cohesion in the region and needs the attention it deserves in policy debates and youth programming on peace.

Regional Study: Shared Futures

Shared Futures: Youth Perceptions on Peace in the Western Balkans was conducted by UNDP in collaboration with UNFPA and RYCO, through a youth-inclusive and participatory research process, and covering the voices of over 5,400 young women and men in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo,* Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

Voices of youth

We went out to the streets and asked young people what they think about their societies, about regional relations and about their peers across the Western Balkans. Hear what they have to say.



An average of 19.5% of youth are civically engaged, but over 65% are interested in being more active


Regional relations:

At least 42% of youth expected regional relations to improve. Just 8% expected them to deteriorate, while the rest expected no change


Youth collaboration:

61-91% of young people agree that youth exchanges can have a positive impact on regional relations


Divisive narratives:

49-75 % of young women and men are concerned about fake news and conspiracy theories


Outward migration:

An average of 52% of youth say that they see themselves living abroad in 10 years


Youth perceptions on peace in the Western Balkans.


For the UN, all references to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).  

For RYCO, this designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with Security Council Resolution 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.