Close to 50 participants took part in the Second ROMACTED II Steering Committee meeting, which was organised in Brussels on 21 June within the premises of the European Commission.
The purpose of the meeting was to take stock of the progress (June 2022 – June 2023), discuss the small grants-scheme projects implementation and the upcoming workplan until May 2024. The participants included National Roma Contact Points, European Union Delegations, ROMACTED II field teams, international stakeholders (Roma Entrepreneurship Development Initiative - REDI, Roma Education Fund, UNDP, Roma Active Albania.
The welcome address was given by Mr Andriy ZAYATS, Head of Office, Council of Europe Liaison Office in Brussels, who has recognised ROMACTED Programme as one of the successful joint programmes of the European Union and the Council of Europe targeting Roma issues in the enlargement region – Western Balkans and Türkiye.
Ms Marta Garcia FIDALGO, Adviser, Roma Integration, DG NEAR as co-chair of the meeting pointed out the need of mainstreaming Roma issues in local policies with specific focus on the responses of the local authorities to crisis, similar to COVID 19 pandemic and the earthquake in Türkiye.
Ms Marina VASIĆ noted that ROMACTED Programme phase II has achieved significant progress in the last two years in empowering the Roma community, engaging local authorities in a constructive dialogue, and building joint responses at local level targeting the community needs and priorities.
After the opening panel, the meeting was followed by:
- Brief presentation of the ROMACTED Programme’s approach and progress to date at regional level; and discussion with the participants;
- Good Governance and Empowerment of Roma Communities at Local level with a Human Rights Approach which comprised of two working groups.
The working groups focused on the two main pillars of the Programme – Roma community empowerment and Capacity-building of local authorities:
1) Transformative Grassroot Leadership and Economic Empowerment of Roma Women, followed by the interventions from Mr Petrica DULGHERU (REDI), Mr Redjepali CUPI (REF), and Mr Adriatik HASANTARI (Roma Active Albania). The working group focused on the topics of economic empowerment and entrepreneurship with the accent on Roma women, promotion of grassroot role models and co-operation with Roma and pro-Roma civil society.
2) Conceptualisation, financing, and monitoring of local actions, followed by the interventions of Ms Etleva SHESHI (NRCP, Albania), Ms Saliha DJUDERIJA (NRCP, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Ms Amira VEJZAGIC- RAMHORST (UNDP), and DR Hande BARLIN (Thematic consultant, Türkiye). Topics covered in this working group were related to Roma Responsive Budgeting, Monitoring of National and Local Action Plans, Local Action Plans for returnees, and Disaster recovery plans.
Both working groups were accompanied by a moderator and a rapporteur, who came together at the plenary to present the conclusions and recommendations.
The meeting was co-chaired and co-organised between the Council of Europe/ Roma and Travellers Team and European Commission/ DG NEAR.
The meeting was followed by the launch event of the new joint EU-CoE Roma Integration Phase III project, which was also co-organised with the European Commission/ DG NEAR.
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