Two online public debates were held on 23 March and 30 March 2023 in North Macedonia for local authorities, coordinators for equal opportunities in the municipalities and civil society organisations to review and comment on the proposed draft Guidelines for Roma Responsive Budgeting at local level. The events were organised by the Council of Europe Programme Office in Skopje and the support organisation Romalitico – within the framework of the joint EU-CoE ROMACTED Phase II Programme
The development gap between Roma citizens and mainstream society is mostly visible in the areas which are part of the municipal mandate. Some of the most emphasised differences are in communal issues, such as access to clean drinking water, sewage, paved streets, sidewalks, street lighting, urban living (urban plans) and legalisation of households, access to kindergartens, as well as primary and secondary school. Тhe municipalities have the obligation to work on reducing the difference in the quality of life of Roma versus non-Roma in North Macedonia.
The concept of Roma Responsive Budgeting implies that the Roma inclusion goals should be adequately distributed in the municipal budgets.
The Guidelines provide the practical steps for appropriate planning and responsible budgeting for Roma through several important tools such as:
- community needs assessment
- active participation of the Roma community in development of measures
- appropriate budget planning based on the identified priority needs of the community
- monitoring the execution of the budget
Roma Responsive Budgeting hence leads to greater transparency of the Budget and fair distribution of funds at the local level, thereby improving the quality of life.
The participants agreed with the concept and expressed their support, they have also noted the need for additional trainings for Roma responsive budgeting.