UNICEF supports Montenegro Social Protection System Assessment to reduce poverty
The assessment proposes a list of reforms agreed in nation-wide consultations led by UNICEF and the Ministry of Finance and Social Welfare to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the social protection system to respond to the needs of people
Podgorica, 28 May 2021 – Ensuring that all children fulfill their potential and realize their rights requires Montenegro to reduce child poverty and ensure that all children have access to quality education, health and protection from all forms of violence.
A key step to achieving this goal is the reform of the social protection system so that it supports more effectively the most vulnerable families all over the country with adequate cash support combined with a variety of services that will empower families.
For this reason, in consultation with various stakeholders, UNICEF has supported a 2-year analysis of the Social Protection System in Montenegro using the international methodology “CODI”. As a result, a roadmap of reforms has been presented today to the Steering Committee led by the Minister of Finance and Social Welfare Milojko Spajić.
This assessment identifies key gaps and strengths of the current social protection system and proposes a list of potential reforms to improve it. UNICEF will support the Ministry of Finance and Social Welfare to identify priority reforms for children and their families, ensuring a cost analysis, as well as to engage in direct consultations with families and communities.
UNICEF’s role is to protect and promote child rights, contributing directly to the inclusive, sustainable development of Montenegro. Investing in human capital and ensuring everyone is included in the country’s development is the foundation of any healthy economy. An effective and efficient social protection system is a necessary condition for equitable development.
Among other things, the assessment recognized the need to increase the number of social workers and make their work more field and people-oriented; to integrate all social protection information from the local and national level and establish one digital database of all beneficiaries; to strengthen cooperation between health, education, social and child protection services at all levels and to better regulate responsibilities for social protection between the municipal and national level; to increase financial value of the social aid to the vulnerable families; to improve monitoring and evaluation, including of beneficiaries’ views and needs; to make costing and financial feasibility assessments an integral part for decision-making on introducing new social protection programmes, ending or reforming the existing ones, etc. It is also clear that specific groups need more comprehensive support to address the challenges they face, including Roma, Egyptian, children with disabilities, etc.
This is just a beginning. We now know what needs to be improved. UNICEF stands ready to support the Government and other partners to implement priority reforms, ensure cost-benefit analysis of all policy proposal, and facilitate direct consultations with families to arrive at the most effective reforms for reducing poverty in Montenegro’s context.
The two-year assessment was conducted with UNICEF’s support by the Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI) and the CEED Consulting – EPRI previously supported a number of countries across the globe to strengthen their social protection systems.