The Government of Serbia and UN Agencies Join Forces with Support of the Spanish-funded MDG Achievement Fund to Develop Rural Tourism in Serbia
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Regional Development in the Government of Serbia, Mr. Mladjan Dinkic, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, Mr. Saša Dragin, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Serbia, Mr. William Infante and the Ambassador of Spain in Serbia, H.E. Mr. Iñigo De Palacio España, signed today the Joint Programme Document on Sustainable Tourism for Rural Development in Serbia.
UNDP Serbia news - Belgrade, 15 October 2009
The Programme will be jointly implemented by a team of specilized agencies of the United Nations with the Government of the Republic of Serbia. The Programme is funded by the Spanish MDG Achievement Fund in the amount of USD 4 million. The envisaged Programme duration is 2.5 years and will be implemented from October 2009 to April 2012.
The Programme activities will be carried out both at national and local levels. At the national level, the Programme will lead to the development of the National Rural Tourism Master-plan, National Rural Development Programme and guidance for public investments. At the local level, it will develop capacities of rural tourism entrepreneurs and of the local non-governmental organisations, whilst placing emphasis on developing quality standards, management skills and supporting Local Action Groups.
The Programme will also establish the Joint UN Fund for Sustainable Rural Tourism and promote targetted investment in support of rural tourism development through investment forums and outreach.
The Joint Programme activities will contribute to the achievement of national targets set out in the Millennium Development Goals in the Republic of Serbia, adopted by the Republic of Serbia in 2006. These include the reduction of poverty rates, which remain twice as high in rural areas (9.8%) than urban (4.3%). 85% of Serbia's territory, 55% of population and 41% of GDP come from rural areas. Roughly 75% of the rural population is engaged in subsistence agricultural production (75%), with only an estimated 20% producing for markets. While official unemployment is 18%, in many rural regions it approaches 25%. Per capita GDP in most rural regions is 70%-85% of the national average.
Joint Programme will be implemented by five specialized UN agencies – Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The national partners in this Joint Programme are the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management and the Tourism Organization of Serbia. In addition, the Programme will be implemented in partnership and close coordination with a number of other key stakeholders including the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, Ministry of Education, Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the Nature Protection Institute.
The Programme activities will contribute towards the development of legal and policy frameworks for supporting diversification of rural economy in Serbia through tourism and enhance linkages between local rural toursim and related support industries, whilst improving local stakeholders' capacities for delivering products and services in line with national strategies.
The Programme activities at local level will focus on the regions of Central Serbia, Eastern Serbia (Stara Planina), Lower Danube and South Banat.
About Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
In September 2000, building upon a decade of major United Nations conferences and summits, world leaders came together at United Nations Headquarters in New York to adopt the United Nations Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and setting out a series of time-bound targets - with a deadline of 2015 - that have become known as the Millennium Development Goals (<a s_oc="null" href="http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals">www.un.org/millenniumgoals</a>)
About MDG Achievement Fund
In December 2006, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Spain signed a far-reaching agreement establishing a new fund to accelerate efforts to reach the MDGs, and to support UN reform at the country level. The Spanish Government has committed more than USD 700 million to the MDG Achievement Fund (MDG-F), to be programmed between 2007 and end-2010. With this support, the Government of Spain is demonstrating its firm commitment to international development and to a strengthened multilateral system, and United Nations, in particular. The establishment of the Spain-UNDP MDG Achievement Fund is a landmark in this expanding institutional partnership.
The MDG-F will intervene in a number of thematic areas, including democratic governance, gender equality and women’s empowerment, basic social services, economic and private sector development, environment and climate change, culture and development and conflict prevention and peace building.
The Balkans will constitute a region of major attention for the MDG-F, which will support several projects in different countries of the region, with an estimated budget of more than USD 54 million. In this framework, witnessing the clear commitment of Spain to Serbia, this country will be one of the main beneficiaries of the projects of the MDG-F in the Balkans: three projects, with an estimated budget of more than $12 million, would be implemented in the areas of youth, employment and migration, conflict prevention and peace building, and development of the private sector.
To learn more about the Fund and the projects that it would support in Serbia, please visit <a s_oc="null" href="http://www.undp.org/mdgf"></a><a s_oc="null" href="http://www.undp.org/mdgf">www.undp.org/mdgf</a>
About National MDG Targets in Serbia
Having in mind that globally agreed MDGs need to be adjusted to specific citizens’ needs and problems, both at a national and at a local level, the MDG Task Force in Serbia prepared in the course of 2006 the MDG Monitoring Framework, whereby global targets and indicators, were tailored to the Serbian context and aligned with national priorities and strategies. The Monitoring Framework was adopted by the Serbian Government in March 2007, becoming the official MDG monitoring and evaluation tool for Serbia. It offers a set of goal specific targets and indicators that are to be achieved in Serbia by 2015. (<a s_oc="null" href="http://www.undp.org.rs/?event=public.mdgTargets">www.undp.org.rs</a>).