UNICEF first opened an office in Podgorica in 1993 to help the government cope with a large number of children refugees coming from neighboring republics of ex-Yugoslavia.
After the end of war in ex-Yugoslavia, a new wave of children refugees came from Kosovo in 1998-1999.
UNICEF worked with the responsible authorities to provide basic services for the survival and development of women and children refugees (e.g. food, access to health services, vaccinations, ensuring basic levels of hygiene and education in refugee camps, etc.).
UNICEF’s support over time has shifted from that of an emergency response to most recently supporting Montenegro in the dual process of nation building and EU accession.
With Montenegro’s independence in 2006, UNICEF opened the first Country Office in Montenegro. It is also then that the first Country Programme for Montenegro (2007-2011) was created.
Today, UNICEF’s emphasis is on supporting Montenegro’s children to be at the heart of the EU accession process. This is of crucial importance, because Montenegro's children of today are European citizens of tomorrow.
Montenegro is now an upper-middle-income country. The way UNICEF operates in such an environment is by supporting capacity building of national institutions to develop appropriate policies and implement them in order to bring positive, lasting and sustainable changes for all children.