The Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Decision on the Implementation of the Project „Support to Improve Social Inclusion in Serbia” at the Government session held on July 23, 2009, as well as on the establishment of the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit, within the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for European Integrations.
The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit shall provide assistance to the Deputy Prime Minister for European Integrations to coordinate, oversee and report on the social inclusion efforts of the Government. The project activities shall be financed by the Government and the Swiss Confederation, represented by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
The Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) implementation process was formally finalized on March 31, 2009. The Government has been planning to promote and manage the transfer to the EU-relevant social inclusion concept. The transfer from the poverty reduction concept to the social inclusion concept is guided by the commitment of the Government to achieve the European integrations process, as well as to harmonize its policies with the EU polices targeting a higher level of social cohesion and poverty reduction. Although the number of the poor population in the Republic of Serbia in 2002 – 2007 was reduced by half, more than 500,000 citizens still live below the absolute poverty line. An increase in the number of the poor population is expected as a result of the global financial crisis impact.
The funds earmarked for the Project shall be utilized to provide assistance to the Deputy Prime Minister for European Integrations to build capacities and processes conducive to effective social inclusion policy making and implementation at all levels. The initiative shall build on the experience, results and contacts established through the PRS implementation process. The processes to be developed shall build on the know-how and good practices of European countries, as well as on the experiences of the Governemnt of the Republic of Serbia gained during the development and implementation of national policies, including the relevant strategic documents, such as the National Program of Integration in the EU of the Republic of Serbia, the PRS, etc.