Decreasing population is one of the biggest challenges that the Serbian society is facing. According to available data, Serbia annually loses more than 30,000 people due to migration and lack of newborns.
In December 2016, the Government of the Republic of Serbia established a Population Policy Council, composed of nine different minsters, representatives of the Commissariat for Refugees, Serbian Academy of Science and Arts, National Statistical Bureau, and Centre for Demography of the Institute of Social Sciences. Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic is chairing the Council, which will propose different measures and policies for stimulating birth rate in Serbia and improving overall population policies in Serbia.
Back in 2008, the Government adopted a Pronatalism Strategy, stipulating the goal of reaching a “total cohort fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman”, while the current rate in Serbia is 1.5. The document outlined a comprehensive programme, but it remained a declaration and only a few of the policy recommendations were adopted in practice.
The Pronatalism Strategy contains 8 directions and about 70 different measures. The goals of the strategy are the following:
- Reduction of economic costs of childrearing;
- Reconciliation of working life and parenting;
- Alleviation in the psychological costs of parenting;
- Promotion of reproductive health of adolescents;
- Fight against infertility;
- Towards healthy motherhood;
- Education on population policy;
- Activation of local self-governments.
Intervention Logic +
Minister without Portfolio Slavica Djukic Dejanovic in charge of Demography and Population Policy has been in contact with the Centre for Demography of the Institute of Social Sciences, as the most relevant and credible actor who could provide the Minister, her Cabinet, and the Population Policy Council with relevant research input. PERFORM was approached to support and facilitate this process, i.e. the systemic feeding of research results to the Serbian Government related to the demography and population.
PERFORM is supporting the Cabinet of the Minister without Portfolio in charge of Demography and Population Policy in organising four one-day workshops on issues related to the population policy. The objective is to foster a stronger link between policy makers and demographers, and to improve evidence-based population policy actions.
PERFORM will support the Centre for Demography with the group of researchers from other institutes/faculties/academy in providing the research results to the Population Policy Council. The Centre for Demography will run a qualitative research and collect data that can serve in updating the Population Strategy from 2008 that needs revision.
Expected Results +
Within this project, the cooperation between the Center for Demographic Research of the Institute of Social Sciences and the Minister without portfolio in charge of Demography and Population Policy will become more institutionalised and systematic. It will serve as a best practice model for other ministries and governmental agencies that will learn about the importance and benefits of taking into account researcher data when writing public policies.
Next steps to expand systemic change +
Intervention aims at creating conditions for increased and improved contribution of the Social Science Research in the processes and the socio-economic reforms in Serbia. It will contribute to creating systemic linkages between a number of research institutes/faculties and ministries/government institutions. This intervention will enable creating a new model (prototype) for contribution of research results to the policy debate on top priority issues for the Serbian society. The Population Policy Council should ensure uptake of contribution from the social science researchers and integration of their research results into the update of the Strategy on Population Policy and creation of new policies, laws and bylaws and other strategic documents in this field.