More Investment in Children Crucial to Break Child Poverty Trends and Support Long-Term Prosperity in Serbia
Belgrade, 7 October 2022 - As a global community, including in Serbia, families and children are faced with unprecedented and compounding challenges in light of the multiple crises facing them in these difficult times. We know that a concerningly high number of children in Serbia lived in poverty prior to the current situation, but their wellbeing is further at risk with rising food and energy prices, and those children and families fleeing conflict and economic hardship will face additional challenges.
Against this backdrop, a declining trend in the number of child allowance recipients has already been observed in previous years. UNICEF, upon the request from the Government of Serbia, already developed options to improve means-tested cash benefit programs with a focus on children, with five different scenarios for adequacy improvement with related budget costs and four scenarios for coverage increase proposed.
These scenarios involve raising the Child Allowance to one-half or two-thirds of the amount attributed to children at the absolute or relative poverty line, with amounts differentiated by child age. The most adequate improvements would mean increasing the amount of child allowance for all children up to the amount of the relative poverty line for younger children and would require 8.3 billion dinars annually.
In this regard, UNICEF welcomes the strong proposal developed by the Fiscal Council for bold social policy reforms to reduce child poverty in the Republic of Serbia within the Council’s analysis “Proposed Social and Tax Policy Measures for Reducing Inequality and Poverty in the Republic of Serbia” dated September 29th, 2022. Significant optimism is brought forward by the Fiscal Council assessment that there is room in the 2023 budget to increase the child allowance by 14 billion dinars.
UNICEF stands ready to support the incoming Government in making targeted and value-based anti-poverty policy changes so all children can live their lives in dignity and contribute to a prosperous Serbia.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/serbia