Equal opportunities for all

 Photo: UNDP in Montenegro/ Milos Vujovic, Mediabox

Social exclusion in Montenegro predominantly affects vulnerable groups such as: poor and deprived, the long term unemployed, elderly, low-income pensioners, persons with disabilities, refugees and internally displaced persons, HIV/AIDS affected, Roma and Egyptian minorities, etc. Combating poverty and social exclusion takes more effective and adequate targeting of health, employment and social services.

The MONSTAT 2011 Poverty Analysis reveals that the average poverty rate is 9.3%, while for the northern region it is nearly three times higher than the poverty rate in the central and southern regions.

While the population in the north of the country has limited access to public services, women and the elderly have a considerably lower income. Unemployment rates in the North are two times greater than the national average, reflecting thus growing regional development disparities.

Due to persisting gender-based disadvantages, women are vulnerable and lack political and economic empowerment, including protection against family violence. There is only 17.2% of women in the National Parliament and 14% in local parliaments; only 3 out of 17 ministers are women, there is only 1 woman among 21 mayors, while female participation in entrepreneurship is below 10%.                              

The Government has adopted various social policies to tackle national development challenges. However, according to the European Commission’s 2012 Progress Report, there is a need for further work on national social inclusion, better coordination of the reform policies, and a need to monitor their development and implementation.


What we do

 Souvenir workshop for people with disabilities in Niksic. Photo: UNDP in Montenegro/ Milos Vujovic, Mediabox

Advancing social inclusion through improved institutional responsiveness and servicing for the most vulnerable, for all men and women to enjoy the quality life and reach their full potential.

Our goal is to help Montenegro overcome poverty, social exclusion and gender inequality, thus accelerating the country’s EU integration agenda. The UNDP`s main social inclusion interventions consist of:

  • Strengthening social policy, legislative and institutional framework;
  • Making social services better suited to the needs of the most vulnerable, more accessible at the local level, and in the course of time available in all the municipalities;
  • Social Card – Social Welfare Information System for improving capacities and performance of the social protection system and providing more effective and efficient social protection services;
  • Promoting cooperation between the national government and NGOs, especially on enabling access to services to vulnerable individuals;
  • Support to building of the institutional framework for disability determination, ensuring equal access to entitlements (social, health, pension, employment, war veterans) for persons with disabilities;
  • Advancing personal integrity, economic status and political representation of women;
  • Contributing towards keeping the HIV/AIDS prevalence below 1% through continued support to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy;
  • Supporting the displaced population and domicile Roma in obtaining personal identification documents;
  • Supporting the national evidence-based policy making through National Human Development Reports, researches, studies and needs assessments.
  • Facilitating transfer of knowledge and expertise about social care services among Western Balkan countries.


Key results

UNDP, with the financial support of the EU, has helped in setting-up of 23 local level social services: home assistance and day care centres for elderly, personal assistance and day care centres for persons with disabilities, SOS telephones for victims of domestic violence, family/youth counseling and services of rehabilitation and social reintegration of drug addicts. UNDP has also supported development of local soical inclusion plans: five municipalities have already adopted the plans, while in ten municipalities the plans are under development.

We developed flagship reports to promote evidence-based policy making: the 2005 and 2009 National Human Development Reports on diversities potential for development and on social exclusion in Montenegro, as well as the 2013 National Human Development Report on human capital of Montenegro.

The UNDP Gender Programme’s advocacy resulted in introduction of 30% of quota for women in the Election Law, and development of Action plan for political empowerment of women. Through capacity building initiatives, 270 police officers and social workers are now better skilled to implement the Law and the Protocol on family violence. 167 politicians improved their presentation skills through trainings, and 130 women are benefitting from the economic empowerment programs. UNDP also supported the development of the National Action Plan for Gender Equality 2012-2017, that fully integrates UN and EU principles and standards.

HIV programme included service provision through drop-in centres and outreach work for injecting drug users, sex workers, men who have sex with men, Roma and Egyptian youth, merchant marines and prisoners. More than 600 professionals were trained in different aspects of HIV response. During the first semester of 2013, more than 500 clients were counseled and tested for HIV, showing steady increase in the number of clients from most-at-risk populations. More than 400 clients were provided with methadone maintenance treatment. The concept of healthy life styles was introduced as an optional subject in high schools. In 2013, two Bio-behavioral Surveillance surveys among most-at-risk populations were conducted.

We have supported over 40% of domicile Roma in acquiring the necessary documentation to access social, employment and other services.


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