Reducing poverty and social exclusion in the Republic of Macedonia by better use and strengthening of the human and material resources, improve the living conditions, the working conditions and the social conditions for all citizens, systemic and institutional synergy with a view of faster development, higher standard, better quality life and development of the mechanisms for social inclusion of the vulnerable categories of people in a local context.
The aspirations, the measures, and the activities in the strategy focus on achieving the main strategic goal, adapting the policies in certain areas related to inclusive growth. They are concentrated in the following areas:
1. Employment and strengthening of entrepreneurship
3. Social and child protection and building a new social model
4. Promotion of health protection and long term care
5. Transport, communications and housing
6. Activation and strengthening the local authorities
7. Support of vulnerable groups
The revised National Strategy 2010 – 2020 presents the vision and the goals, as well as the principles that will underpin its implementation. It emphasizes the areas which will be harmonized with the European Union Growth and Development Strategy to 2020. The National Strategy proposes measures, activities, and solutions that lead to social inclusion and poverty reduction, subdivided into areas, for certain vulnerable groups and for the different levels of government. In addition, the strategy provides an overview for implementation of the National Strategy and the assumptions for the possible risks in that process. Finally, it provides recommendations and conclusions as well as monitoring indicators.
The Social Inclusion as a process of integration of individuals in society has become an unavoidable segment in the set of interrelated concepts which form a part of public policy in the country and which are constantly upgraded and improved. The social inclusion and the active measures it produces strengthen the link between the individual and society and promote the development and cohesion of society.
The National Strategy emphasizes the need to build a modern concept of dealing with socially excluded persons and form a new social model which primarily focuses of the person and the personality, but also respects and strives to resolve the causes for exclusion such as membership in certain groups, diagnosis, disability or any other basis for social exclusion of the citizen.
The process of determining social inclusion policies starts with the nationally defined goals and needs, as well as the need to follow and comply with the international indicators and the EU indicators for measuring social exclusion. Defining the scope of the measures based on defined criteria and operationalized actions determine the method of implementing social inclusion policies and adapting to the needs and the demands of the citizens.
Pursuant to the National Strategy, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia will review and adopt the annual operational plans and measures, as well as the deadlines for implementation and implementing agents, which will determine the time schedule for implementing the Strategy itself.
In order to see the effects from the implementation of the annual plan and the National Strategy, regular reports will be prepared. These reports will reflect the results of the implemented operational plans and they will be adopted by the Government.
The basic National Strategy started from the measures and the opportunities for a universal access to social services and benefits.
The revised National Strategy 2010-2020 incorporates the specifics of certain target vulnerable groups, presents their needs and demands based both on national level differences as well as municipal level differences.
Thus, social inclusion policy is formed both on the basis of the need and the opportunity of every citizen finding himself/herself at risk of social exclusion, as well as on the needs of specific vulnerable groups which shall be subject to proposed special measures harmonized with and corresponding to the previously proposed measures and activities.
The National Strategy was developed through a participatory and transparent process which was essential to providing the substance for the proposals stipulated in the Strategy. The implementation of a broad consultation proves with the participation of numerous responsible authorities and institutions, as well as associations of citizens and social partners dealing with various issues from the area of social inclusion, provided for their contribution and impact on the formation of the strategic needs and harmonizing the social processes. In addition, the participation of representatives from line ministries, authorities, organizations and institutions, as well as the local self-governments, the nongovernmental sector and the social partners facilitated an egalitarian creation of the strategy and the policies, which is a very important indicator of the active mobilization of resources and their inclusion in the implementation of the measures and activities envisioned in the National Strategy.
All suggestions and proposals have been appropriately incorporated in the National Strategy with the intention of providing a contribution to the social inclusion of vulnerable groups in society.
Section 1 Introduction
The National Strategy for Reduction of Poverty and Social Exclusion in the Republic of Macedonia for the Period 2010 – 2020(revised) is a result from the strategic process implemented in accordance with the Program of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia. The implementation of the strategic process helped determine the goals and the most important priorities, define programs, projects, measures and activities to achieve the priorities, and the identify the funds and resources necessary to achieve the priorities.
The development of the National Strategy starts from the defined priorities and policies, but also from the expectations that should be fulfilled and the measures that need to be undertaken in order to achieve the desired objectives.
Therefore, the existing documents, laws, strategies, plans, analyses, information and other sources that provide a picture of the past processes and solutions in this area have been taken into consideration, as well as the obligations arising from the international ratified documents and acts.
The National Strategy presents the situations and the systemic bases that exist in the different areas and which should be changed and improved.
Therefore, the strategy proposes measures, activities and solutions that lead to social inclusion and reduction of poverty. The proposed text synthetizes the findings of a consultative proposes implemented on several levels.
During the preparatory period, the needs and the reasons for revising the National Strategy were identified, as well as the effects of the various influences effectuated in an effort to reduce poverty and strengthen the social cohesion within the society.
Based on a prepared plan and a submitted questionnaire, numerous contacts, meetings and conversations have been made with representatives from 9 responsible ministries, two secretariats and three institutions included in the National Coordination Mechanism for Monitoring the National Strategy. Their proposals and suggestions have been appropriately incorporated in the Strategy.
Several workshops have been held on municipal level, with representatives from various structures, organizations and institutions. At these meetings, the participants had the opportunity to acquire firsthand information about the needs of specific municipalities regarding the reduction of poverty and social exclusion. These findings are presented in Section 6 of this strategy. Section 6 also expresses the need to activate the local governments in suppressing poverty and social exclusion, especially with respect to phenomena manifested in the local communities.
The revision also aims at harmonizing the priorities and goals of the National Strategy with the Strategy of the European Union for Growth and Development until 2020 in the area of fast, sustainable and inclusive growth. The priorities determined by the European Union Development Strategy until 2020 have been appropriately incorporated in the revised National Strategy 2010 – 2020 in a manner that will speed up the processes of social cohesion and will influence the efforts to attain full membership of the Republic of Macedonia in the European Union. In addition to the universal approach there is also a need to include different specificities of the vulnerable groups which requires details of the needs and the demands with a view of reducing the poverty and social inclusion, which is provided in section seven of this strategy. Namely, the measures and the activities, as a universal form of access to the social services and benefits for all the citizens, have been retained and the specifics of specific target vulnerable groups have been added. The strategy also presents their needs and demands based on national level differences, as well as on local level differences.
The strategy also considers the role and the need to strengthen the local community i.e. activate the municipalities to resolve the issue of social inclusion of the citizens.
The formation of a new model for resolving the problems giving rise to the social exclusion of the citizens presupposes the creation of an environment that accepts all people and provides all of them with equal chances and opportunities to express their potential, knowledge, capabilities and skills. For the socially vulnerable groups and communities like the Roma, the strategy takes into account the documents and the strategies enacted to resolve the specific problems facing these groups and they are complementary and strengthened by the measures and provisions of this strategy.
On the other hand, the National Strategy is a multi-sector strategy with a programmatic character and therefore the revision process requires a broader consultation process. This should ensure a broader support of the implementation of the solution of the National Strategy.
In addition, there is a need to consider the institutional dedication and operability of the National Coordination Mechanism with a view of achieving the goals of the National Strategy. Namely, the National Coordinating Mechanism for Reduction of Poverty and Social Inclusion in the Republic of Macedonia was formed with a decision of the Government of Macedonia with a specified term of office and responsibilities. It aims at providingadministrative, financial and technical assistance to the implementation of the National Strategy.
The revised National Strategy does not have the section “Current Situation Analysis” considering that this is a very large section (more than 20 pages) that was presented in the basic text of the National Strategy and in the different analyses conducted for the purposes of this strategy and other macroeconomic documents. This was done in order to avoid unnecessary repetition of overviews of data which are largely known, processed, used and presented (such as demographic characteristic and situations, economic activity, unemployment, labor market characteristics, data on poverty, healthcare, education and social protection, transport, communications and housing, child protection and gender aspects). For each of the above areas, the revised National Strategy presents the changes implemented between the enactment of the National Strategy and its revision. The intension is to provide a concentrated text, focused on the activation and realization of the measures and activities comprehensively presented in the revised National Strategy and which influence the achievement of the strategic goal: reduction of poverty and social inclusion in the Republic of Macedonia.
The issue of gender equality and perspective is addressed in the National Strategy and is incorporated in the different fields, as well as in the guidelines for future activities and measures. The objective is to improve the position of women and, in the areas of social risk, to undertake measures for protection, reduction of poverty and the level of social exclusion of women.
In addition, in order to present the complexity and the comprehensiveness of the National Strategy, especially with respect to the active measures and policies, the document presents all the sections regardless of whether they change or remain the same, and the new measures and activities have been added to the text. Thus the final product is a consistent revised National Strategy for the Period 2010 - 2020.