Project Factsheet
Tools for » Support to National Efforts for the Promotion of Youth Employment and the Management of Migration
Project ID:00067209Description:MDGF-1929-H-SRB Suppt Promotio
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 31 Dec 2008
MDGF Youth Employ & Migrant
End Date*: 15 May 2012
Country: Serbia Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   Multiple


The transition to a market economy, years of conflict and economic downturn worsened the situation of many young people in Serbia. An estimate 500,000 youth left the country from 1991 to 2001 in search of better livelihood opportunities, while hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced persons exacerbated the pressure on the country’s labor market.  Youth employment statistics show lower employment (17% versus 41% for mature population, 2009 data) and much higher unemployment (41% versus 17% respectively). The JP was designed to contribute to the overall development of the country and to assist national institutions to deliver on the established policy objectives. The programme used a three-pronged strategy touching upon policies, institutions and programmes that concurred to the delivery of integrated employment and social services targeting disadvantaged youth exposed to migration.


The JP had a direct and measurable impact on ensuring a more prominent focus on youth employment in national strategic frameworks through embedding youth employment targets into the National Employment Strategy 2011-2020, the design and implementation of employment programmes targeting disadvantaged youth, and the development of by-laws for the 2011 Law on Social Protection. The JP has had a direct influence in the area of management of labour migration given the limited experience in this field in the country. As a result, through the Commissariat for Refugees, in its new role as secretariat to the coordination  body for migration monitoring and management (CPPM) and in consultation with the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development (MoERD), the Ministry of Relation and the Diaspora, and the Commissariat for Refugees priorities for labor migration, adequate policies were upon agreed and the white paper on a labor migration policy for Serbia was completed.


Support to improved collection an analysis of data on youth labor supply and demand, as well as on internal and international migration patterns and social protection, also contributed to inform policy making. The JP also enhanced policy coherence and coordination among government institutions, particularly between the MoERD and the National Employment Service (NES) on the one hand, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MoLSP) and the Centres for Social Work (CSW) on the other. In this respect the Joint programme was successful and showed good practice for the establishment of a model of integrated employment and social service delivery system, characterized by individualized and client-oriented assistance and case management approaches.


During the time of the implementation of the Joint Programme, the government allocated significant resources. In 2009 some € 66 million were earmarked for active labor market measures (60% increase over the previous year). Of the total funding available, some € 32 million were assigned to measures targeting youth, and over US$ 385,000 were assigned for the YEF. The total contribution of the government to the Joint Programme was nearly US$ 1.7 million.


Outcome 1:

Youth employment and migration policy objectives are included into national development frameworks.

Outcome achievements:

  • Six specific youth employment targets were mainstreamed in the National Employment Strategy based on the work of the JP. The 2012 National Employment Action Plan offers two examples of the JP’s impact: The design of the on-the-job training programme (Chapter VII of NEAP), which combines training in private companies with employment subsidies, is based on the lessons from the JP implementation. Also, the priority assigned to beneficiaries of social assistance for participation in active labor market programmes is a continuation of the work carried out by the JP between the CSW and the NES, as well as on research on activation services and welfare to work programmes.

  • A national advocacy campaign was undertaken with wide consultative process to all stakeholders, leading to the definition of youth employment priorities. As a result of the campaign, a MoC (Memorandum of Cooperation) was signed between the MoERD and the Ministry of Education en Entrepreneurship education for youth. The MoC was further developed into a protocol of Cooperation, involving numerous parties in the development of life-long entrepreneurial education in Serbia.

  • The greatest achievement of the migration component is an increase of visibility and measurability of migration flows and diversification of the concept of labor migration, as well as the use of migration indicators in strategic documents. The 2010 white paper towards developing a policy on labor migration in the republic of Serbia has made significant progress in providing the government with a reliable framework for policy and programme development. 

  • In terms of direct beneficiaries, more than 1,866 youth were involved in work placement programmes (32% women and 10% Roma ethnic minority), with youth with disabilities (7.2%) were offered a comprehensive programme.


Outcome 2:

National institutions develop integrated labour market and social services that meet employment and migration policy objectives targeting disadvantaged young women and men.

Outcome achievements:

  • The JP made strong progress in this area, as well as in improving the knowledge base at national and local level on integrated service delivery. It proved instrumental to: 1) the establishment of partnership agreements among public service providers; 2) the development of an integrated service delivery system and its operational procedures; 3) the building of capacity of NES and CSW staff in managing referrals; 4) the increase of coordination between the MoSLP and the MoERD and their decentralized structures. Noteworthy are the structure nature and long-term significance of the results achieved. Thanks to the JP, an institutional change was initiated in the delivery of coherent and coordinated policies. The MoERD considers the integrated service delivery experience of key importance as it provides, for the first time, a connection to the MoLSP at the operational level;

  • Some examples of these efforts include the support activities to 28 local policy councils that included up to the development of Guidelines for the development of local employment action plans. 22 municipalities were successful in accessing the financial resources from the government on competitive basis for the implementation of local employment initiatives.


Outcome 3:

Integrated employment programmes and social services targeting young returnees and other disadvantaged young women and men implemented in three target districts.

Outcome achievements:

  • The Youth Employment Fund (YEF) introduced a mechanism to improve on the delivery of youth employment and social inclusion policy objectives, similar to those used by the EU Social Fund. The JP was not able to reach the quantitative targets (of 3,000 disadvantaged youths) given the overall costs of the intervention. Nevertheless the measures offered through YEF improved the situation of the youth. About half of the participants to on-the-job training were able to find a job after completion of the programme, despite their low level of education. Programme designed for persons with disabilities yielded the largest share of employment at 97.6% due to the design (employment subsidy coupled with workplace and premises adaptation grant). The self-employment programme also yielded good results with 74.3% of respondents employed. Overall the employment interventions supported by the JP contributed to a significant decrease in the YEF target groups. The difference between the before and after in all target districts was no less than 5 percentage points. The total number of unemployed disadvantaged youth between 15-30 years of age in the five YEF regions dropped by 25% which indicates that interventions did leave a positive mark on the overall labor market situation of the disadvantaged youth in Serbia.

  • The YEF was also instrumental to: 1) decentralize programme design and implementation, with the involvement of the local communities; 2) increase the transparency and efficiency of employment and social service delivery; 3) demonstrate that effective partnerships can be built among central and local governance structures, the donor community and the private sector.

  • In addition through the work of Youth Organizations (YO) some 4,000 youth had access to information on education and employment opportunities. Some 600 youth received some form of direct service, including peer career information, 170 non-formal education sessions in key competencies, and 160 participated in voluntary programmes and activities.


Best Practices:

  • Joint programming, as a modality for complex interventions, is effective when underpinned by a robust  logic design, with clearly assigned responsibilities among participating UN agencies, and extensive involvement of national and local partners at all stages of the project cycle. 

  • Strategies that combine institutional capacity building with demonstration programmes and services are more effective in responding to the needs of young people at risk of social exclusion. 

  • The participatory approach adopted the constant involvement of stakeholders, partner institutions and other organizations as well as the subsequent extensive dialogue established amongst them yielded higher results in terms of impact and sustainability and improved policy coherence and coordination in the delivery of youth employment and social inclusion policy objectives. 

  • The piloting of the integrated service delivery system improved service delivery not only for disadvantaged youth, but for all CSW and NES beneficiaries through a more client-oriented delivery approach that cuts across social and employment services at both national and local level.


Lessons learned:

  • Policies aimed at improving youth employment prospects should be wide in scope, while programmes need to be targeted to those who are most at risk of permanent labour market exclusion. 

  • The JP experience has shown that clear targeting, out-reach practices and case management approaches are of the essence for the delivery of integrated services to the most vulnerable youth. The establishment of clear and transparent criteria for the selection of young men and women most in need of assistance allows segmenting service delivery and maximizing the effect of resources intensive treatment.

  •  Case management approaches are key to ensuring young clients receive all the support and services needed for reintegration into society

  •  If investing in youth, local communities need to invest in establishing and supporting local services and programmes for youth.


More details can be found in the final project report:

Recent Documents
Key Figures
Report by
Participating Organizations are required to submit final year-end expenditures by April 30 in the following year; Interim expenditure figures are submitted on a voluntary basis and therefore current year figures are not final until the year-end expenditures have been submitted.
Report by
All amounts in US$
View as Excel Print friendly format
Latest Vouchers
This screen shows payment vouchers for transfers made to Participating Organizations. Only payment vouchers from 1 January 2009 and onwards are shown.
All amounts in US$ View as Excel Print friendly format

If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in Serbia or the lead agency for the programme.

The person with GATEWAY access rights to upload and maintain documents for the programme:

Contact Us | Glossary | Scam alert | Information Disclosure Policy | Feedback