ENHANCING POLITICAL WILL AND ADMINISTRATIVE CAPACITY FOR ROMA INCLUSION AT LOCAL AND REGIONAL LEVEL
The ROMACT Programme is a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, which aims at promoting the inclusion of Roma at local and regional level. It is implemented with the support of the Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion.
The responsibility of local authorities in dealing with the needs of Roma communities living on their territory is greater than ever before. Acting for the inclusion of Roma communities at local level requires however political courage and commitment, adequate administrative capacity, consistent and lasting efforts and a strategic approach that goes beyond electoral cycles.
This is where ROMACT can help by strengthening the capacity of local and regional authorities (targeting both elected officials and senior civil servants) to design and implement plans and projects for Roma inclusion. It intends thereby to improve their responsiveness and accountability towards Roma citizens. It focuses on generating sustained policy engagement which translates into sustainable plans and measures for Roma inclusion. Eventually it will lead to the delivery of inclusive public services at the local level. In that way ROMACT will contribute to the implementation at local level of National Roma Integration Strategies.
Concretely ROMACT sets out to:
- reinforce the capacity of local authorities to fulfil their roles and responsibilities when it comes to the implementation of measures to improve the inclusion of Roma;
- help put in place and support mechanisms and processes ensuring good governance standards, in particular efficient and effective participatory planning processes;
- help improve the efficiency, effectiveness, ownership and sustainability of local policies, measures and delivery of services.
ROMACT is implemented in close cooperation with the ROMED2 joint programme of the Council of Europe and European Commission and, where appropriate, in partnership with other international organisations and initiatives active in the field. With this approach ROMACT aims at achieving optimal impact at local level.
In its first phase the ROMACT programme is implemented in Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Romania and the Slovak Republic with the perspective of an extension to other countries in the future.
ROMACT plans to:
- Provide local administrations with tools to reach the communities where most of their vulnerable citizens live;
- Build capacity of local councils/local administration for generating and implementing projects that address specific issues affecting vulnerable people living on their territory;
- Provide officials with effective working methods and tools for assessing the specific needs of vulnerable people;
- Facilitate dialogue between city councillors and high level officials from local administrations;
- Facilitate decision-making processes taking into account the specific needs of vulnerable people;
- Assist municipalities in conducting assessment processes of the needs of vulnerable communities that live on their territory;
- Assist mayors and city councils in submitting quality applications for support from EU and national funds. Projects should be designed with an integrated approach in mind and through a partnership process in which Roma communities are fully involved from design to implementation. Opportunities offered by the community-led local development instrument should also be exploited.
- develop synergies, where appropriate, with the processes initiated by the ROMED programme;
ROMACT aims to trigger a thorough dialogue with local authorities on the medium and long term. While offering support to local authorities, ROMACT emphasises the importance of:
- partnership in the approach, where local authorities and Roma communities share ownership of both process and outcomes;
- Creating a jointly agreed working strategy;
- Openness and concrete commitment in the dialogue between majority and minority;
- Emphasizing the importance of an approach based on active social inclusion;
- Creating mechanisms for local authorities and Roma communities to work together