4.3 Strategy for the social inclusion of young people
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There is no specific national strategy for the 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 2023–2030 (Strategija za mlade 2023–2030),
- the Strategy for the Social Inclusion of Roma in the Republic of Serbia 2022–2030 (Strategija socijalnog uključivanja Roma i Romkinja za period 2022–2030).
The National Youth Strategy 2023–2030 was adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia on 26 January 2023. More information about the Strategy can be found in Chapter 1/1.3 National Youth Strategy.
The Strategy for the Social Inclusion of Roma in the Republic of Serbia 2022–2030 was adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia on 03 February 2022.
Additionally, the following strategies also serve as important guidelines for overall social inclusion of young people:
- The Social Protection Development Strategy (Strategija razvoja socijalne zaštite), a leading document for reform and establishment of an effective system of social protection, was adopted in 2005. The process of drafting a new strategy for social protection started in 2018;
- The National Strategy for Social Housing (Nacionalna strategija socijalnog stanovanja) covers the aspect of housing poverty and is complementary to the Social Protection Development Strategy, which does not tackle this topic. The Strategy was adopted in 2012;
- The Strategy for Improving the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the Republic of Serbia 2020–2024 (Strategija unapređenja položaja osoba sa invaliditetom u Republici Srbiji);
- The National Strategy for Gender Equality 2021–2030 (Nacionalna strategija za poboljšanje položaja žena i unapređivanje rodne ravnopravnosti).
The National Youth Strategy 2023–2030
This document recognises vulnerable groups of young people as groups at risk of social exclusion and poverty, including young people with disabilities, Roma, LGBT+ youth, young people from NEET group, those living in rural areas, young refugees and asylum seekers, etc. Furthermore, the Strategy specifies that young people in Serbia face higher risk of poverty and social exclusion than the general population.
The Strategy defines 5 specific strategic goals concerning standardisation of youth work, building youth policy capacities on the local level, youth participation, equal opportunities and health, safety and wellbeing (See Youth Wiki/Serbia 1.3 National Youth Strategy). Since the Strategy prioritises efforts to reduce discrimination, increase social cohesion and provide equal opportunities to all young people, pursuing the 5 aforementioned goals contributes to social inclusion, and all of them entail special support for vulnerable groups.
In addition, Measure 5.5 of the Strategy is aimed at programmes, projects and activities that directly contribute to improving the social inclusion of young people. The implementation of this measure will likely lead to greater inclusion of vulnerable groups of young people in society and their equal participation in various aspects of social life. Special attention in youth work and in the use of local youth services will be paid to young people at risk of social exclusion and those in the alternative care system.
The Strategy for the Social Inclusion of Roma in the Republic of Serbia 2022–2030
The main goal of the Strategy is to improve the quality of life of Roma in the Republic of Serbia, to be achieved through respecting human and minority rights, eliminating discrimination and antigypsyism, as a form of racism, and ensuring greater social inclusion across all segments of the society.
The document covers the followingpriority areas:
- Fight against antigypsyism, as a form of racism, and discrimination
- Poverty and social exclusion
- Social protection
The Strategy targets the whole Roma population (2.1% of the overall population in Serbia), which is described as relatively young compared to the general population, i.e. there is a large proportion of young Roma people.
The Regional Roma Survey in the Western Balkans, conducted in 2017, revealed that marginalised Roma in Serbia still face limited access to opportunities in all aspects of human development. According to the Survey, there is a large gap between Roma and their non-Roma neighbours in the Republic of Serbia, especially among young people. The chances of Roma boys and girls aged 18-24 being employed, educated or trained are almost two times lower (27%) than those of their non-Roma peers, which has lifelong implications. Therefore, the Strategy specifies measures in the field of education primarily targeting Roma youth. For example, Measure 3.4. refers to enhancing competencies of Roma students and adults that can enable access to the labour market and higher education by taking affirmative measures in secondary and higher education, and to reducing the dropout rate.
Top-level authorities responsible for the implementation, coordination and monitoring of the National Youth Strategy 2023–2030 and the social inclusion of youth in specific, are the Ministry of Tourism and Youth and the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veterans, and Social Affairs.
Top-level authorities responsible for the preparation and implementation of the Strategy for the Social Inclusion of Roma in the Republic of Serbia 2022–2030 are the Coordination Body for Improving the Status and Social Inclusion of Roma and Monitoring the Implementation of the Strategy for the Social Inclusion of Roma in the Republic of Serbia, the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue and the line ministries in charge of the policies of interest defined through strategic measures.
There have not been any revisions or updates of the newly adopted National Youth Strategy 2023–2030 yet. It was preceded by the National Youth Strategy 2015–2025, which expired on the date of publishing the current National Youth Strategy (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 22/15). More information 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 covered the period 2016–2025. However it had to be reviewed and aligned with a number of national and international documents, which led to the publication of the new and revised strategy in 2022 (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 30/18).