Extending Social Protection to families in Serbia with enhanced shock- responsiveness

26 January 2023
sdg konferencija deyana
UNICEF Serbia/2023/Shubuckl

Thank you for joining us today for our discussion on poverty in Serbia. This marks the end of our project that we have jointly implemented over the past 4 months and it is both timely and relevant. We have a unique opportunity to address the issue in a more systematic way in the context of the current crisis we’re facing. Despite the successful mitigation by the Serbian Gov of the impact of COVID-19, the Ukraine crisis, being the second in a row, reminds us that our attention must remain on those who are most vulnerable.

Recently the data of the latest census was announced and it shows that Serbia population has decreased by almost half a million within the last 11 years. This means that there is a need of investing in every child as the cost of not investing today is very high for the society’s welfare. Poverty experienced in childhood has particularly severe effects on children’s development and work prospects. Individual impact is huge but neglecting children fails to build the human resources needed for sustained economic prosperity of the country.

Nowadays children need efficient social services to support their health and educational well-being, to prevent and protect from violence and neglect. But many children also require financial support in order to meet their basic needs, and to keep up with the modern demands of childhood, and in this way avoiding poverty.

In 2021, absolute child poverty was 10.6%. In 2022 child poverty figures are expected to show a further increase. Even in the most modest scenario, child poverty is expected to increase to 13.8%. This means  additional almost 28 000 children living below the absolute poverty line. The most affected are children living in large families, those in rural households and in Roma settlements.

The response to the crisis should be comprehensive social policy measures and budgets. There is a need to move away from blanket coverage to a poverty-targeted and child-focused approach. Both an increase in coverage and the adequacy of financial assistance programmes, including child allowance, are needed in order to meet the needs of children.

At the end I would like to thank the Government of Serbia for their partnership and commitment to this project. Together, we are demonstrating how important it is to invest in families and children. 

Media contacts

Jadranka Milanovic
Communication Officer
Tel: + 381 11 3602 104
Tel: +381 63 336 283


Prisutni smo u više od 190 zemalja i teritorija, a kroz sve što radimo promovišemo prava i dobrobit dece, posebno one koja su najugroženija i isključena. U potpunosti se finansiramo od dobrovoljnih priloga pojedinaca, država i vlada, fondacija i kompanija.

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