Monitoring Implementation of Roma Policies at the National and Local Level in the Republic of Serbia

Belgrade, “Palata Srbija”, 2 Bulevar Mihajla Pupina, eastern entrance, I floor, hall 129


PANEL I: Conference opening and introductory speeches It is important that Roma polices are united; Roma community needs one language and one policy

  • IPA 2013 Programme has been granted to Serbia and it provides over EUR 170m for Serbia for the forthcoming period. Significant funds from this Programme have been envisaged for social development programme, support to Roma inclusion, including a Grant Scheme
  • Regarding the participation of the Roma in political life, Roma non-governmental organisations need to clearly commit themselves to two specific areas
  • Without a database, Roma integration process cannot be monitored. Representatives of all international organisations, Roma NGOs, and municipalities will have a section on the web site dedicated to them specifically, and it will be filled in with the data from different angles and the data that are in line with legislation. The database needs to have a rational framework that needs to be functional, and the assignments and responsibilities need to be allocated at the national level
  • It is obvious that the Roma issue is definitively on Serbia’s social and political agenda. Regardless of impediments, hurdles and resistance, this is an important issue that Serbia is going to deal with. International institutions are highly committed to the Roma inclusion issue since it is important for the European Integration Process of Serbia in the forthcoming period
  • The added value is the fact that the Roma civil society has been mobilised, and it includes several Roma NGOs (RNGOs) networks that cooperate with each other
  • The problem is the lack of an efficient system for monitoring the results of policy implementation. The state needs to develop a set of basic indicators for measuring the results
  • It is necessary to maintain continuity and provide resources for future projects. Priorities are sustainability and further development of Roma policies and anti-discriminatory programmes and mechanisms
  • It is necessary to increase the participation of national minorities in local governments, combat against discrimination is pivotal, and it is necessary to monitor new draft laws and law adoption with care, particularly the extent to which the Law on Human Rights Protection is applied at the national level.
  • The laws are not purposeful if mechanisms of their application are not provided, which is why it is the responsibility of the civil society to examine whether such mechanisms are in place and how they function.
  • It is necessary to establish an efficient system for monitoring, measuring and reporting on the progress of the national Roma Strategy implementation in Serbia in all social areas
  • It is necessary to engage highly – educated Roma men and women in the public sector, in departments of social policy, education, housing, healthcare, security and judiciary
  • Establishment of financial mechanisms aimed at controlling the use of funds in all line ministries and establishment of tools for allocating funds from the state budget is crucial
  • A public discussion on the status of the Roma community in Serbia and results of the implementation of the Strategy on the Improvement of the Status of the Roma, adopted in 2009, should be organised and held.
  • Providing continuity in implementation of measures, and sufficient resources

PANEL II: Presenting the Report and Analysis on the Implementation of Roma Policies at the National and Local Level in the Republic of Serbia

  • Establishment of an efficient team for monitoring, measuring and reporting on the Strategy and a mechanism for controlling the use of funds, and providing a continuous implementation of measures and sufficient resources
  • The key recommendation from the Report refers to the fact that there is a lack a cooperation at the national and local level
  • The position of the coordinator should be made stable and sustainable. Municipalities lack monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, and although the civil society sector monitors the process and tries to get all the information necessary, it is essential to develop monitoring systems. Indicators should be simplified in order to provide clear data, and mechanisms that could be used by local government should be developed: Roma coordinators, representatives of social welfare and representatives of relevant institutions participating in the budget, special budgetary line intended for the Roma
  • Re-establishment of working groups within ministries is necessary in order to enable members of Roma NGOs to participate in their work
  • Roma education and employment issues should be tackled simultaneously, and some systematic solutions for employment of the Roma are necessary; the number of Roma pedagogical assistants and health mediators should be increased.
  • Some system solutions are necessary in the field of employment because this will enable a faster progress of Roma men and women in the social inclusion, shorter education, higher level of integration, reduction of social benefits, i.e. increase of taxes in budgets, as a contribution to Roma men and women
  • The League of Roma will provide a model for database management through the web site. This database could be the focal point gathering all local government units, institutions, political parties and others in data collection and processing. In this regard, the League of Roma will try to be a business and information system that is actually functional. Training on the use of the database, mandatory documentation, manner and time of data entering, hierarchy, and data access will be organised, and it will be a main asset which the League will be famous for.

PANE III: Participation and accountability of public institutions in practical implementation of the Roma policy

  • Employment of the Roma should be aimed at development of the Serbian economy
  • All the stakeholders should work together, transparently and professionally; active participation in the establishment of practical Roma policies. Without the participation of the Roma, there can be no progress
  • The issues that should be tackled in 2014 are the following: Unemployment of the young and school drop-out
  • The Roma should be given a chance to prove they have capacities and that they could be partners to the state. If members of the Roma population are members of different political parties, they should act together
  • If there is no Local Action Plan (LAP), then there is a lack of activities targeting the Roma population. There is a plan to develop a programme for providing funds for salaries of coordinators for a six-month period in order to help keep this position in municipalities, and after this, local government units should provide for their salaries.

PANEL IV: International organisations in the implementation of Roma policies in Serbia

  • The Project’s goal is to support and implement the Strategy for the Improvement of the Status of the Roma in RS, in 6 areas: access to fundamental rights, labour market, education, healthcare, social welfare, appropriate housing, and job creation. There were 30 municipalities that fulfilled the criteria, and then the absolute number of the Roma was estimated and whether the LAP for the current year was adopted.
  • With the establishment of partner relations, a methodology for consulting beneficiaries and methodology for evaluation of sites has been developed, the proposed sites have been evaluated and there are 5 in the very AP
  • The Report has defined recommendations that are important for further activities and comprehensive Roma inclusion, and it has recognised housing as one of the most difficult areas. There are few NGOs dealing with this issue
  • Employment of Roma advisers for the Roma inclusion has been envisaged for the next year in five line ministries. Training of representatives of local governments on inclusion processes and other principles that are important for improvement and better implementation of local policy, has been envisaged for the next year.

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