DEVINFO empowers local communities in Serbia
Belgrade, December 2012 – As part of a shared commitment to strengthen evidence-based policy making in Serbia, UNICEF and the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia (SORS) launched the new Municipal DevInfo in December. This database, containing 142 socio-economic indicators disaggregated by gender and other variables - for all 178 Serbian municipalities, enables insight and analysis of multiple and significant regional disparities and monitoring at the national level.
In order to improve data availability at the municipal level a municipal DevInfo database that will be updated by the SORS twice a year has been created. In addition, data for each municipality are also presented in the form of municipal profiles, i.e. documents containing tables and graphs showing data on population, economy, employment, education, health care and social welfare, justice administration, traffic and infrastructure.
“The database contains the most important indicators based on which we will be able to monitor the progress of our municipality – economic development, progress in the inclusion of vulnerable and marginalized children, relevance of actions undertaken for poverty reduction, etc. It is very easy for use and access. We have already begun to use the indicators and data for the revision of the municipality’s strategy on sustainable development”, says Mr Dejan Simic, Head of the Office for Local Economic Development in the municipality of Medvedja.
The data is available through an interactive web application that enables easy access through 3 clicks of a mouse. Municipalities and local institutions have welcomed the user friendliness of the application and are already using the data to inform their planning, budgeting and monitoring.
Ms Annika Milanovic of the municipal government in the south Serbian municipality of Surdulica said: “ This database is extremely useful for all municipal governments. It is easy for use and enables us to compare the level of our municipality’s development with the other ones in the country. This will help us see which areas we are lagging behind compared to others. So, we can contact those municipalities who have better results and learn from their good practices and experiences. It is also excellent that we can contact the Statistical Office directly and provide our inputs for the possible improvements of this database”.
The indicators in the municipal database have been selected through a consultative process that enabled representatives of municipalities, line ministries, data producers and users to come up to a consensus on what are the most needed data at the local level.
DevInfo has a long tradition in the Republic of Serbia. The first version of DevInfo technology, then called ChildInfo, was officially offered by UNICEF to the Republic of Serbia in 2004. The DevInfo task force was formed at the national level, with the aim to support database development and its use. The first database of 2004 was focused on the monitoring of National Plan of Action for Children (NPA) by the National Council for Child Rights and the Local Plans of Action for Children set in selected municipalities.
In 2006, after two years of direct support by UNICEF, DevInfo was declared as a tool of particular interest for the Republic of Serbia and therefore became part of the regular programme of the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia (SORS). A unit for social indicators and analysis was formed as part of the SORS Department for Social Standards and Indicators, who had undertaken the task of further development and maintenance of DevInfo database at the national level.
Since 2006, DevInfo has been used for policy planning, development and monitoring:
The database and Municipal Profiles application can be accessed in Serbian and English languages through the website of the Serbian Statistical Office at http://webrzs.stat.gov.rs/WebSite and on UNICEF Serbia website www.unicef.org/serbia
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