Over the next decade, Serbia's population could decrease by 6.7 percent - the steepest decline in the Western Balkans, according to a study commissioned by UNDP. Tackling depopulation has
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.
The studio approach was developed by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra to help...
Paso de los Toros
In July 2019, Uruguay and the Finnish multinational UPM signed a US$3.3 billion agreement to build a greenfield eucalyptus pulp mill near the city of Paso de los Toros. This is the largest foreign direct investment in the country's history, estimated to bring thousands of new jobs and boost GDP. However, with such major investment comes the possibility of negative externalities - and lost opportunities. UNDP is supporting the country to leverage the momentum around the investment to lay out a more sustainable future, one that focuses on economic diversification, local knowledge and sound environmental policies.
Borrowing from the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and its studio approach, UNDP is supporting Uruguay to rethink its development track and pivot towards systemic change. In December 2019, UNDP deployed a team of eight people with expertise in strategic design, impact investment, social protection and climate economics, to devise a strategic vision for the country and identify a top 10 list of implementable opportunities – to shift the economic base from extractives to knowledge. UNDP is currently working with the new administration to implement the proposals. These include boosting citizen engagement around the investment through a co-design process, creating a fund for women's economic empowerment to help transform the country's economy ('Mujeres Innovadoras'), and designing an 'architecture of solutions' for children and youth to tackle urban inequalities in the areas impacted by the new pulp mill. Learn more about the proposals here.