New Atlas of Roma settlements provides data for better policies
ČAKOVEC, 4 February 2014 - Croatia’s Međimurje County received a valuable tool for formulating better policies to ensure equal opportunities for its sizable Roma population, in the form of a new Atlas containing detailed social and economic data on all 12 Roma settlements in the county. Prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with funding from the Open Society Foundations, the Međimurje County Atlas of Roma Settlements was formally presented in the Scheier Building in Čakovec on 4 February 2014.
The Medjimurje County Atlas of Roma settlements is the first of its kind in Croatia. Designed as an interactive database, it provides data at the county level and also broken down at the level of the county's 12 Roma settlements. In addition, it reflects a detailed analysis that was conducted in the Roma settlement of Kuršanec on the basis of interviews of 1,134 residents from 197 different households.
“The Međimurje County Atlas of Roma Settlements will be very useful for our local authorities and we have to continue our collective efforts for its future development and updating," said Sandra Herman, Deputy Prefect of Međimurje County, at the official presentation of the Atlas, which was attended by representatives of local institutions, municipalities, local educational institutions as well as representatives from the Roma community.
Slobodan Veinović, Head of Social Affairs for the City of Čakovec, praised the Atlas as "a tool that will allow us to take better decisions regarding the inclusion of Roma in Medjimurje County."
Zeljko Balog, President of the Međimurje County Council of the Roma national minority, noted that the Atlas will be “a useful tool for all of us: local institutions and the Roma community."
"The production of an Atlas of this type is line with recommendations from the European Commission", noted Jasmina Papa, the head of UNDP's social inclusion portfolio. The Commission has been keen that member states expand their research on the status of Roma communities, either through focused studies or by adding additional samples that cover Roma to regular statistical surveys. Work on the county Atlas will also help Croatia meet goals set out in its national strategy and action plan for Roma inclusion.
To make it more widely available as a tool for the planning and monitoring of local policies, the Međimurje County Atlas of Roma Settlements is published on the Internet websites of Međimurje County, the City of Čakovec, the Government Office for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities and UNDP Croatia.