National planning and budgeting

Local women in Svrljig after UN Women training. Photo by UN Women/Jelena Sekulic
Photo: UN Women/Jelena Sekulic

Existing strategies and plans for gender equality in Serbia are often not backed up by adequate financing and are not a regular part of government institutions’ planning processes. This significantly undermines progress on gender equality. Gender-responsive budgeting represents a powerful tool which comprehensively assesses gender gaps and identifies actions to close them.

New provisions of the Budget System Law adopted in mid-December 2015 introduced gender-responsive budgeting as mandatory for all budget users at national, provincial and local level as of 2020. According to this, all programme budgets have to include gender goals and gender-sensitive indicators, which will be used to measure the contribution to gender equality.

UN Women in Serbia works to make gender equality central to planning and budgeting for national development and EU accession. We also work to strengthen the institutional mechanisms established to coordinate and drive forward the gender equality agenda. 

To combat a gap in the implementation of policies and strategies, we advocate for transparent and adequate public financing that strengthens gender equality mechanisms at all levels of government and for gender-responsive budgets that channel adequate resources to both women and men.

UN Women in Serbia promotes gender-responsive policy-making and budgeting at national, provincial and local levels and work to mainstream gender into public processes and prioritise efforts to hold governments accountable for achieving their gender equality objectives.

UN Women in Action in Serbia

In Serbia, programme budgeting was introduced for all budget users in 2015. UN Women cooperates with the Ministry of Finance and the Coordination Body for Gender Equality to enhance the capacity of the Ministry and other line ministries to integrate gender perspective in their budget guidelines and budget documents. We also support similar provincial level efforts, in partnership with the Provincial Secretariat for Economy, Employment and Gender Equality.

UN Women is also partnering with the Serbian Office for European Integration and the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit to provide pre-EU accession technical expertise to government counterparts to enhance their understanding and attention to gender equality issues in European integration processes.

UN Women provides support to selected south and south-west Serbia municipalities as part of the UNOPS-implemented European PROGRES project, funded by the European Union and the Government of Switzerland. UN Women is working towards the adoption of Local Action Plans for Gender Equality in 12 municipalities and the implementation of gender budgets initiatives in 5 municipalities.

The key partners for UN Women in strengthening gender-responsive national planning and budgeting processes on gender equality, but also in all of its work in Serbia, are the institutional mechanisms on gender equality. In February 2015, UN Women entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Coordination Body for Gender Equality, which was established in October 2014 by the Government of Serbia to coordinate national gender equality actions. Under the MoU, UN Women cooperates with the government to:

  • Develop the Coordination Body’s capacities;
  • Support key strategic goals with a focus on women’s economic empowerment;
  • Develop strategic and policy documents;
  • Support participatory dialogue with key stakeholders, including civil society organizations.

Under the MoU, UN Women is supporting the process of evaluation of the 5-year long National Strategy and Action Plan for Gender Equality and Improving the Status of Women 2010-2015 with the aim of serving as a basis for the development of new strategy and plan.

At the provincial level, UN Women since 2008 has supported the executive level gender mechanism at the Provincial Secretariat for Economy, Employment and Gender Equality. Current support focuses on strengthening the Secretariat’s leading role in introducing gender budgeting in all provincial government bodies and in implementing a provincial program to combat violence against women in the family.

Through the European PROGRES project and its predecessor project, UN Women has supported the capacity development of local Gender Equality Councils and local officials in 34 target municipalities of south and south-west Serbia. Current support focuses on increasing the Councils’ ability to initiate and lobby for local policies and measures to improve women’s position in their town or municipality.

WCNs raised awareness about municipal gender equality commitments and legal obligations of parliamentarians in gender mainstreaming of policies and laws among women and men councilors.