Serbia: Good targets, out of sight

Family in Blazevo, Novi Pazar,
Serbia. (Photo: UNDP)

Serbia’s lack of any long-term vision or commitment as well as any comprehensive development strategies, make it difficult to counter the negative impact of the global economic crisis and establish a solid basis for economic growth, including increased jobs and livelihoods. In this context, with weak democratic institutions and lacking the rule of law, that the MDGs are unlikely to be achieved by 2015. There is thus a strong need to change the current neoliberal economic development paradigm to one that will focus on achieving human development for all.

The latest phase of the Serbian transition to a market economy, started in 2001, was not modelled with a clear vision of achieving economic prosperity and improved livelihoods for all, but focused on the livelihoods of those with economic and political power. Due to the high level of corruption, the lack of effective economic and social policy, and the absence of long-term vision and multisectoral strategies, Serbia cannot counter the consequences of the economic crisis and establish a solid basis for economic growth, one that can increase employment, salaries, livelihoods and quality of life.

In this economic context, with weak democratic institutions and in the absence of the rule of law, it is clear that the MDGs cannot be achieved. Therefore there is a strong need for changing the current economic and development paradigm, and for creating the new one that will focus to achieving human development for all. There are a lot of initiatives with this respect coming from civil society, women’s groups, trade unions and independent experts, but their voices are still not heard by those who take decisions and shape policies.

One of the main challenges in tracking progress towards development goals is the existence of multiple strategies prepared according to sectorial criteria. The MDG Monitoring Framework takes into consideration priorities expressed in the only two multi-sectorial strategies, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), adopted by the Government in 2003, and the European Union Integration Strategy. The Republic of Serbia was granted the status of EU membership candidate country in March 2012, and issues of social inclusion and poverty reduction have become a mandatory component of EU integration policy. This fact has contributed to the need to establish a system for monitoring indicators of social inclusion and poverty reduction agreed at EU level.

Source: Social Watch Report 2013, National report from Serbia

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