Country sees employment as first priority in alleviating poverty
In Serbia, the first official document to refer specifically to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), adopted by the Government in 2003. The multisectoral analysis presented in the PRSP makes reference to the Goals relevant to each sector (www.prsp.sr.gov.yu/engleski/index.jsp). In 2005, the Government of Serbia adopted a first MDG review, assessing progress and trends for each Goal (www.prsp.sr.gov.yu/engleski/mcr/index.jsp).
In 2006, the government set up a multisectoral task force to customize MDG targets and indicators to the special needs and problems of Serbian citizens. The task force was composed of representatives of ministries, the Republic Statistical Office, the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Implementation Focal Point, the European Union Integration Office, the Institute for Public Health, and the United Nations country team. Through a participatory process that brought in civil society organizations, professional associations, the business sector, and the media, the task force developed an MDG Monitoring Framework for Serbia, whereby targets and indicators are aligned with national priorities and already existing national strategies and legislation (MDG Monitoring Framework for Serbia).
One of the main challenges in Serbia in tracking progress towards developmental goals is the existence of multiple strategies prepared according to sectoral criteria. These are not harmonized; nor do they include cross-sectoral planning and synergies. The MDG Monitoring Framework was built on these strategies, but also establishes priorities and cross-sectoral links. It takes into consideration priorities expressed in the only two multi-sectoral strategies, the PRSP and the European Union Integration Strategy, which paves the way to monitor social inclusion as defined by the European Union. National priorities are expressed in terms of country-tailored targets (e.g. unemployment reduction as the main prerequisite for poverty alleviation), and also in terms of specific targets focused on vulnerable groups such as Roma and rural populations.
Most of the indicators selected to monitor the MDGs show positive trends compared to 2000, but no major achievements are registered among vulnerable groups. Programmes and projects seeking to improve the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of social services and to provide employment opportunities for the most vulnerable are aligned with the priorities listed in the MDG Monitoring Framework.
The recently published survey of living standards in Serbia revealed that the poverty rate in 2007 had been halved compared to that recorded in 2002 (www.statserb.sr.gov.yu), testifying to the Government's commitment to poverty eradication. On the other hand, it also showed continuous deepening of the education gaps between children from different socio-economic and ethnic groups, indicating the inadequacy of the current education system in Serbia to fully implement inclusive education. The National MDG Coordinator, therefore, proposed education-specific activities as a priority for 2008 and has asked UNDP and UNICEF to support targeted project development and implementation in this field.
Last updated September 2008
Disclaimer: While Serbia and Montenegro became two independent States on 3 June 2006, this factsheet contains aggregated statistics obtained prior to that date. Disaggregated statistics for the two States will soon become available.