Sustainable development

Western Balkans

Labour markets in the Western Balkans suffer from chronically low employment and activity, as well as lengthy unemployment. High levels of youth unemployment, low labour force participation rates (especially among women, ethnic minorities, and vulnerable groups) and extensive informal sector employment are common to labour markets in this sub-region. These challenges pose a risk of social exclusion.

In response, UNDP and the International Labor Organization (ILO) have developed a joint programme to help get more people into the marketplace. The initiative provides a combination of well-aligned employment and social welfare services, tailor made to the specific individual needs of the unemployed. By identifying effective solutions to these labour issues, UNDP and ILO can introduce and expand the methods to other countries in the region.

Public servants in Montenegro brainstorm at a human-centred design workshop to make their public service more user-focused. Photo: Berkin Sener

Our goal is three-fold: creating more inclusive and efficient labour markets, promote innovative policies and to ensure peer-learning and support among countries. We:

  • Promote an individual case-management approach which requires collaborative work between public employment and social welfare service providers;
  • Encourage public agencies to include vulnerable groups into the labour force, including through new technologies; 
  • Promote dialogue, peer learning and production of policy papers, comparative reports and guidelines that will stimulate discussions in the area of unemployment and social protection.

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