UNICEF Business Advisory Board launches in Serbia
Using influence and responsible business practices, the business sector’s strength, knowledge, innovation, and communication channels can significantly contribute to greater well-being of children and families
Belgrade, 12 December 2019 — Today, UNICEF launched the Business Advisory Board, which will be working with the business community towards the implementation and upholding of children's rights through business.
According to a survey on UNICEF's U-Report platform, 68% of children and young people believe that the business sector should and can support young people in their future development, 75% of children see the workplace as a primary area of (negative) impact on children’s rights, while as many as 89% expect greater support from the business sector through internships, mentoring, volunteering, scholarships, and supporting student projects. The results clearly indicate that the business community can contribute a lot to the protection and improvement of children's rights.
The UNICEF Business Council’s mission is to work with prominent individuals, successful business people, to encourage the wider business community to become more engaged for children’s benefit. The Council members will offer UNICEF their time, skills, and business networks to support programmes and initiatives that improve and protect the rights of children in Serbia. The Council is made up of 13 members who will meet twice a year, participate in UNICEF Serbia initiatives throughout the year, and advocate upholding children’s rights in business among their business partners, associates, and the wider business community. Through their business experience, the members will provide guidelines for creating strategies for the business sector’s greater involvement in improving children’s situations and participate in promoting children's rights at business forums and interacting with the media in order to help raise awareness of the situation of children in Serbia and ways to protect and uphold their rights in a bigger capacity.
The UNICEF Business Council members in Serbia are: Vesna Bengin, BioSense Institut; Jelena Bulatović, Serbian Association of Managers; Marko Čadež, Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Robert Čoban, Color Press Group; Jelena Drakulić Petrović, Ringier Axel Spinger; Draginja Đurić, Banca Intesa; Nebojša Đurđević, Digital Serbia Initiative; Dragan Filipović, Generali insurance; Milana Jević Gledović, Delhaize Serbia; Neven Marinović, Smart Kolektiv; Mike Michel, Telenor; Jovana Milutinović, Nordeus; and Milica Soćanac, Nelt Grupa.
Membership in the Council is voluntary and limited to one year, after which it can be extended by mutual agreement.
The UNICEF Representative in Serbia Regina De Dominicis said “We need the business community's support to further improve and accelerate results for children. We share the same values with the members of the UNICEF Business Advisory Board and want to work together to create an even stronger impact for children's benefit. Our partnership will be accomplished through launching joint initiatives, business practices, advocacy, and applying innovation to support the most vulnerable age groups, from 0 to 6 years of age, as well as adolescents and young people. I am especially grateful to all members of the UNICEF Business Advisory Board in Serbia for demonstrating their commitment and motivation and offering ideas about immediate joint action already at the first meeting”, said the UNICEF Representative in Serbia.
For the first time, UNICEF Serbia included a comprehensive analysis of the business sector’s impact on children's rights in its new five-year programme cycle. The analysis examined the state of CSR aimed at children, the application of business principles and children's rights in Serbia, the views of children and young people on the business sector, and the analysis of business associations and private foundations. Furthermore, the eight economic sectors globally mapped by UNICEF as having a major impact on children were analysed for their impact on the economy, their CSR practices, their direct and indirect impact on children's rights throughout the value chain, potential risk to children and families and potential partnerships that create shared values for both children and business. The findings should serve as the starting point for the activities and initiatives of the newly launched UNICEF Business Advisory Board.
Children represent 17.3% of Serbia’s total population, and the most vulnerable include children aged 0–6 and 10–18. An estimated 7.8% of children in Serbia are poor, while the highest risk of poverty affects young people aged 18–24 (29.1%) as well as young people 18 and under, as much as 28.8%. The information further underlines the importance of working together to improve children’s and young people’s rights and to create an environment that will allow them to reach their potential.
UNICEF’s goal is to ensure that all children reach their full potential every day. Our vision for the future is a world where every child is healthy, safe, educated, cared for, and protected, a world where all children can reach their potential.
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