The Center for Democracy Foundation (CDF) organized a public debate on April 2, 2024, titled “Initiative for Adopting a Social Protection Strategy,” as part of the social pillar of the “SDGs for All” Platform.

For more than a decade, Serbia has been awaiting a comprehensive strategic document that would approach the reform of social policy and the development of the social protection system in a systemic, sustainable, and fiscally responsible manner. The purpose of the debate was to gather all relevant institutional and non-state actors in one place to initiate advocacy for the adoption of a Social Protection Strategy in the Republic of Serbia, based on social rights guaranteed to the citizens by the Constitution and prescribed by ratified international instruments.

The Initiative for Adopting a Social Protection Strategy was presented by Lidija Kuzmanov, an independent expert, and Sarita Bradaš, from the Center for Democracy Foundation. The discussion involved: Slađana Čabrić, Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs; Nina Mitić, Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue; Danijela Ristovski, Commissioner for the Protection of Equality; Dragan Stanojević, Institute for Sociological Research; Nađa Marković, Initiative for Economic and Social Rights – A11; Žarko Šunderić, Center for Social Policy; Ivana Savić Jovanović, Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society, Nataša Vučković, Center for Democracy Foundation; Ivona Gvozdenović, Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation, and others.

The debate emphasized that the Social Protection Strategy is necessary to enable all citizens of Serbia to fully and without restrictions realize their right to social protection. It called for the urgent initiation of a process to develop a new strategic document with accompanying action plan and funds for its implementation provided in the national budget. It was also stressed that the objectives, measures, and activities of the new strategic document and its accompanying action plan should be integrated into all planning documents of the Republic of Serbia, and a Government coordination body should be formed to monitor the implementation. At the debate the imminent formation of a working group for the development of the Social Protection Strategy was announced, which envisages the participation of civil society organizations.

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