Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Public Hearing Held on “From Poverty to Sustainability: People at the Centre of Inclusive Development"

Public hearing on "From Poverty to Sustainability: People at the Centre of Inclusive Development" organised by the Poverty Reduction Committee was held today at the National Assembly House. The public hearing was held to commemorate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.


Opening the public hearing, Poverty Reduction Committee Chairperson Gordana Rajkov pointed out that last year as much as 9.2% of the Serbian population was found to be living below the absolute poverty line. Children, the elderly, disabled and the Roma are particularly susceptible to poverty risks. These population categories have poor access to institutions, authorities and the decision-making process which directly jeopardizes their human rights and dignity, stressed Rajkov.

The assembly was addressed by National Assembly Speaker Prof. Dr Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic, who expressed her pleasure at the fact that the National Assembly was discussing issues of importance for the lives of the citizens. The adopted anti-discriminatory laws are important for the anti-poverty efforts as the inclusion of all population categories is an inevitable element in these efforts. The National Assembly Speaker concluded it necessary that all relevant social elements take part and assume some responsibility in addressing poverty issues.

A representative of the Serbian Government’s Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Team, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Ministry of Economy and Regional Development and Ministry of Education and Science took part in the public hearing, presenting measures aimed at poverty reduction and development of inclusive society.

Presenting the Report from the First Annual Convention of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, the manager of the Serbian Government’s Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Team Zarko Sunderic stressed that the issue of poverty reduction and social exclusion ranks high on the European Union’s agenda. Poverty reduction is possible only through economic development, in cooperation between various state sectors and a combination of different measures, concluded Sunderic.

Ministry of Health representative Nebojsa Jokic stated that the Ministry’s long-term goal is to increase the life expectancy of Serbian citizens. To that end the Ministry focused on the necessary strategies and healthcare programmes intended for vulnerable population categories and aimed at preventing the most common illnesses among the Serbian citizens.

The representative of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy Ljubomir Pejakovic briefed the participants on the measures implemented by the Ministry to assist the citizens living below the absolute poverty line. The Social Welfare Law, in force since 1 April 2011, has raised the social benefit amounts and the number of beneficiaries.

Milena Prica, representative of the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development stressed that equal opportunities policy is in special focus in the 2011-2020 National Employment Strategy.

Danijela Vukovic, representative of the Ministry of Education and Science stated that inclusive education has been implemented since 2009 as envisaged by the umbrella Law on the Basis of the System of Education and Upbringing. That would eliminate the low education level and poverty among sensitive population categories, stated Vukovic.

In the ensuing debate the participants exchanged opinions and discussed ways to address poverty issues, emphasising the significant problem of poverty and exclusion among children.


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