National planning and budgeting

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

Strategies and plans for gender equality in Serbia are often inadequately financed or left out of government planning processes, thereby significantly undermining progress towards gender equality. To counter such deficiencies, gender-responsive budgeting comprehensively assesses gender gaps and identifies actions to close them.

UN Women in Serbia helps to ensure that gender equality is central to Serbia’s planning and budgeting for national development and EU accession. UN Women in Serbia also works to strengthen the institutional mechanisms that coordinate and drive the gender equality agenda.

UN Women in Serbia advocate for transparent and adequate public financing to strengthen gender equality mechanisms at all levels of government, and for gender-responsive budgets that channel sufficient resources to both women and men.

To hold governments accountable for achieving their gender equality objectives and mainstream gender into public processes, UN Women in Serbia promotes gender-responsive policymaking and budgeting at national, provincial, and local levels. Implementing gender responsive budgeting is closely related to public finance management reform in Serbia that began in 2015. A core component is including gender equality as an objective of the Budget System Law, which foresees gender responsive budgeting at all levels of government by 2024.

Serbia is prone to natural disasters whose devastating consequences often exacerbate gender inequality. Although adverse impacts of climate change are non-discriminatory and affect everyone, women and men may experience the effects of climate change differently, women are usually disproportionately and negatively affected. Women have limited resources, less access to justice, restricted mobility, and a more limited voice than men in shaping decisions and policy. On a more hopeful note, women’s gender roles and responsibilities create an opportunity to tap diverse and critical solutions to climate change challenges.

UN Women in Action in Serbia

In Serbia, UN Women cooperates with the Ministry of Finance, the Provincial Secretariat of Finance, and the Coordination Body for Gender Equality to foster gender responsive budgeting. In total, 42 national institutions and 26 institutions at all provincial levels applied gender-responsive budgeting in their budgets for 2021.

In 2020, UN Women in Serbia began the regional gender responsive budgeting project, Transformative Financing for Gender Equality towards more Transparent, Inclusive, and Accountable Governance in the Western Balkans, which seeks to integrate a gender perspective into every stage of local and national policy and budgetary processes. Stakeholders include The Ministry of Finance; the Provincial Secretariat of Finance; line ministries and provincial secretariats; the Coordination Body for Gender Equality and Gender Equality Mechanisms; and local self-government units.

In 2021, UN Women in Serbia will carry out the European Commission funded project Support to Priority Actions for Gender Equality in Serbia. Working closely with the Coordination Body for Gender Equality, the Ministry of European Integration, the EU Delegation in Serbia and other partner institutions and women's organizations, UN Women Serbia will build capacities of national and local gender mechanisms; support women’s initiatives for economic empowerment, entrepreneurship, and rural development; and ensure that women’s rights and gender are integrated into future EU programs.

To reduce the burden of unpaid care work on women, UN Women is implementing the British Embassy in Belgrade funded Redistribution of Unpaid Care Work, project. The project will:

  • Increase the visibility of unpaid care work as a valuable contribution to society;
  • Challenge social norms that promote unequal sharing of care work between women and men
  • Advocate for policies and investments to reduce and redistribute unpaid care work.

In addition, UN Women is strengthening the capacities of civil society organizations, local governments, public institutions, the Ministry of Environment, and other stakeholders to bring the gender dimension into climate change resilience and adaptation initiatives to ensure gender responsive planning.