UNDP in Serbia

Good governance





Our Good Governance cluster works towards making governance systems accountable, effective, and agile so that they can better cope with the complex challenges of the 21st century. Our projects help build, strengthen, or reform institutions. We emphasize transparency and public dialogue and integrate innovation. Our activities are grouped in four portfolios: 

  • Digital Innovation

  • Inclusive Political Processes and Civic Participation

  • Rule of Law and Public Administration Reform

  • Public Finance Management


Digital Innovation

Serbia has prioritized the ICT industry as a source of economic growth, and is investing substantial efforts into developing a functioning and citizen-oriented system of e-government. Digitalization is seen as “the most important catalyst of innovations, competitiveness and growth” for Serbia in the coming years. 

UNDP has been the key partner for delivering this agenda, including positioning Serbia regionally as a vanguard of innovative tech solutions. This entails supporting the Government to move from institution-focused to user-focused service design and delivery, leading to more streamlined, secure, easier to use and inclusive e-services. Our Digital Innovation portfolio currently includes interventions in the following areas: support to core digital governance capacities (including institutions, digital services, and strategic infrastructure); future of work and digital skills development (including the national IT retraining program, future skills in education, and multiple initiatives aimed at closing the digital divide for vulnerable groups); governance of emerging technology (including AI and biotech); data governance and strategy (including the national open data initiative); components of various other UNDP projects and pipeline where digital technology plays a strategic role, such as e-health, post-Covid recovery, etc.  

Inclusive Political Processes and Civic Participation

This portfolio supports legislative and executive institutions at the central and local levels to address gaps in three key areas of democratic governance: parliamentary reform, fundamental rights, and civic participation. The key partners overseeing these processes are the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, local assemblies, the Ministry for Public Administration and Local Self Government, the Ministry for Human and Minority rights and Social Dialogue, local self-governments and civil society organizations. A cross-cutting theme of the portfolio is EU accession. 

Project highlights:

  • Parliament

Improving the work of parliaments in Serbia is an integral part of the country’s European integration, as well as a constitutional obligation based on the principle of separation of powers.

The third project phase presents an upgrade on the mechanisms for oversight, public participation and transparency, grounded in the parliamentary development principles piloted in the first two project phases. It was designed to respond to the need for strengthening the legislative branches at the national and local levels, hence further strengthening the separation of powers in Serbia. 


  • Improving the dialogue in the National Assembly and enabling greater engagement of citizens and civil society organizations in the legislative process.

  • Supporting the local assemblies to be transparent in providing information to citizens and civil society, as well as to better fulfill their democratic role and be more sensitive to the needs of citizens.

  • Supporting the National and local Assemblies in organizing mobile committee sessions.

  • Introduction of innovative tools for engaging citizens in the work of assemblies (budget portals, ask your MP, e-parliaments).

  • Supporting the work of informal parliamentary groups (Focus Group for Sustainable Development Goals, GOPAC, Green Parliamentary Network, Women's Parliamentary Network, Parliamentary Network for Digital Security).

  • Improving the capacity of local ombudsperson, through expert support, trainings and donation of equipment. 

Public Administration Reform and Rule of Law

An effective, transparent and accountable public administration is the backbone of an open and responsive government. Through this portfolio, UNDP Serbia assists the Government to carry out the Public Administration Reform (PAR) Strategy, with support of international development partners. We have been working with the Ministry for Public Administration and Local Self-Government since 2015 on building institutional capacities for leading reforms. In human resource management and civil service reform, we assist the National Academy for Public Administration to shape a professional, uniformly trained civil service. 

In the area of rule of law, the portfolio delivers a range of projects supporting regional reconciliation and confidence-building, as well as mitigating the remaining consequences of conflict. We support the Ministry of Justice, the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor, the Commission on Missing Persons, and key non-state actors in transitional justice.

Public Finance Management

This portfolio has been actively supporting the Government of Serbia to improve the management of public resources for twenty years. 

Accountable and effective management of public finances is the basis for sustainable economic development and contributes to national macroeconomic stability. In line with its strategic priorities, we support the Government to achieve a sustainable budget with stable public debt relative to GDP, through better financial management and control, internal audit process and linking budget planning to government policies. Public Finance Management reform in Serbia is also key for the country’s EU accession negotiations. We work closely with the Government, development partners and other relevant stakeholders to strengthen the legal, strategic and institutional framework for public financial management in Serbia, in line with desired EU and international standards.

Project highlights:

1.  2018-2023 Support to Ministry of Finance in EU Accession – Phase 2 (co-financed by the Government of Serbia and UNDP; total budget: USD 3.290.000) Brief description: The overall objective of the project is to contribute to the further improvement of the capacities of the Ministry of Finance for the efficient coordination and management of economic reforms and accession negotiations as well as for fulfilling the economic and political criteria for EU membership. The project has provided expert support to the Ministry of Finance and its administrations in performing diagnostics for defining structural reform measures, conducting public consultation on the proposed ERP structural reform measures, and preparing the draft Economic Reform Program for the Periods 2019-2021, 2020-2022, 2021-2023 and will continue to provide the same support for the ERP 2022-2024 preparation cycle as part of Serbia’s obligations under Chapter 17. The project assessed institutional cooperation in planning, programming and preparation of projects financed by loans and supported the MoF in implementing the recommendations to address gaps in cooperation with other relevant public sector bodies and international financial institutions and the development of a mechanism for effective planning, programming and preparation of projects financed by loans. In order to support the mandate of the MoF in coordinating PFM and PIFC reforms in Serbia, the project supported the MoF in drafting the PFM RP for the period 2019-2021, preparing two reports on the implementation of the PFM Reform Program 2016-2020 (2015 – 2018 and 2015 –2019) and assessing the effects of the PIFC Strategy 2014-2020 and defining the PIFC agenda beyond 2020. A distinct line of support under the project aided the MoF in the harmonization of the Capital Investment Management methodology and drafting of secondary legislation as well as providing capacity building and training for the staff of the Capital Investment Management Unit and the Capital Investment Commission which is currently in progress. The project will further support the MoF in developing a methodology and dashboard with the associated indicators for monitoring Private Partnerships and Concessions and the upgrading of the legislative framework for the development of the capital market in Serbia.

2.    2019-2022: Support to CSO and Media in monitoring corruption and misuse of public funds (funded by SIDA; total budget: USD 437.358,83) Brief description: The project supports participating civil society organizations selected through an open call and journalists to improve their knowledge and capacities to monitor and report on corruption and misuse of public finances. The project provides trainings and mentoring on public finance management and investigating irregularities in public finances to journalists and provides support to CSOs and journalists form partnerships to inform the public on instances of irregularities in public institutions (coupling CSO watchdog function with investigative journalism)

3.    2019-2022: Support to SAI in automatising and improving the entire audit process (funded by SIDA; total budget: USD 842.673,38) Brief description: The current project builds on the previous support provided to the SAI in preparing a detailed flowchart of the current and desired audit processes, identifying requirements for the Audit Management System (AMS) and preparing the tender documentation for the development of a customised Audit Management Software, with full functionalities for conducting the entire audit process and integrating into the existing management system.  The main activities include the procurement and customisation of the AMS which will further strengthen external scrutiny over public finances, having a significant impact on increasing transparency and reinforcing accountability in the use of public funds.

4.    2019-2022: Support to LSGs on increasing the transparency in the management of public funds, (funded by SIDA; total budget: USD 463.086,73) Brief description: Public Budget Portals represent an innovative approach to strengthening transparency in public financial management at the local level which was successfully piloted in 10 municipalities across Serbia from 2017 to 2018 with SIDA support. The project proved to be a success. It achieved the basic objective in creating the means and tools for monitoring the budget cycle processes and contributed to raising the technical capacities of local assembly members by enabling them to gain a better understanding of the budget processes and financial management which in turn increased their sense of accountability to the citizens for the use of public resources in their local communities. The ultimate effect of the project intervention is a sense of empowerment that local municipal assembly members acquired throughout the implementation of the intervention. This project entails the replication of the previously implemented project in an additional 20 LSGs in Serbia which have been selected through an open call.

5.    2019-2022: Support for improving competition and applying the Best Value for Money Approach in Public Procurement (funded by SIDA; total budget: USD 191.662,00) Brief description: The current initiative represents a continuation of the support provided to the Public Procurement office in improving the tools and promoting the application of the MEAT criteria in public procurement to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and performance.  The project supports the PPO in introducing new specific models of tender documents which will facilitate the wider application of the MEAT criteria and training the Contracting Authorities on their use. The project will also conduct an analysis of the circumstances and factors hampering competition and support the PPO in defining a set of measures and recommendations for eradicating them. The project will also support the PPO in performing a mapping exercise across Serbia to determine which local self-governments could host centralized public procurement services so that they can be further supported through trainings and other capacity building and advisory services which will also be provided by the project.  

6.    2019-2022: Support to the CHU and PPO to increase the retention of Internal Auditors and Public Procurement Officer in the public sector (funded by SIDA; total budget: USD 302.554,52) Brief description:  In order to reverse the current negative trend and to prevent a further turnover of IAs and PPOs in the public sector whilst at the same time increasing their functional independence and professional integrity within the institutions, the project support the CHU and the Public Procurement Office in improving the status and position of IAs and PPOs by supporting the preparation and adoption of amendments to the current legislative framework (to improve their positions, salary grades and provide a competitive job package). The project also provides expert support to the CHU for addressing the  gaps in the applicable legislation in order to enhance the functional independence of internal auditors and to raise awareness of PFB managers of the role of IAs in order to mitigate the risks associated with the frequent assignment of IAs to deal with operational processes which are subsequently subject to their audits which is in direct collision with the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA).

7.    2019-2022: Support to Tax Administration in reducing tax evasion and increasing voluntary tax compliance (funded by SIDA; total budget: USD 397.104,39) Brief description: The project supports provides two lines of support to Serbian Tax Administration to meet the objectives of the Tax Administration Transformation Program and Chapter 16 requirement and to address IMF recommendations – (1) to prevent and detect tax evasion and (2) to stimulate voluntary taxpayer compliance in order to increase tax collection. The first line of support assists the Tax Police Department in its efforts to prevent and suppress the types of tax crimes that pose the greatest threat in tax collection in line with the IMF TADAT Recommendations and the Tax Administration Transformation Program. The project provides advisory support to the Tax Police on better defining their organizational structure and its mandate and authority and strengthening their intelligence activities and analytical processes (i.e., methods and types of data collection, data processing, database entry). Improving the organizational culture and image of Tax Administration is one of the most important elements in its transformation and instilling trust in Serbian citizens. The second line of support under the project is implemented in collaboration with the Swedish Tax Authorities due to their significant experience in this area and the positive impact of the Tax Reform implemented in the late 1980ies has on increasing tax collection in Sweden. The support provided under this component includes simplification of tax procedures operational procedures that are implemented for basic and auxiliary functions;  improving risk analysis in the framework of the control function, introducing e-tools, improving the means and methods for combatting fiscal fraud and international tax evasion, as well as the detection of tax offences; supporting the implementation of methodologies, procedures and practices in disclosure and investigations in the process before and after registration of VAT payers; establishing integrated management of staff performance through coordination of senior management and a staff retention plan;  and changing the business culture and perceptions of the public by improving internal and external communication and campaigning to raise awareness of taxpayers of the role of Tax Administration and how taxpayer money is spent.  

8.    2018-2023 Support for Improving Governance and Economic Planning at the Local Level for Accelerating the Implementation of SDGs in the Republic of Serbia (funded by the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic; total budget: USD 979.800) Brief description: The overall objective of the project is to contribute to the sustainable development of underdeveloped areas of Serbia by improving the business environment and supporting infrastructure growth, which will increase employability and social inclusion.  The first phase of the project (2018-2020) provided technical assistance to the five selected local self-governments for optimizing their organizational structures and improving overall functionality and effectiveness, preparing local development plans, and supporting them to build and strengthen their capacities to absorb external financial assistance. This was achieved by conducting detailed functions reviews of the participating LSGs and supporting the in addressing up to ten recommendations for improving their organizational functioning, conducting socio-economic assessments which identified the potentials and constraints for development which served as a basis for the preparation of their development plans, supported the preparation of their local development which were adopted at the end of 2019 and providing continuous training on PCM and EU PRAG for relevant staff of the local administrations in order to increase their absorption capacities for external financing for local development. The project set a precedence in the efforts to implement the new planning system with the adoption of the Law on the Planning System and gave an impetus to activities in this are including the preparation of secondary legislation and guidance. The supported the PPS and the SCTM in drafting Guidelines for the preparation of local development (which are currently applied by all LSGs in Serbia), and it was the first international organisation to support the implementation of the Law on Planning System at local level. The five LSGs supported under the project were the first LSGs in Serbia to prepare and adopt new Local Development Plans. Due to the success of the project, the donor decided to provide additional funding (2020-2022) for upscaling to another 6 LSGs while continuing to support the five LSGs from the first phase in preparing Medium Term Financial Plans. This approach has been adopted and is currently being implemented by GIZ and will serve as a basis for providing support in development planning to LSGs through the current EU EXCHANGE Program.