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There is no specific national strategy on social inclusion of young people in Serbia.
However, there are two main official documents that refer to the social inclusion of young people:
- the National Youth Strategy 2015-2025 (Nacionalna strategija za mlade 2015-2025),
- the Strategy for Social Inclusion of Roma men and women in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2016-2025 (Strategija socijalnog uključivanja Roma i Romkinja za period 2016-2025), as well as the Action Plan for 2017-2018 (Akcioni plan za 2017-2018) for the implementation of the aforementioned strategy.
The National Youth Strategy was adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia on 27 February 2015 for the period 2015-2025. More about the Strategy can be found in Chapter 1/1.3 National Youth Strategy.
The Strategy for Social Inclusion of Roma men and women in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2016-2025 was adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia on 03 March 2016.
Additionally, following two strategies also serve as important guidelines for overall social inclusion of young people:
- Social Protection Development Strategy (Strategija razvoja socijalne zaštite) as a leading document for reform and establishment of effective system for social protection, was adopted in 2005. The process of preparation of a new strategy for the period 2019-2025 has started in 2018.
- National Strategy for Social Housing (Nacionalna strategija socijalnog stanovanja) represents an important addition to the Social Protection Development Strategy which does not cover the aspect of housing poverty that is covered in the National Strategy for Social Housing. The Strategy was adopted in 2012.
National Youth Strategy 2015-2025 – Chapter on Social Inclusion of Youth
One of the chapters of the National Youth Strategy 2015-2025 refers to the Social Inclusion of Youth. It recognizes that the youth is exposed to an above average poverty risk (27.3%). This is a consequence of high youth unemployment rate, i.e. a large number of young people who are not employed, do not go to school nor are getting any professional training in the official system of training. The Strategy identifies the categories of socially vulnerable youth, besides the NEET:
- young people with disabilities,
- LGBT population,
- youth without parental care,
- young Roma, and other.
The Strategy predicts a range of measures aiming to ensure their optimal social inclusion.
Main strategic goal of the Strategy, with regards to social inclusion, is to enhance support for the social inclusion of young people at risk of social exclusion. This goal was defined in line with the recognized problems that refer to the poorly tailored support for young people from different institutions and agencies, as well as to the lack of adequate services and programmes to prevent the risk of social exclusion.
The Strategy for Social Inclusion of Roma men and women 2016-2025
The basic goals of the Strategy are the reduction of poverty and suppression of discrimination against Roma men and women. The Strategy aims to systematically and comprehensively improve the social inclusion of Roma men and women, both at the national and at the local level. This should be done by creating conditions for full access to the realization of human rights of Roma nationality persons.
The document covers five priority areas:
- health and
- social protection.
Specific target groups of this strategy divided by age structure are:
- 47.2% are adults,
- 31.1% are elderly and children,
- 21.7% are young people.
It is important to emphasize that children under 17 make up 27.6% of the beneficiaries of all social work centres. They, together with the youth (18-26 years), represent a total of 37.3% of all beneficiaries of centres for social work. They are thus the second largest user group in the centres.
Furthermore, findings from 2014 suggest that the involvement of children and young people from the Roma community in the system of education is unsatisfactory, particularly in secondary and higher education. Thus, the Action Plan 2017-2018 was mainly focused on inclusion of Roma in elementary and secondary education, as well as on prevention of discrimination in schools.Responsible authority
The top-level authority responsible for the implementation, coordination and monitoring of the National Youth Strategy, with regards to social inclusion of youth, are the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veterans, and Social Affairs.
One evidence-based evaluation of the implementation of the National Youth Strategy has been conducted for the period 2015/2017. The results can be found in Chapter 1/1.3 National Youth Strategy/Responsible authority for the implementation of the youth strategy.
Summary assessment of the degree of fulfilment of the specific objectives regarding to social inclusion show that less than a half of the planned activities have been realized:
The top-level authorities responsible for the preparation and implementation of the Strategy for Social Inclusion of Roma men and women 2016-2025 are the following:
- the Serbian Government’s Council for the Improvement of Roma Status and for Implementation of the Decade of Roma Inclusion (Savet za unapređenje položaja Roma i sprovođenje Dekade uključivanja Roma),
- the Office for Human and Minority Rights, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction (Kancelarija za ljudska i manjinska prava),
- the line ministries in charge of public policies of interest for the implementation of the defined strategic measures, and
- the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, who coordinates the work of state bodies, local self-government bodies and public enterprises concerned with the improvement of the status of Roma.
Furthermore, the Government of the Republic of Serbia established the Coordination Body for Monitoring the Implementation of the Strategy. The Coordinating Body is headed by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure.Revisions/updates
The National Youth Strategy 2015-2025 was preceded by the National Youth Strategy 2011-2014 which expired on the date of publishing the National Youth Strategy 2015-2025 (Official Gazette of the RS, no. 55/8). More can be found in Chapter 1/1.3 National Youth Strategy/ Revisions/updates.
The previous strategy for improving the position of Roma in the Republic of Serbia was for the period 2009-2015. It covered the same areas as the currently active strategy (education, housing, employment, health and social protection). Given the fact that the main obstacles to the socio-economic inclusion of Roma men and women have not been eliminated by the implementation of the previous Strategy, the newly developed Strategy aims to solve existing issues through more detailed and tailormade approach.