Podgorica, 1 July 2022
Developed tools and new insights for the implementation of better social policy and new services tailored to the needs of beneficiaries are the main achievements of the UN project "Activate! Integrated social protection and employment in order to accelerate progress for young people in Montenegro ", which was concluded today at the final conference that took place in Podgorica.
The initiative, abbreviated as "Activate!", aims at activating young people who thrive on the margins of society – the unemployed, those outside the education system, as well as those who do not possess the skills necessary for employment in the 21st century. Its goal is to foster the creation of opportunities for this population by means of efficient social policies and improved social services.
Peter Lundberg, the UN Resident Coordinator in Montenegro, pointed out that initiatives like this are especially important in times of instability and crisis, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
"A key to accelerating development is through innovation, at all levels – in policies and service design. We hope that these new models will respond to the need and help decentralize cost-planning at all levels, so social protection systems can serve all people in need everywhere," Lundberg said.
Edina Dešić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, assessed that the program opened a significant space for the transformation of social policies.
"The results obtained from this project will be a significant input for the creation of social and child protection policies based on empirical evidence, in such a way that the support of the system is directed to those who really need it." Dešić emphasized.
Acting UNICEF Representative to Montenegro, Sabina Žunić, said that only through joint and cross-sectoral efforts and the establishment of a wide network of cooperation can we fight for every young person's right to live a dignified life.
"New approaches to empowering young people must include their greater participation in decision-making. Through this program, adolescents and young people are empowered, first of all, through socio-emotional skills workshops and support for their mental health. We will soon launch a web portal that will address these topics, because mental health is key to reaching all other goals in the lives of children and young people," Žunić said.
The project aimed at strengthening the social protection system has been implemented since November 2019 by UN agencies in Montenegro in cooperation with national partners – the Ministry of Finance and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Employment Agency of Montenegro, centers for social work and civil society organizations. The initiative is funded by the Joint SDG Fund, whose donors are member states of the United Nations, the European Union, international agencies, the private sector and individuals.