UNDP project for a better life of Roma in four Croatian countiesJul 26, 2015
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Croatia held in July four two-day workshops in counties where county action plans for Roma inclusion are being formed.
The workshops were attended by representatives of the Roma minority, counties and institutions such as the Institute of Public Health, the Croatian Employment Service, social welfare centers, police departments and others. The aim was to collect relevant information on which will be developed specific action plans for the needs of Roma in the Koprivnica-Križevci, Brod-Posavina, Osijek-Baranja, Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Međimurje County. These counties are also the one with a high percentage of the Roma population.
“Action plans will enable the adoption of better policies, measures and actions to ensure greater inclusion of Roma and solve problems they encounter in their daily lives. The biggest problems are related to finding a job, poor or non-existent infrastructure in Roma settlements, unresolved property relations and the inability to realize the right to health care or education” said Jasmina Papa, Programme Officer for Social Inclusion Portfolio in UNDP Croatia.
This is also indicated by the data on the socio-economic situation of Roma published in the publication Everyday life of Roma in Croatia: challenges and possibilities for transformation. Even 92.3 percent of Roma live in poverty, 40 percent have not completed high school, and the unemployment rate of Roma is three to four times higher than the rate of non-Roma population. Besides education and employment, housing is one of the key areas indicating disparity in quality of life between Roma and the rest of the population.
Also, it is important to point out that there are big differences between the national guidelines for the inclusion of Roma and their implementation at the regional and local level. Therefore, the UNDP will work accordingly to the priority problems identified during workshops on defining action priorities for the development of four county action plans. These are a three-year action plans for the period from 2015 to 2018, which will improve the capacity of local and regional institutions on the appropriate response to the different needs of Roma and the use of EU funds for various Roma inclusion programs. UNDP had already applied a similar model in Sisak-Moslavina and Međimurje County.
These activities will also follow the development of the Atlas of Roma settlements with a detailed socio-economic data on the situation of Roma, and it will be used for planning and monitoring the implementation of local plans.
Preparation of the county action plans is implemented within the project "Better together for Roma in Croatia" which is carried out with financial support from the EEA and Norway Grants*.
*Through the EEA Grants and Norway Grants, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway contribute to reducing social and economic disparities and to strengthening bilateral relations with the beneficiary countries in Europe. The three countries cooperate closely with the EU through the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA).For the period 2009-14, the EEA Grants and Norway Grants amount to €1.79 billion. Norway contributes around 97% of the total funding. Grants are available for NGOs, research and academic institutions, and the public and private sectors in the 12 newest EU member states, Greece, Portugal and Spain. There is broad cooperation with donor state entities, and activities may be implemented until 2016. Key areas of support are environmental protection and climate change, research and scholarships, civil society, health and children, gender equality, justice and cultural heritage.