New approaches to tap talent and tackle depopulation
Serbia has one of the fastest declining populations in the world. At the present rate, by 2100, it is estimated that the country's population will drop by a quarter - leading to a smaller work force, a shrinking tax base and an ageing population. Tackling this issue has historically prompted fertility policies that provide financial incentives for families to have more children. But when children grow up, they may still leave. That is why UNDP is working through a radically different approach to address this complex challenge.
UNDP is supporting Serbia to reframe depopulation beyond the issues of migration and fertility, proactively adapting to the new demographic reality. Applying the Finnish Innovation Fund's studio approach, UNDP brought together global experts in demography, ageing, migration, and economics to craft a portfolio of integrated solutions in January 2020. The goals include developing a ‘Global Serbia' that connects with its sizeable diaspora, establishing a 22nd century education for future work, and engaging Serbians 50 years and older as contributors rather than as social and economic burdens. UNDP is now creating a fund and designing an 'architecture of solutions', in partnership with others, to help operationalise these suggestions at entry points identified by the UNDP Accelerator Lab. This new approach also helped UNDP to quickly respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, drawing on new partnerships in the tech community and leveraging lessons learned from the design of an integrated solutions portfolio.