Supporting the national and local government in creating policies to help implement child- and adolescent-relevant Sustainable Development Goals
The use of public resources for services for children and adolescents is a crucial indicator of government priorities since increased and more equitable spending is key to achieving all children’s rights. Ensuring public expenditure is child-focused significantly benefits policy-making, budget allocation and leveraging of domestic resources for further investments. This is why UNICEF strives to ensure improved budget adequacy and sustainability at both the national and local levels, essential for realizing child rights related to health, education and social protection.
Programme Area Goals
By 2025, national and local authorities will be equipped to plan for, generate, efficiently use and report upon sturdy and credible social sector budgets and to leverage domestic and external resources for equitable, child-focused investments to achieve child- and adolescent-relevant Sustainable Development Goals.
In that sense, following are the goals:
- Support programming with a careful assessment of readiness, investment requirements and commitment before implementation,
- Ensure that cross-sectoral approaches are embedded in cooperation frameworks,
- Governance mechanisms, particularly at local level, will be strengthened to take on new approaches to policy-making and problem-solving,
- Empower child budget monitoring and tracking systems,
- Explore the potential for public–private partnerships in delivering social services.
Our goal is that by 2025:
- There is evidence generated on budgets and their linkages to child outcomes to improve budget allocations/expenditure for children in the health, education and social protection sectors,
- 50 local self-governments have implemented plans and budgets reflecting local child priorities, including the priorities of the most vulnerable children, and involve participation of children, youth and their families,
- There is a monitoring and reporting system on national budget allocation and implementation status on early childhood development across sectors.
Substantial inequalities remain in society in Serbia despite ongoing reforms and economic growth. In 2019, 8.3 per cent of children in Serbia, or 106,000 children (0–18 years), were living in absolute poverty, which means they did not have the minimum level of living standards.
In the same year, 28.9 per cent of children and more than half of households with three or more dependent children were at risk of poverty. According to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) data, children in rural areas and Roma communities are among those more likely to experience poverty. Other disadvantaged groups are children with disabilities and refugee and migrant children.
Social protection is one of the main tools available to governments around the world to help lift families with children out of poverty.
However, public expenditure on social protection in Serbia has stagnated over the years. Moreover, public investments in children and spending in social sectors are either insufficient or are followed with inefficiencies that prevent access to quality services for families and children on the local level.
UNICEF works with the Government and civil society in Serbia to address child poverty in all its dimensions, improve social protection for children and families, and build the capacities of local governments to plan and deliver services. We support the Government to improve the utilization of public financial resources to deliver more equitable and sustainable social services and contribute to better results for children.
Our efforts include:
- Generating evidence on child poverty and the impact of social protection programmes on children and their families,
- Providing technical support to improve the adequacy and coverage of social protection programmes for children,
- Enhancing the responsiveness of social protection systems to natural disasters and other humanitarian emergencies,
- Ensuring that child-related policy commitments are better reflected in budget processes,
- Enhancing service delivery and coordination with local governments.