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Serbia

Serbia

4. Social Inclusion

4.3 Strategy for the social inclusion of young people

Existence of a national strategy on social inclusion 

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 was adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia on 27 February 2015 for the period 2015-2025. The Draft of the Youth Strategy 2022-2030 was published in February 2022 and put up for public debate. More about the current Strategy can be found in Chapter 1/1.3 National Youth Strategy, whereas more about the forthcoming changes can be found in 1/1.9 Current debates and reforms.

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 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.
  • The Strategy for the Improvement of the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2020-2024.
  • The National Strategy for Gender Equality for the period 2021-2030.

Scope and contents 

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

  • education, 
  • housing, 
  • employment, 
  • 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. 

Two evidence-based evaluations of the implementation of the National Youth Strategy were conducted for the periods 2015-2017 and 2018-2020 (See Chapter 1/1.3 National Youth Strategy/Responsible authority for the implementation of the youth strategy). Additionally, the Report on the implementation of the NYS for the period 2015-2020 was published in 2021. According to the report, the implementation of measures and activities regarding social inclusion improved during 2019 and 2020 to a significant extent (See Table below). The results can be found in Chapter 1/1.3 National Youth Strategy/Responsible authority for the implementation of the youth strategy.

Percentage of completion2015-2017201820192020

STRATEGIC GOAL: Improved support to the social inclusion of young people from categories at risk of social exclusion

34%24.8%85.7%88.33%

Systemic preconditions were created for young people at risk of social exclusion to be adequately identified and supported in their inclusion in economic, social and cultural flows

22%88%80%83.33%

The availability and scope of prevention of social exclusion of young people at risk has increased

29%11%100%95.37%

The inclusion of young people at the risk of social exclusion, which are beneficiaries of local services and support programmes has increased

51%3.3%82.5%71.65%

Source: the Report on the implementation of the NYS 2015-2020

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.