News - Tens of thousands across the country are joining to define the “Serbia We Want”
March 28, 2013
Belgrade, 28 March 2013 - People from across Serbia have joined the United Nations' effort to define the "Serbia We Want" and the "World We Want" after 2015. The worldwide consultation rolled out in Serbia in mid-January 2013, and people are sharing their hopes, dreams, opinions and concerns that will define Sustainable Development Goals. According to Borka Jeremic, who is spearheading the process in Serbia, "the UN has reached out through face to face interviews, focus groups and crowd sourcing platforms to engage as many people as possible - we have literally reached hundreds of thousands of people from across the country, including the elderly, people with disabilities, ethnic and other minorities - people whose voices must be heard."
The "Serbia that people want" is one with secure jobs, higher living standards and lower levels of poverty. It is one with more transparency, better enforced rule of law, and responsive institutions. Many want to restore a culture of tolerance, accountability and inclusiveness.
"Serbia is among the countries invited to shape the world by defining new Sustainable Development Goals that will guide development worldwide in the period after 2015. It is a middle income and pre-accession country with views that reflect the growing cohort of countries that are consolidating democracy and moving along the path of market -oriented economic reform"- said William Infante, UN Resident Coordinator.
"People in Serbia are aware of the gap between strategies and real needs. People want development strategies that are aligned with their needs and interests. People want to be involved in defining priorities that affect them and their local communities in the future - and they are grateful that their voices will finally be heard" - said Marija Babovic, SeCons Program Director.
To date, through social networks, over 250,000 people were reached and informed about the process. More than 10,000 have been directly included in the national consultation via web portal www.srbijakakvuzelim.rs , face-to-face interviews, focus groups and other outreach methods.
In 20 different events throughout Serbia 1,000 people participated in workshops and discussions, including children, youth, elderly from remote rural areas, trade unions, employers' associations, farmers, women's associations, Roma, migrants, refugees and internally displaced people, students, workers, unemployed, NGOs, experts and decision makers.
In order to further engage children in the process, the UN launched photo and drawing contests with the theme "Serbia We Want". A group of famous musicians contributed their talent and commitment by composing a song "Life is beautiful" and producing a music video.
When the consultation process is finished, and all responses are analyzed, a report will be produced and released in Serbia. This report will also be submitted to the UN headquarters in New York, together with reports from other countries where the consultation process is ongoing. Serbia's report will be an integral part of a global joint report that will be presented to the UN Secretary-General. The global report will include the voices of people in Serbia, and will be presented at the 68th UN General Assembly on the 23rd of September 2013 in New York.