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.

Serbia is also prone to natural disasters whose devastating consequences often exacerbate gender inequality. Climate change which causes natural disasters is non-discriminatory and affects everyone, women and men, but due to differing social roles, they may experience the impacts of climate change differently, with women often disproportionately negatively affected. Women, compared to men, often have limited access to resources, less access to justice, limited mobility, and limited voice in shaping decisions and influencing policy. At the same time, gender roles and responsibilities generally ascribed to women create an opportunity for engagement as women bring diverse and critical solutions to climate change challenges from the knowledge and experience they hold.

UN Women works with the government and civil society organisations on gender mainstreaming of climate smart actions.

This work is carried out in cooperation with UNDP and through the Global Environment Facility funded project on the Climate smart urban development (CSUD).

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. In total, 33 institutions at national and 14 at provincial level applied gender-responsive budgeting in their budgets for 2018 through 65 programmes and 93 programme activities.

In March 2018, UN Women in Serbia started the implementation of a three-year Project “Support to Priority Actions for Gender Equality in Serbia”, the Gender Equality Facility Serbia, funded by the European Commission within the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) II. The Project supports the Government of the Republic of Serbia in effective implementation of the EU Gender Equality Acquis and the National Strategy for Gender Equality 2016-2020 by contributing to the specific measures of the National Action Plan for Gender Equality 2016-2018 and through support to women CSOs. UN Women Serbia is implementing the Project, in close cooperation 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. The main goal is to build capacities of national and local gender mechanisms, support women’s initiatives and their work in the area of economic empowerment, entrepreneurship and rural development and ensure that women’s rights and gender are mainstreamed through future EU programs and national strategic initiatives.

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.

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

In addition, UN Women is strengthening the capacities of CSOs, local self-governments, public institutions, the Ministry of environment and other stakeholders on the gender dimension of the climate change resilience and adaptation as well as on the key governing frameworks for gender responsive planning. In addition, UN Women Serbia organized a series of outreach events in 2018 across Serbia (10 in total) aimed at contributing to the stakeholders’ interest in submitting engendered applications to Open Data and Innovation Challenge of CSUD project.